This spiritual story follows the Rancher and ClearSky. You can find more of their stories on this link:

Spiritual Allegories and Stories

“There’s a lot of troubling news these days,” the Rancher commented to his friend, ClearSky.

ClearSky grunted as he threshed grain.

“I’ve heard all sorts of crazy stuff when I go into town.”

ClearSky kept threshing, but the Rancher felt like talking anyway.

“Did you know lots of people are heading in from the coast by the Sea of Kurbus? Guess there’s a food shortage or something. And now everyone in the towns of Isekus and Phobia are upset from all the people that have come there.”

“Mmhmm,” ClearSky muttered.

“And there’s more,” the Rancher pressed on, despite ClearSky’s lack of interest. “I’ve heard of lots of drought and fire in the Outerlands. A bunch of people have created a strange community near Mt. Liebe for some reason. And there have been stories that people are wandering around in the desert! Why in the world would anyone go there?”

ClearSky looked up from what he was doing. “I went there once…long ago.”

The Rancher frowned. “Why on Earth would you do that?”

“There are reasons.” ClearSky went back to threshing.

The Rancher continued in his stories. “Did you know that there are some people even claiming that there are shape-shifters? Like people who can be a person and then become a bear!”

“The world is full of wonders,” ClearSky replied.

The Rancher frowned and wanted to inquire about that last part, but he caught sight of someone heading up the road towards them.

ClearSky caught the gaze and squinted in the direction.

As the stranger got closer, ClearSky’s eyes widened. He grabbed his things, wished the Rancher a good day, and headed into his home, loudly shutting the door.

The Rancher shook his head. “I never know which way that guy will turn.”

Eventually, a woman arrived following the path out of town. The Rancher wanting to be friendly called out and waved. “Hello stranger! How go things?”

The middle-aged woman stopped and turned to the Rancher. She shifted her backpack, which appeared to be quite heavy, and then she sighed deeply. “You wouldn’t know if there is a master around here.” Clearly, she’d asked this question many times and had not gotten the response that she’d wanted.

“A master? A master of what?”

“A spiritual master,” she said tersely.

“I’m sorry, but what’s your name? Who are you?” the Rancher asked, wanting to better understand the person before him.

“It’s Maya. But could just please answer my question. I’ve had a long enough day, week, and couple of months.”

The Rancher could see mud stains on her clothes that didn’t fit her quite right, being too loose about her body. Her shoes looked close to wearing out, and he’d noticed a limp as she’d walked up the road.

“Sure. Didn’t mean to offend,” the Rancher replied. “No. I don’t know of any spiritual masters around here. We had a teacher come through here once, briefly. But he didn’t stay to teach.”

“Well, I’ve already had a teacher, and my teacher told me I needed a master. So I have to find one. Good day!”

Maya started to limp off, but the Rancher was concerned. “Ma’am, pardon me for asking, but do you need a place to stay, maybe to heal? You look hurt.”

Maya looked sternly back at the Rancher. “I’m on a very spiritual path. I have to endure any and all things. I’ll be fine.”

“But do you even know where you are going? The road up ahead is hard.” 

“How do you know? Have you walked it?” Maya demanded.

“No,” the Rancher admitted. “But you could get hurt.”

“What must be, must be.”

Still the Rancher wanting to be a good person pressed Maya further. “The nearest town is Isekus, and people there are quite upset these days. I’m not sure that it is safe for a person traveling alone.”

“The universe will look after me.” Maya turned again to limp away.

The Rancher stepped in front of her. “Do you even know how to survive in the wild if some of these towns aren’t safe?”

Maya dropped her backpack and yelled, “You stupid, stupid man! Quit bothering me with your questions. You clearly don’t know what a spiritual longing is. Stick to whatever it is you farm or kill for a living and don’t get in my way!”

Angered by the response, the Rancher raised his voice, “Insulting, ignorant woman! You are on a quest to nowhere. You don’t know who you are seeking or the challenges ahead. I am only trying to help you!”

Maya shoved the Rancher out of her way, picked up her backpack, and limped down the road. 

After Maya had disappeared into the tree line, ClearSky returned to threshing and commented, “Some people should be left to their paths and the consequences of their ignorance.”

Interpretation of Troubling News

Returning to the tales of ClearSky and the Rancher, I continue to craft these two people in a couple of ways.

On one level, they are the same person. ClearSky is the clear space of awareness, and the Rancher is the person’s ego.

Another way to interpret these two characters is that one person is early on the spiritual path (the Rancher) and another is much wiser and mature (ClearSky).

Additionally, in this story, there are three roles embodied by each character:

ClearSky is the kind man/conscious ego.

The Rancher is the nice guy/semi-conscious ego.

Maya is the spiritual ego/unconscious ego.

The spiritual ego is my definition for someone who has created a lot of beliefs to hide their deeper issues and insecurities. The spiritual ego is just another form of control. Basically, it’s no different than any unconscious ego, but it definitely thinks it is.

Beware the Spiritual Ego

This is in contrast to a conscious ego. The conscious ego knows it is made-up and doesn’t exist. It is used to focus our attention on dissolving our attachments. When it is no longer useful, it is dropped. Whereas the spiritual ego has lots of ideas to protect, the conscious ego has none.

The semi-conscious ego is in between. Really, it is still a very unconscious ego, but you may notice a little wisdom in what the Rancher asks, which shows that he has some idea of the spiritual path ahead while Maya has none.

We catch up with ClearSky and the Rancher living normal life. As usual, ClearSky is busy doing something practical. You’ll notice one theme of the teachers and wise people in my stories is that they’re focused on the present moment and on something that impacts their practical, everyday needs.

Meanwhile, the Rancher is lost in stories and gossip–an apt metaphor for the ego. The ego really is a bunch of stories, and telling and re-telling stories about others is a way to reinforce a person’s ego. It’s a form of remembering. In an interesting way, the path to spiritual freedom is an intentional forgetting of stories so that we can be anyone.

In the beginning, the Rancher keeps trying to lure ClearSky into a story. But ClearSky is totally uninterested in stories. When he does reply, he speaks to some kind of truth or personal experience, which doesn’t help the Rancher continue to build his stories in the way that he wants to.

Also, I’m world-building through the Rancher’s storytelling, so the Jim Tolles Cinematic Universe is expanding…haha.

When the Rancher is talking about people migrating, I want to emphasize that I’m NOT making any subtle implications about immigration. The “sad” people from the Sea of Kurbus (kurbus means sadness in Estonian) are coming into conflict with the selfish people in Isekus (which means selfish in Estonian) and scared people in Phobia (short for xenophobia). This is pointing towards how different levels of suffering come into contact with one another, and that creates yet more suffering.

Ego Dissolving and Death

Once the storytelling is done, we come to the action where Maya (the name in Sanskrit means illusion) meets the Rancher. Maya was a student of Ruby (a character some of you know from some of my other stories). However, she has completely misinterpreted something Ruby said in The Journey to the Desert, and she’s acting on the misinterpretation to seek out a master.

What follows is the conflict between the Rancher trying to be a nice guy, and Maya as the Holier-than-thou spiritual ego. The Rancher is trying to prove that he is nice. Maya is trying to prove to herself that she’s spiritual.

The both people have very mixed and confused ideas about the spiritual path in their conversations. Maya mentions having a spiritual longing, but she’s seeking a person, not spiritual freedom. Yes, the Rancher is right about the “road ahead,” but he hasn’t walked it. He’s only heard about the “path to nowhere”–probably from ClearSky.

Things devolve to shouting, and then Maya storms off.

ClearSky returns at the end to his practical work with the practical advice around not trying to help people who do not want help.

ClearSky was being kind. In his state of conscious understanding, he saw what was coming. Thus he wasn’t hiding or running away; he was simply allowing things to happen. 

Lots of things happen, and lots of people do thing all around us all the time. We can’t intercede in everything.

The nature of true kindness is knowing that lots of things can happen in many ways. Early in the story, ClearSky comments “The world is full of wonders.” Furthermore, he doesn’t impose where he is not invited.

But the nice guy/gal ego often thinks it should intercede and that they know how something should go. In some ways, the Rancher is being a little arrogant about what may or may not happen for someone he only just met on a path he doesn’t fully understand. Meanwhile, Maya is being totally ignorant about what she is doing. Arrogance and ignorance is a bad mix, and as we often see in real life, this tends to create a great deal of conflict.

Thus, the Rancher imposes, and he is given nothing but grief.

But just to muddle things up, a similar situation could arise in the future, and maybe ClearSky would engage. Who knows?

The only way to know what to do in that moment is to be in that moment and surrender to what Is.

What Is True Kindness? (video)


I'm a spiritual teacher who helps people find freedom from suffering.

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