New Clothes

Once, in a village, someone was living in conflict with their own life.  The reason for this conflict came from the scent he felt everywhere he was. An ingrained scent that left him sick, causing all kinds of malaise. For him, this scent was the result of the decay of the whole system where he lived: an empty and meaningless work, a family life where conflict and indifference had settled and a world where hatred and violence were the rules and not the exception.

He then decided to leave the job and the family, breaking with that life and leave in search of other aromas. He found a new family and a new job, but the scent remained, impregnating everything with that sickening smell. He could not find peace anywhere.

Eventually, he left his new family and job, entering into a monastic order of total silence. Surely there, far from the world that was impregnated with that agonizing scent, surely other scents he would find. But to his desperation, that same smell remained. "Even in this place, the corruption of the world can be felt, polluting everything," he thought to himself.

And also that monastery he left, understanding that only an eremitic life could lead him to scent these other aromas.

And so he left again, this time to the top of a mountain where he lived alone. He was now far from civilization and far from that scent that he so hated. But one day, while meditating looking at the distant horizon, that same scent was made present. He stood up indignantly and looked around, saying, "Who is there? Why do you bring here the smells of your world? Take that scent with you and leave me alone." But, to his surprise, there was no one there. He was still alone. How could that be, he thought.

And it was only when the tears streamed down his face that he finally understood. The scent didn’t come from the world around him but from his old and colorless clothes. And by realizing that, these same clothes have undergone a transformation. The colors came alive, and the smell that had plagued part of his life was replaced by a soft fragrance and a sweet aroma.

He then departed back to the monastery. Now he could rest in peace with his brothers, for the bad scent was gone. He stayed in the monastery for a while but soon realized that, if the new sweet aroma and the soft fragrance came from his clothes, wherever he was that same scent would always be present, even in the most nauseating places. Then he remembered his first family, thinking that he could now have a happy life with them.

And so, he returned to his old life. The family accepted him back and the boss gave him the old job. Everywhere he stood, only the soft fragrance made itself felt. He was finally at peace. The world was still the same, but he was no longer the same man.

But at home, whenever he returned from work, his wife always confronted him, accusing him of the scent she felt. He realized then that she was talking about herself, about the smell of her clothes. At that moment, he felt no more anger, no hatred, nor was there any response to the confrontation he received, as it had once been, but only compassion. There was nothing he could do for her because only she could one day understand the source of that scent that bothers her.

And so he left, once again, departing towards a new destiny. The first time he had left, he fled away, carrying out everywhere that nauseous smell that made him sick. The second time he didn’t flee but freed himself and, with that liberation, he was finally able to find the true course for his existence.

Now he no longer isolates himself in any monastery or on top of any mountain, but he mixed his life with the world, for wherever he was, in the darker or lighter places, only that scent would be present.

Nothing else could disturb him now. He was finally in Peace.

From the book Spiritual Reflections for a New World


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