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Ballad of the Blissful Warrior

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Ballad of the Blissful Warrior

In my youthful wanderings, among the tropic isles, I met a man mysterious--a man with gentle eyes. It was in an open tavern, made up of leaves of palm, where people went to quench their thirst but drowned their dreams in every curse.

Suddenly entered this man free and wild--possessing an inner strength. He had one thing that tempted fate: a sword silvery and ornate. I was bewitched by its beauty until his thunderous "HAH!" shook me into awe.

Mysteriously alive he stood, centered in the tavern's abyss, as he began filling the void with his ballad of bliss:

"The time has come. The time for young and old to learn to turn all obstacles into gold." He leapt onto the table in one graceful stride. Only a distant gull could be heard.

"When I was young, I had a dream: to sail the seas and discover, to become the strongest, wealthiest of all. As a lad I studied the arts of war to gain my just reward. Then I sailed to Spain--to master the silvery sword.

"I heard of one great hero, the bravest of them all. They said he was unbeatable: 'an ally to the gods.' They said he had a sword that sang; his feet could float on air. His hands were fast as lightning; acrobat beyond compare. They said he'd slain a dragon and now lived in total peace. They said he'd died to mortal life--so lived free of mortal strife.

"Legends of his prowess followed me as a curse, for I knew I'd not be satisfied till I learned his song and verse. For seven years I searched, then finally broke down inside a mountaintop church.

"I confessed my sins to a gentle monk; told him of my fruitless quest. His reply to my agony was silence. Then he held up one hand--indicating for me to rest.

"He returned that eve concealing something beneath his cape, beholding me with mysterious compassion--as if he knew my fate. 'The answer is within,' three times the monk did say, then bequeathed to me a dazzling sword--silvery and ornate. I could not believe my eyes: this monk was the dragon slayer, the answer to my prayer.

"In his monastery I stayed for months and begged him to teach his warrior ways, but to me he would not even preach. The only words he spoke to me were those fateful four: 'The answer is within,' as he turned and walked out the door. So, tired of frustration, I let my dreams of youth be renewed and sailed off to lands fair and warm--wielding his sword through fate and storm.

"It was on board a pirate ship that I heard of a place I must go, a place which none could find: the golden land of El Dorado. I canoed up the mighty Amazon and explored its endless waters. I ascended the ancient Andes and rested in Machu Picchu. I headed north to venture more, still searching for the land of golden lore.

"In the densest jungle, I was weakened by a fever. I collapsed and lay to die--a soul lost forever. But I woke amidst some natives who took me in to heal. With them I stayed seven bliss-filled years, learning of things to me unreal.

They taught me how to laugh and sing.

They taught me how to dance.

They taught me how to hunt and sow.

They taught me how to love and grow.

"A shaman taught me his ancient art, then revealed to me his magic heart. He taught me how to heal, how to die and how to feel. He showed me all of nature's beauty. I thought I'd reached the end of my quest. Every morn I'd bathe in the waterfall. Every eve I'd return there to rest.

"I became at one with the jungle--my dreams of fame forgotten. But I couldn't forget the gentle monk and his silent, mysterious compassion. So I left my friends and sailed back to Spain--straightaway to visit the dragon slayer, hoping to find him in prayer.

"One monk said, 'He's disappeared--off to adventure; perhaps the rapture!' But he knew I would return, for he had left me a gift of passage: a simple scroll, tied with a simple bow. I trembled as I pulled the string: my heart about to open. I looked inside and started to weep, for there was written the story deep--his long-forgotten message: 'The answer is within.'

"So there I stayed seven years and contemplated inner beauty. I learned to tap my inner voice. It became my song and verse. I learned to laugh at all of life: the monks could not comprehend, yet tolerated my playfulness, for they had become my friends.

"Upon leaving I had the greatest laugh, realizing I had accomplished all--all that I had set out to do.

I was wealthy,

for the universe was mine.

My words of bliss created

heavens all around.

"The frightened said, 'Run when he is near. He'll spook you till insane. You'll never be the same.'

"So now I wonder worlds with my cryptic message: 'The answer is within.' I hope you heed its presage."

So spoke the blissful warrior, the soul with gentle eyes. After his song of wonder he drew his dazzling sword. Eyes moist in ascending emotion, he handed me this sword, speaking his words of devotion: "The answer is within."

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