"One of the stories that has helped me understand the spiritual journey is a myth told by the Plains Indians about a little mouse. The mouse hears a roaring that none of his mouse friends seem to notice. He discovers that the noise comes from a great river,which represents the spirit. By jumping high in the air, the mouse is able to see a range of sacred mountains, and among them is the lake where this river of the spirit originates. The mouse sets out on a quest to reach the lake, a quest which symbolizes his Spiritual Development. He has a lot of adventures along the way, but the two adventures I remember best are instances in which he finds a part of himself by choosing to lose part of himself.
He meets two great beasts - a buffalo and a wolf. Both of them can help him reach the sacred mountains - but both of them are ill. To be healed, each needs the eye of a mouse. When he hears this, the mouse surrenders his eyes one by one, first to the buffalo and then to the wolf. After giving his first eye to the buffalo, The mouse creeps along in terrible fear of the great eagles that are going to swoop down and get him now that he's half blind. When he meets the wolf and realizes that he has to give up his other eye, he is truly terrified - but by that time he has become so devoted to his quest that he surrenders his other eye. The wolf leads the blind mouse to the sacred lake. As he is drinking from the lake, his old fears come back to haunt him. He hears the eagle cry above him, and one of them swoops down. The mouse is completely helpless. All he can do is wait to die - and then he feels the eagle's talons hit him. He feels himself rising, but strangely, he doesn't feel dead. Out of habit he opens his blind eyes and finds them coming into focus. He looks down to see the full beauty of the sacred lake, and he hears the animals down below shouting to him as he rises into the sky. They are calling, "Now you are an eagle!"
In Indian legend, the mouse is a creature which sees only what is directly in front of his face. By giving up this nearsightedness, even at the risk of living in darkness, the mouse gains new eyes that can see much further and much more clearly. Giving up your way of seeing - to go into that blindness - creates the potential for another way of seeing that is clear, perhaps one that can see as far as eternity. When the mouse heard the roaring, the other mice were busy doing mouse things, poking around looking for things to eat, and didn't hear the roaring. One thing we often have to give up, which we may think we can not give up, is busyness. The mouse could not have made his search if he had been too busy doing mouse things. The mouse was fortunate the buffalo and the wolf knew exactly what was needed. It was just his eyes. As soon as the mouse decided to give up an eye, it flew up of its own accord. If you are having a hard time forgiving someone, or loving someone, or feeling you are worth anything, or knowing God, if you are having a hard time finding courage, you may not know what to give up and what to keep. Life brings us the buffalos and wolves. The giving up of our eyes- our way seeing- comes generally as we recognize that we are in pain. Sacrifice is giving up something you want very much for something you want more.
Taken from a 1992 women's conference talk "Adult Spiritual Development" by Francine B. Bennion and Martha N. Beck
[Last edited Mar 08, 2017 15:35:59]