Once, there were four siblings who lived in three different cities.
The sister who lived in the first city was well known and loved by many. She lived in a lovely house painted in bright, happy colours, and she could always be found outdoors, singing as she tended her beautiful, beloved garden. She grew fruit and vegetables, and everything bloomed and blossomed under her green thumb. Everyone admired her garden; it brought colour, beauty and joy into the lives of all who beheld it.
Because this sister believed in Oneness and unity, there was neither gate nor fence on her property — all were welcome to visit her, and to help themselves to the bounty of her garden. Her door was never locked, for she had complete faith in her fellowmen.
And so it was that people would come by at all hours of the day and night, even those whom she didn’t know very well. They came for meals, for chats, for advice and help. They admired all the lovely things in her home, and would leave with gifts of fruit, flowers and vegetables from her garden. Yet despite her generosity, things in her home would go missing — from little decorative bric-a-brac to larger items of value.
Alarmed, those close to her urged her to be more cautious with her own safety, to be selective in the people she allowed into her personal space. After all, she lived in a city, and everyone knew that all kinds of people could be found in a city — from the low life to the elite.
Be careful, they urged. Just because you’re a moral and ethical person doesn’t mean that everyone else is like you. In fact, there are many who say and do all the right things, but harbour ill will and malice in their hearts. If they truly loved you, they would honour your generosity of spirit with honesty and respect. If they were really like you, they would live by the highest principles, the way you do.
“Oh, pshaw,” the sister replied. “I believe in seeing only the good in everyone. I don’t subscribe to the theory of good vs bad. That’s not the way to enlightened living. All is light and love. All is good.”
And she blithely carried on as she always did. Her rose-tinted view of the world kept her from discerning the wolves dressed in sheep’s clothing who continued to slip under her guard and into her home, insidiously tainting the pure energies of her inner sanctum.
Her brother who lived in the next city was just the opposite. He was only too aware of the dangers of city living. The house he lived in was plain — why attract unnecessary attention? The entire property was surrounded by a tall, formidable concrete wall, and the gate and doors to the house were always locked. No one could enter without the owner’s knowledge or permission.
This brother believed in being safe. His home was his sanctuary, and he would not allow it to be compromised in any way. He always took the same route to work or any other place he frequented, because he believed in the reliability of the tried and tested. He set clear demarcations in every area of his life, and expected others to stay within those bounds.
Just as his sister was an open book, he was a secret diary that was kept under lock and key. He kept his thoughts and feelings to himself, and only shared them with his inner circle because he knew they would understand and not judge him. Like his sister, he lived by the principles of truth and light. But unlike her, he did not believe that everyone lived by the same code he did. He knew better than to allow himself to be lulled into a false sense of security.
For he had learnt the hard way that there were those who would undermine truth and light because they did not truly share the same core beliefs, values and moral fibre. They were masters of deception who would don whatever masks and spout whatever platitudes necessary in order to bedazzle and bemuse others.
As a result, he was careful in his choice of friends, and allowed only those he trusted into his heart and home. Every night before going to bed, and every morning before leaving for work, he would painstakingly check every room in his house to make sure that all windows and doors were secured, that no unwelcome intruders could breach his fortress.
Because he had consciously chosen to merge with and serve the highest light and truth, he was quite often hard on himself. He questioned everything that he was told, verified every message that he received, studied all sides of a situation before he would decide or act on anything. And when he encountered any negative influences or energies, he took pains to cleanse himself and his surroundings of anything that could affect all that was good and pure — for he had taken off his blinkers long ago, and could see what was hidden from most.
But he expended so much effort erring on the side of caution that there were times when he could not assist others who truly needed his help and advice — not because he didn’t care, but because he either felt he wasn’t up to the mark or was just physically exhausted.
He failed to see that his rigid rules and routines were sometimes driven more by fear than true guidance. Neither did he realise that in keeping his cards so close to his chest, he was also keeping others with clouded hearts and minds from benefiting from his wisdom and insight.
In the third city lived the youngest brother and sister. These two shared a modest but comfortable house. They took pride in making their home a warm and welcoming oasis for all, without compromising their own privacy, comfort and safety.
Like their sister, they loved people and welcomed company; but like their brother, they also believed in drawing boundaries and having them respected. Like their older siblings, they, too, chose to live according to their personal beliefs and principles.
But they knew the importance of studying the laws of the universe in order to learn how they worked in their lives. And they respected the Law of Polarity, which teaches that we swing to extremes in our life experiences in order to learn to come back to the middle and into balance. This helped them to love as well as forgive everyone for all that they were and did. For they understood that every soul was here in the world to learn as well as to teach.
They were also careful not to overlook the other part of this law, which states that everything has its opposite. Thus, where there is light, there is also dark; where good abounds, bad will inevitably be hiding in the shadows. But instead of allowing it to cripple them with fear, they allowed this knowledge to open their hearts and empower them instead.
So they looked at the world and those around them with clear-seeing eyes. They enjoyed the beauty of their city but were alert to the dangers lurking in some areas. They made sure they could defend themselves when necessary, and took protective measures to keep themselves and their home safe. They saw and acknowledged the imperfections of their fellowmen but loved and accepted them just the same.
They were open to learn from all who would proclaim their truths and teachings, but they had also honed their inner vision enough to see through any veils or masks that others wore. And they heeded the still, small voice that warned them should clanging cymbals not ring true. For they knew not to place their faith in lip service, but in lives well and truly lived according to the highest love, light and truth.
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.” — Matthew 7:21