One Sunday, a kind priest was delivering his weekly sermon, when suddenly, a wise and gentle voice from within him spoke:
“Take them outside and down the walking trail behind the church.”
The bewildered priest paused for a long moment, to silently acknowledge the voice. He then signalled an end to the sermon by waving his left hand and saying:
“My beloved brothers and sisters, please follow me outside and down the walking trail behind the church.”
The priest led his confused but faithful flock outside the church and down the walking trail, just as the mysterious voice had instructed.
The group stepped onto the path and immediately into a lush, green jungle of glorious rhododendron and mountain laurel trees. The priest then heard the strange but comforting voice again. This time, it said:
“Have them eat the fruit on the sacred tree. But be sure to first bow and give thanks.”
Now, twice baffled, the priest froze in his tracks and took a few timid steps forward. He stared in amazement at what was right in front of him: the most beautiful tree he’d ever seen, in all its glory. The tree was very tall, and its great limbs seemed to reach out with exquisite wonder.
The priest had never felt the presence of a tree like this one before. It appeared other-worldly. He noticed that many small fruits hung from the lower branches of this timeless being. The fruits were each about the size of a crab apple, and had a pleasant aroma.
The priest turned to face his 30-person flock and said:
“Come, my faithful companions, let us eat the fruits on this tree. But be sure to bow and give thanks before eating.”
The priest ate the first fruit, in order to ease everyone’s discomfort with consuming an unknown food in the wild. Soon, everyone followed suit. Some ate one piece of fruit, while others ate two pieces. After the band of wanderers finished eating the sweet and delicious fruit, they continued down the path through the enchanted forest. After a mile (about 1.6 kilometres) of walking, the priest heard the same voice coming from within for the third time:
“Stop walking for a moment, and embrace the ecstatic visions of creation. The fruits of the Gods shall now speak.”
Brimming with the spirit of oneness
Once again, the priest quietly acknowledged the voice, and then turned to face his followers once more. What he saw at that moment instantly brought tears to his eyes.
An aura of dazzling white light circled his flock, and the limbs of the surrounding trees expressively extended their branches, as if to say, “We’re conscious and brimming with the spirit of oneness.”
For the first time in his life, the priest became aware of how fully alive the Earth was, and how pure her essence. The priest then bent down on the ground to examine a bizarre but gorgeous red mushroom. On close inspection, he was astounded to find mysterious hieroglyphic-like symbols encrypted on it. The symbols seemed, to him, to be a secret language conveying supreme cosmic wisdom that transcended the limits of his rational mind.
The priest stared adoringly back at his followers, who were now embracing one another in the same dazzling white light. His heart overfilled with such overwhelming love for his brethren that he had to lie down on the ground to centre himself.
After a few moments, the priest got back to his feet, only to find a majestic doe standing only a few metres from him. The two beings locked eyes in a moment of divine recognition, and the priest bowed to the beautiful animal.
To his amazement, the doe bowed her head back to him, and a second and third exchange of bows followed, before the priest dropped to his knees and bowed one final time. Remarkably, the doe bent down as low as she could go, almost in a curtsey, and bowed before running back off into the forest.
Overcome with awe, tears streamed down the priest’s face, as he felt certain that he’d just had a direct encounter with the Creator itself.
The priest quickly got to his feet once more. He ran over to his flock, and began joyously embracing each of them. In turn, everyone (who, by then, were experiencing the psychedelic fruit’s power to shift consciousness and reveal the spirit behind forms) began hugging one another with great love and affection.
Then, in a moment of telepathic communication, the priest and his followers began stomping their feet and chanting the following mantra:
“Mother Earth, Great Spirit, your power is wise, your power is divine, let us serve you.”
As they chanted, the Earth began to tremble beneath their feet, and golden eagles began to circle overhead. A rare pack of black wolves emerged from the shadows, and the bowing deer from earlier nestled in close to the band of seekers, to share in the delight of Mother Nature’s mystical power to invoke a direct and true religious experience.
The Fruits of the Gods had spoken.
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