Friday, July 11, 2014

The cavern of jewels; The cave of dangers; The true source of the jewels

The cavern of jewels

In an ancient kingdom there existed a cavern of unimaginable size. The king of that kingdom had explored it and discovered a virtually limitless supply of valuable jewels. Obtaining more than enough wealth, he desired to share it, so he allowed his subjects to freely explore the cavern and bring out whatever they could find.

Some people were too afraid to venture into the dark cave, so of course did not obtain any wealth.

There was a group of peasants who had never seen gemstones before. They had heard descriptions of the jewels. However, having spent all their lives in poverty, they just could not picture that such beautiful objects existed. It was incomprehensible to them. They wanted to directly see and feel these things. They ventured cautiously only a few paces into the cavern and brought some stones out, believing them to be of great worth.

When they came out of the dark cavern and into the light, they were initially blinded to the extent that two light sources of different intensities would both initially be equally blinding. It would take some time before their eyes would adapt and then they could eventually distinguish between lights of differing intensities.

They showed the stones to the king, who immediately discerned that the stones that they were holding were of inferior quality. The king realized that the poor peasants, who lacked experience and understanding, truly believed that they had precious gemstones.

When he told the peasants that there were even more precious treasures within, some of the peasants refused to believe him and went back to their villages with the stones they had. Other peasants, however, believed that the king was telling the truth. They asked him what they needed to do to find the things of even greater value. The king asked some of his servants to instruct the peasants who stayed. The peasants were told that because of the darkness of the cavern, they needed a sufficiently strong light source to keep from getting lost. Obviously, the brighter the light they brought in, the more they would be able to see, and the deeper into the cavern they could go.

The servants first showed the peasants lesser quality stones and the various tests that could be done on the stones to verify their authenticity. Then they gradually gave the peasants better quality stones and the appropriate tests that would allow the peasants to recognize them as being of higher quality.

Some of the faster learners obtained enough knowledge to find slightly better stones, which they brought back to the relatively slower learners. The faster learners soon realized that simply giving the slower learners better stones did not necessarily increase the slower learners’ ability to recognize the greater value. They remained patient and assisted and encouraged the slower learners with learning the tests in the order taught by the servants.

Some peasants were not able to maintain their interest in the projects and abandoned them altogether. Some peasants out of blind obedience mechanically performed the tests in front of the king’s servants, but did not truly apply this knowledge when no one was watching them. Others, however, had a true desire to learn. Ultimately, only those peasants who earnestly sought higher knowledge were able to learn how to collect authentic gemstones of the highest quality.

I told a shorter form of the above allegory in a sacrament meeting. That night I had the following dream:

The cave of dangers

Three of us were going to some wizard’s abode, which was at the end of a very long cave with dangers. The cave was fairly narrow, maybe enough for three adults to walk comfortably abreast. We went through the cave to the end (the wizard’s abode) many times. One person with me was a physically strong person and another one was a wizard (not the same one as the wizard who lived in the abode). The strong man would hit the rock wall, where a secret door would open, revealing an entrance to the cave. The inside of the cave was dark, and light was needed to illuminate the dangers, such as deep pits that we needed to leap over. Sometimes we came close to falling into those pits, when we would finally remember to illuminate the area first. There were some brownish humanoid monsters lurking around. There were pools of large flesh-eating fish. We tested the fish by throwing things into the water; the large fish would swim blazingly fast and gobble up the objects. Each time we went all the way through the caves, we became stronger and more experienced. Eventually the dangers became easier and easier to deal with. It was concluded that repeated study helped one understand the dangers better; dangers were not really dangers when they were seen for what they really were.

On what I felt was the “last” journey to the wizard, the strong man pushed open the hidden entrance door with one palm. It took some force as always, but the strong man performed the movement with complete confidence that it would open. Another passage in the cave was closed, but the wizard opened it by gesturing easily. Some markings glowed with light on the passage wall, which opened. We got to the wizard’s abode; the part we could see looked like a family room adjacent to a kitchen. To get from the family room to the kitchen, there was a large rug that needed to be crossed. The rug appeared to our eyes to be a shallow pool with small dangerous-looking things moving around inside. There was a young girl in the kitchen near this rug/pool; she seemed to be relatively near the rug with little concern. There were some solid white objects sticking up out of the pool; I suggested that we stand on those and jump across. The wizard was in that next room. I might have been initially assuming the wizard to be male, but I then felt that perhaps the wizard might be female. I briefly got a glimpse of the wizard, whose name was then revealed. The name sounded perhaps like “Maat.”
I did not see any jewels in the cave. So combining the allegory and the dream together:

The true source of the jewels

Why were jewels not seen in the cave of dangers?

The reason is that in reality, the king has all of the jewels.

The king and his servants watch the explorers and their efforts. When an explorer has been found to have made the right efforts, the servants are instructed to place appropriate jewels in their path. The “appropriate” jewels are determined by factors such as what kind of jewels the explorers are searching for, and where they are in the cavern.

There is no way the explorers can get the jewels without help. Some explorers may become prideful after finding some partially valuable jewels, thinking that it was all because of their skill alone. The king and his servants decide that these kinds of overconfident explorers may have difficulty finding more precious jewels.

Ultimately, those who are actively and humbly seeking more precious jewels only find them when they become passive recipients of the king’s grace.