Buddha, in deep contemplation in a meadow, walked up to the tree and decided to lean against it to slumber as the sun rose ahead. The tree provided shade and a nice sturdy trunk to prop against as Buddha gently moved to sit on the ground. Several hours passed and when Buddha awoke he discovered it had become night. The moon glistened in the sky and a shiver passed over his skin. Buddha wondered how long he had been sleeping. He rose, stepped away from the tree scratching his head, wondering how much time had passed, As he looked around him, he realized seasons had passed while he was sleeping; spring had ended while he was asleep, summer had bloomed as he rested, winter was upon him, as the wheat in the meadow had been harvested around him and was now dry dirt.
Buddha was surprised at how long he had slept, he had thought it was a short nap, a quick respite to rest his weary bones as the sun had grown warm. He wondered how he could have been asleep for so long. As Buddha wondered further into the now dry field, he looked back at the tree. The tree’s trunk had grown wide while he was sleeping. He knew with each ring of a tree trunk meant a year had passed. When he had fallen asleep the tree trunk was fairly slim. Now as he viewed the trunk it was thick and its girth wide. Buddha realized he had not just been asleep for a few seasons, but had been asleep for a few years. Alas, he thought, if he were to be truly honest with himself, if the tree’s rings were a reliable source of time, he would admit he had been asleep several hundred years.
Buddha, saddened by the thought of so much time passing him by, decided it was time to leave the field. He realized much must have taken place while he slumbered. He made his way to the edge of the field, knowing he must return to the village to see what he had missed while he had been asleep, and why on earth no one had thought to look for him, and alas waken him from his nap. Buddha finally reached the village, much had changed, families had blossomed, grown generation after generation, and their businesses were thriving and presented only the finest of goods and the most innovative of products. People went about their lives with a buzz and as if the very life source of the village were their life source, feeding them, engaging them and energizing them. Buddha wondered how he could have slept through such change.
Buddha approached his home where light danced in the window. He was hopeful that once he returned home he would find the answers to why he has slept for so long. Upon entering his home, there in the living room a fireplace burned a wondrous fire. He approached the single chair as he stared intently at the embers and flames dancing in the darkness. To his side was his journal laying open at the page he had last written. He picked it up eager to understand why he had slept so long. As he read through it, his heart grew heavy. He read back though his journal every page, heavier than the last. The journal told his life story, his suffering, his loss, his heartache and his disappointment. The last page of his journal was so tragic, it was clear to see why he needed to leave his home and take respite in another place in order to find peace.
Buddha, older, wiser and with greater clarity of thought realized his life had disappointed him in so many ways, never was he happy, never was he at peace, never could he be in the moment and not have the expectation of what that moment should be. Buddha realized there was so much of his life that he failed to embrace. The only things he focused on were the disappointments, the let downs and the heartaches. He realized he wanted what was not there, and had done this during every moment of his life, instead of appreciating what was in front of him. He longed for the people that were no longer in his life, instead of valuing the ones that were steadfast and remained in his life. As a young man he felt inadequate and insecure as all the other young men seemed to go out into the village, meet a nice girl, fall in love, have a family and secure the wealth of their family by being successful merchants, all Buddha could do is wonder why he did not have the same.
Buddha could clearly see now, when life did not work out the way he intended he had retreated away from the world, instead of embracing it. The world did not mind that he had retreated and gave him all the time he needed until he was ready to return. Buddha, understood as a young man, many demands were put upon him, more than he could cope with, deal with, or understand. His frustrations, unhappiness and heartache had overwhelmed him and dictated his life. Buddha, enlightened by his experience, took the small stool in front of the fire and placed it outside his home. He drank in the sights, sounds and smells of the village, and as each person passed him, he gave them the only thing he had to give, his smile.
It was not long before Buddha had smiled at every villager; he noticed every villager smiled back at him. So the next time he saw them, he would smile wider and brighter, and they would smile wider and brighter back. Before long Buddha sat exchanging laughter as every villager passed him. All the villagers buzzed with excitement knowing they would start their day engaging with Buddha and he would be there to lift their hearts with laughter as they passed him by. Now too, they could go by their day, no longer worrying about their relationships, their expectations or their disappointments, because they knew once they saw Buddha their heart would lift with joy and they could face their day. Buddha had found abundance and was drinking from it's well, further more, he realized the true key to keeping the abundance was giving it away, as each time he did this, all it would do is return.