There was once a great great embodiment of the Tzaddik We All Are*, known for towns and towns around, far and wide. He was one known to be very wise and free; one whose presence within which others access their own Wise Freedom. He was considered a great teacher.
He had a very particular walk, completely surrendered to G-d, his walk was more of a flop, head back much of the time. He looked as if he was being walked, and his heart was always leading. One day he was being walked down a path, open wide and dancing his dance, when he spotted someone just in front of him and to the right walking in an almost identical way. The tzaddik noticed this man and his walk and how familiar it was and had a moment of some delight, “Ah, someone to walk with…” then let go this thought, for so is everyone ‘one to walk with,’ each person, the trees, the path itself, life-force… walking with the One in everything. And so these walked, side by side. The walker spotted the tzaddik and thinking him to be a student or someone emulating his walk, offered further teaching, “Good,” said the walker, “Now really let your arms go, feel the ground beneath your feet, allow breath to breathe you-“ Upon being instructed, the yetzer hara or ego-mind of the tzaddik flared up, “Don’t you know who I am,” is what it said within him, in its most important tone.
The tzaddik has three choices requiring 3 different degrees of awareness.
• To react in accordance to his yetzer hara, the voice in his head- feeling its “don’t you know who I am?!” Stomping off and thinking, “Whatever, that guy just didn’t know.”
* To respond, recognizing the indignant voice as the voice of the mind, and thinking, “My god, what a very arrogant, evil, and unenlightened thought! I must not be the teacher everyone regards me as being. I never used to have thoughts like that! And I certainly never REACT to them! I would recognize them and let them be. Maybe I used to know. Now I know nothing.”
* To recognize that little voice of “DON’T YOU KNOW WHO I AM!?” as the little ego-mind and send it love saying, “Hello little ego,” so softly and gently smiling, sending the mind love, knowing that is just a thought- that thoughts happen, the mind thinks, and it is not supposed to not do that.
As it happens, the tzaddik first stomped away thinking, whatever, that guy just didn’t know, I am a great teacher, ask anyone, then thought, oh my gosh, what an unenlightened and arrogant thought. Who am I that I can’t take in someone else’s instruction and teaching? Can you imagine if hearing anything at all could hurt me? Can you imagine if I was, or even wanted to be, above being offered a teaching by anyone at all? It was of course just the voice of my little ego-mind. How is it that it tricked me so! How is it I fell for it? I used to notice thoughts and just be with them. Not react to them letting them run me all over! Maybe I used to know. Now I know nothing-
Then he noticed, ALL OF THAT IS JUST THOUGHT- as a quiet came into his heart, “Ha. Those are just thoughts,” his face softened and the gentlest smile in the world spread across his being. He laughed as his being echoed, “Hello dear little mind.”
When he heard that soft and open laugh, the walker turned around. He walked quickly then jogged toward the tzaddik. He looked deeply into his face, “Hey, I think I know who you are. You are that great tzaddik…”
Of course these words went straight through the tzaddik into the great Flow of Things, freshly reminded that he was not the great tzaddik the mind and everyone else told him he was, but an ocean of life connected to all things. It was this dissolution and surrender into all, that made him thus.
*Tzaddik- a being in constant surrender to the One; so much so that his own will becomes G-d's will.