Recently, I have been re-reading one of my favorite books, Awakening Spirits by Tom Brown, Jr. Tom relates the story of an Apache shaman who is on a vision quest to get answers to some of life's greatest questions. He wants to understand the religions of man and find the common thread among them. Traversing high mountains and finally the valley of the White Man, he comes upon a wise white man and an Asian Buddhist. These three men talk for many days, and come to realize that the Sacred Silence of the Apache is the meditation of the wise white man and the Buddhist.
They discover together that meditation takes many forms. For some, it is the goal. For others, it is a path to enlightenment. Some sit and meditate. Others find meditation to be a constant way of being -- whilst walking or washing dishes, for example.
Still questioning, the men feel that something is missing. There is still a gap in the chain of life's understanding. Could it be that we are looking in the wrong places, they wonder? If we have not found it in all of our wanderings, perhaps the answer is not outside of us -- perhaps all the answers we seek are inside of our own hearts.
Happy with this revelation, the men go their separate ways. After a few days of walking, the exhausted young Apache falls into a deep sleep. His guide appears to him and tells him that he will receive one final revelation from the guide, and after that, this particular guide will not see him again until he passes over the Great Divide.
Hungry with anticipation, the young Apache eagerly awaits the profound revelation that will give him the answers he seeks. What could it be? What is the key to LIFE?
"Choice." says the guide ... and instantly disappears.
Of course! The young Apache realizes the wisdom that has just been set before him. Choice! We can choose whether to be happy, or sad, or angry, or peaceful. And the choices we make determine much in our lives. We cannot always control what happens to us. But we can choose how we react to life's ups and downs.