“So, you say that you are ready to renounce everything! Is that correct, king? Well my good friend, words are spoken with ease compared to the work involved in this discipline. There are exceptions however; a few key seekers can live in the forest quite comfortably without irritation, not desiring the touch of a woman or the taste of exquisite foods; the security of a home or the comfort of a bed. They are fortunate, for their interest in these things fell away naturally due to the simple practice of their inner work, and they were not obligated to experience painful withdrawal when they lost interest in these things.

“Disinterest in worldly enticements will be your measure of progress in your quest for the key, and your ever-closer approach to infinity. You see, as worldly concerns naturally fade away, Infinity begins to surface; and as Infinity surfaces, worldly concerns fade further. They go hand-in-hand.

“You might ask why a key seeker would prefer infinity over the comforts of the world. Well, it’s simply because a key seeker has observed that the world is unstable, unreliable – happy one moment and tragic the next. Physical existence is fraught with this kind of danger and pain. Uncontrollable flux is obvious to a key seeker, but hidden from those who remain blinded by physical existence.

“Some key seekers, however, have difficulty. They continue to desire things of the world, but force themselves to abstain from them as a discipline for the sake of their quest. Everything then becomes an austerity. For these poor souls with lingering worldly desires, the measure of their progress - or lack thereof - is the unrelenting strength of these desires and the key seeker’s resulting discomfort. These dissatisfactions are not to be shunned; they are the whetstones that groom destinies. Suffering and dissatisfaction are the precursors to greatness. Luxury and security line the road to mediocrity.”

A John’s words struck a chord. My life in the kingdom was nothing but decadent, leading me down unconscionable paths where I did unconscionable things. And while the forest was difficult, I found myself becoming increasingly honest and sincere. The outward, obvious austerities were not what defined the nature of seekers like a John; it was the inner peace they projected and silently exhibited in all situations, whether they were dire or secure. I could already see that the innate tendencies of seekers must always incline toward a life of simple means; a life with no extreme aversion or attachment to anybody or anything, and a life reflecting humility, kindness, and love for everything.

I was just beginning my quest, however, so I had no choice but to consciously discipline myself in everything that I did. I had to make sure my bodily actions were dependably harmless, uncomplicated, and consistent. I had to be careful that my words were always agreeable and honest, and I had to keep my mind controlled, silent, and balanced. This strict discipline, I found, was helpful and necessary, at least until I could advance enough for Infinity to begin rising within. Only then would I become the expression of these virtues naturally with no effort or restraints whatsoever, as a John professed.

Everything a John said touched an inexpressible familiarity deep in my heart encouraging me to begin this training. I now could better appreciate the hardships over the last five years as a preparation for this new stage in my quest, but I was also curious regarding what else might be required by this strict code of ethics that key seekers must follow. I decided to stay with a John just a little while longer, but soon I would have to leave in order to protect him, and the villagers, from my assailants.