We were walking toward a village the next morning when Conqueror abruptly trotted out of the forest and blocked our path. He stopped, then turned and looked back at us indicating that we should follow him. He led us through the trees for a few hundred paces until we noticed someone familiar sitting under a banana tree.

“I thought you were going to the community?” a John said with his eyebrows raised.

“Yes, yes, I am on my way,” Moosawa stammered, looking surprised.

“But isn’t it in the other direction?” a John inquired.

“Of course, I should have known that!” said Moosawa.

A John could see that Moosawa was apprehensive and tried to ease his nervousness, “I know why you are off course. You made the same mistake I have made many times in this part of the forest. In fact, I still must be careful or I will easily get lost around here.”

“I can be so stupid at times,” said Moosawa, “and I am so glad that I ran into both of you again. Who knows where I might have ended up?”

“We all become lost at times,” a John replied with a wry smile. “All you have to do is join the main trail at the end of this road and after a few miles, turn left. Then you should be able to navigate the rest of the way.”

“Thank you so very much again,” said Moosawa, reaching in his bag and producing some honey rice cakes. “May I offer you these for your help?”

“No thank you,” said a John, “We are on our way to the village for alms and will be eating soon. Would you like to join us?”

“No, no. I am late already and must be on my way.”

“Very well then,” said a John, “good luck on your journey.” And Moosawa hurried down the trail.

I could only shake my head. Moosawa was certainly an inept key seeker. I felt sorry for him. One of the rules of key seekers was not to store food and there he was with cakes in his bag!

As we walked toward the village, a John said, “Shall we talk more about your anger? Would that be alright?”

“Sure.” I said. But I must admit I felt a little annoyed (perhaps angry?) Why couldn’t a John just leave this anger thing alone for a while?

“It is amazing, King, how anger and other problems become so intrinsically embedded in us. Isn’t it? And then, when we intensely and honestly observe them for a long period of time without any attempt to solve them whatsoever, they have a way of offering up a solution entirely by themselves! Isn’t that amazing?

“You see, this comes from ‘observation’ only, without the ‘self’ getting involved with its ‘actions that merely deflect your attention. Whatever you do in life, whether in your castle or in the forest, you are constantly observing, and what do you think it is that you observe? It is the truth or falsity of every situation. This is what you try to sort out. Everybody does this, usually without being aware of it. Our subsequent success in separating truth from deception depends on how clearly we observe. Why is it we persistently sort things out and try to see clearly? Is it because we resent being misled? Don’t we despise being deceived and disappointed?”

A John was right. I hated being manipulated. I was always afraid of being duped. Maybe there actually is a connection between my anger and my fear. When a John interfered with my killing the soldiers who were hunting me down like an animal, I was disappointed. I wanted the satisfaction of killing them myself. I am the legal king of Ayatana whether I’m in the kingdom or not, and their attempts to sneak up and kill me, their king, enraged me.

When I was restrained by a John from confronting the soldiers, my anger came up as a feeling of tension, a desire to dominate and win. But underneath it all, perhaps I was afraid on some level. Maybe I was fearful that they would overpower me. Possibly that is why my strength doubled in these situations and my reflexes became faster than a snake’s. It’s a natural ability of mine that is enhanced by not knowing the meaning of defeat. I was extremely confident when the soldiers confronted us. I pictured every move in my mind that I would make to kill them quickly, and when the villagers arrived, I was disappointed. The sorcerer was right; when will this killing stop? I seem to depend on it for my identity.

A John was reading my mind again. “Yes, and in all of this weren’t you searching for truth? Your entire life could be described as a search for truth, couldn’t it? And wouldn’t truth be expressed as that which is in this one, precious, unchanging moment? How can you begin to observe this truth? You can start by facing what it is you are dependent upon. You might be dependent on your anger, but others might rely on the people they cherish, or a cause they believe in, or something they would terribly miss if they lost it. The question is; is it possible to be free of this dependency no matter how important it seems to be right now? Doesn’t dependency rely on the chains of the past and future that bind your heart? But the past and future are no more than illusions, are they not? The past is always tainted because it is remembered through the veil of our conditioning, and the future will always be different from our dreams.”

A John then laughed and said, “And dependency starts and ends with this enormous ‘self,’ you are so attached to, my dear king.”