By, Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu
Master to student, “if he should tell you, it places it there, it happens as though God had placed it.” He referred to the Sufi saying, “a mind within a mind.” He said to his devotee, “your brain hears it and builds within itself, a thought space.” He went on to say, “the next lesson will tell you what to do with your mind room.”
She the devotee, combed through her books, in search of wisdom. She said, the devotee, “which of these books in my library, will have wisdom for me?” She scanned each of their pages and upon her desk stacked numerous books, all of which, she in her way, had coded as wise. She, under her master’s tutelage, was she herself, in pursuit of mastership.
In the days that followed, insects infested the exterior well. It was referred to as “the post” and had a kind of pump that filtered clear water in. It was a large square like basin with a pump and lower well. Periodically a local company came in a truck with a huge drum and filled it. Next to it a table like platform made of concrete connected to and part of the well, with rounded grooves where clothes were washed. There was a clothesline and many trees, some bearing fruit in the yard. Normally for bathing and emptying the latrine a bucket is pulled from the well and either dumped into the toilet for manual flushing or boiled on the stove with herbs for a hot bath, then mixed with cool water in a larger bathing bucket. A small plastic container is used to cleanse and pour herbal water over the body. Baths are usually very delicious and fragrant.
Though her teachings with her master were rich, her mind became plagued with not only the cliff and the kites with the humming strings, and other matters of fine poetry, but of the well now filled with swimming insects that has prevented her from washing and bathing.
In the midst of her studies, she arrives at this juncture, where she will either problem solve, and rid the well of its insects, or within the next few days, her swift departure.
“The well is infested” she cries to her master. “I shall solve this matter, or I shall relocate myself to better conditions.” “I am afraid,” she said, “that even the memory of the insects will harm me.” She cried to her master, “I have to maintain the well sterile and should draining the well not be sufficient, perhaps bleach will rid me of this problem.”
Her master replied, “what will you do if you drain the well, then bleach, then fill the well and they are still there.” The devotee replied, “I do not know master, should I drain the well, bleach the well and they return, I may relocate from desperation.” “The insects, master, at this point are effecting my washing and bathing.” “My drinking water I fetch either from town or from the local pump.” However, master, the insects for me have presented a problem.” “ I do not know if even the memory of the insects will stay permanently with me.” “For now, I can use some of my drinking water to bath and wash.” “However, it is not really feasible to wash with the drinking water.”
Her master replied, “should the problem be insurmountable where will you go, how then will you continue your lessons?” “At this time, I don’t know master, I don’t even know what kind of insects they are, or how then will I continue my studies.” “I suppose my departure may be near or far.”
Days pass, she addresses the well. The devotee drains the well, bleaches the well and cleans the well to sterilize it. She fears they will return as they came before. She heard a story about a woman who had a wasp’s nest on the front of her house. They removed the wasp’s nest but as the nest was their home, they kept returning year after year. She had heard similar things of bees returning to their nest, even a removed nest. This was in fact a case where it appears something had hatched in the well and disrupted her life so severely that she had to haul water for bathing and washing as well as drinking. She feared her disgust of the swimming insects would provide her with an everlasting memory, a continual potential challenge, and this horrible feeling of uncleanliness. She could feel in her soul their movements. It was as if the trust she held for the well was now destroyed. The well became unclean. If she should go, to another well, it could perhaps also infest with the same insects. Should she pursue a residence without a well? She should then travel far. She should travel far for new conditions. Will someone else assume life in her place and find a solution for the insects in the well?
In the days that followed she met repeatedly with her master. The well she drained, bleached and cleaned it, even fearfully. She filled the well and the insects were still there. They swam in place many of them. It may be that time of year. It may be the well this time of year will always be infested with these insects? One local says the insects may come from the lower well? One local has suggested a strainer. An American suggested a pool net. Another local says the well needs a cover and a spigot, but since the lower well has likely been effected, there may be a different solution. One local says they go into the drain and come back out. Another has said they are in the environment and may easily get into an open well. Another local said you can assume the insects have gotten to the lower well. Another local said, the flying insect has lived in there so long it is now fish like. Another local says the only solution is to take apart the well, clear out the insects, apply a cover and drill a spigot. He feels that may be the only solution.
Isn’t it interesting how an insect may make you feel unclean? How in some houses there are cracks? A small crack, elicits a small insect. A large crack, elicits a large insect. A very large crack or gaping hole may elicit all kinds of vermin. A low hole may elicit mice, a high hole may elicit bats. The insects in the house always let you know about its cracks or its holes. The more the cracks in the house, the more the house fills up with insects and leaves you with this feeling of uncleanliness. Maybe the house is clean once all the eggs are removed, but the insects do not leave until all the cracks are filled. To get rid of them you may even need a home inspection to find all of the cracks and fill or seal them. You can even paint the entire house with a kind of sealer, which is done in some areas for infestations, to keep them out. You may even add, baseboards, because at the time of its building, insects may be living in the walls. The state of the home is reflected by its insects. If insects come in, will then water come in, during a heavy rainfall? Insects, are they a sign of vulnerability? Insects, can they detect a problem? Are the insects in the well, like thoughts in the mind?
She met with her master, “oh master, the well I have drained, bleached and cleaned.” I refilled it using the pump with water, and oh master, the insects were still there.”
“I have come to inform you master, that in pursuit of a clean feeling, I will depart from this house.” “ I will not move close by; I need to change my circumstance.” “The remedy for this problem may reach beyond the local area.” “I fear master, that every well here has this insect.” “My mind master has become plagued with the sensation of the swimming of the insects and how it connected to my bathing and I can’t feel clean physically or emotionally anymore.”
The master said, “So something you use for cleansing has become sullied in a way you have no ability to remedy in this moment.” “Beyond the physical problem, you are disturbed mentally by this reality in your memory.” “Further, the insects have connected to your bathing, to your washing, to your feeling of cleanliness as if on a string, where they may always live.”
“I understand now in this moment that you choose to relocate and leave your lessons with me,” said the master. “I may also face similar challenges.” “I, in this moment cannot solve your problem.” “Let us engage some final lessons before your departure, if you can endure it.” “Let us discuss your next steps in the world and your next intellectual steps.” “Let us not close our communication of lessons permanently.” “I will remain your master, but our lessons will move to writings.” “This doesn’t represent the end; this represents a change in context.” “ I wish for you in your new surroundings a feeling of cleanliness.” “ We have found the first solution!” Hopefully, in the future we will use this situation and find yet still more solutions.” “I will think deeply about your memory and its strings.” “Perhaps, in the future we will reopen this memory to heal it further, then reseal it.” “Perhaps, in the future we will change adversity into opportunity, and apply completely this occurrence to the service of knowledge.”
“Go where you have a teacher
Live where you have the most teachers
Follow if you have a master”
On her last day there south of the border with the USA in the mountains, on her way North to Michigan, she, the student, and devotee meets with her master. Her master says, “I want to talk to you about writing.” He said proudly, “I think you are both a writer and a teacher.” “I think what you need now is something really personal to me.” “You can view a writing in many ways.” “You may use a structuralist theory to compare literature.” “ I recommend to you” said the master, “that you write with ‘value and service.’” He said, “gauge your writing by it’s value or its ability to serve in myriad ways.” “I will work on this lesson and send it to you in a poetic format, I ask that you respond to me with your writing that addresses that lesson.” “ I will give you this tip, you must first assess how to achieve value.” “Start with even proverbs.” “Proverbs help you to build power.” “Think about condensing research into poetry, think about using key points in a letter to make it unfold, to give it power.” “Remember the word condense.” “Never forget the word precise.”
A few moments later she arrived Michigan, of cold winter months with low light, with clean white snow. The light she said is reduced to maintain enough cold to keep the snow. You can feel when the weather drops to freezing temperatures and the snow has its proper climate, then it comes. A poem arrives from her master and it reads:
Writing he feels is value and service
Myriad ways of value
He judges writing by its value or by its service
You can condense research then write a poem
Take the key points in a letter to condense it
Proverb teaches power
Program the buttons in a poem
Think over them
A poem like a bomb
A consolidation of programs
Hire the picketers
An on-page revolution
The main protagonist hangs a poster
Condense it, stage it, serve
I have assimilated to this old/new place, my home. I am sewing now. I will enclose a poem that deals with how I condensed some of my knowledge to include a teaching.
It is with great pleasure that I share with you another solution. How to clean the well and rid the well of an infestation. Directions:
Empty the well completely. The bugs are identified as water bugs. Some will go down the drain. They live on the surface and lay their eggs and eventually assimilate to be a fish like insect. Once you have emptied the well, let it dry out. They are then a fish without water. They are not in the lower well or drum. If you add bleach to water they do not die. You were correct to use bleach though. Bleach is sterile and can be used in the well to clean it out. Set aside a few buckets of the old water for flushing etc. After the well has dried out and baked in the sun. Add two- gallon bottles of bleach. Leave it for three days. The insects cannot live in the pure bleach. Keep watching for any swimmers. Drain it and use a broom scrub brush to scrub all the eggs off the sides, the bottom, then outsides and clean the well. Drain it again, let it dry. Then repeat. Fill the well with two-gallon bottles of bleach, let sit for three days and watch for any swimmers. Let them die. Then scrub again. Drain. Rinse. Then let dry and air out from the bleach. Let it evaporate. Then fill the drum with clean water after you have drained it. Then fill the basin with clean water. The bleach is a repellent and the treatment should last about 2 years to be free of them. The bleach will eventually wear off from filling the basin over and over. Now you have a clean well, a fresh bath and are able to wash. The one who comes after you will too. Now you can feel clean. The well is clean.