Once there lived a metal worker, a locksmith, who was unjustly acused of crimes and was sentenced to a deep, dark prison. after he had been there awhile, his wife who loved him very muc went to the King and beseeched him that she might at least give him a prayer rug so he could observe his five prostrations every day. The King considered that a lawful request, so he let the woman bring her husband a prayer rug. The prisoner was thankful to get the rug from his wife, and every day he faithfully did his prostrations on the rug.
Much later, the man escaped from prison, and when people asked him how he got out, he explained that after years of doing his prostrations and praying for deliverance from the prison, he began to see what was right in front of the lock that imprisoned him. Once he realised this and understood that all the information he needed to escape was already in his possession, he began to make friends with his guards. He also persuaded the guards that they all would have a better life if they cooperated and escaped the prison together. They agreed since, although they were guards, they realised that they were in prison, too. They also wished to escape, but they had no means to do so.
So the locksmith and his guards decided on the following plan: they would bring him pieces of metal, and he would fashion useful items from them to sell in the marketplace. Together they would amass resources for their escape, and from the strongest piece of metal they could acquire, the locksmith would fashion a key.
One night, when everything has been prepared, the locksmith and his guards unlocked the prison and walked out into the cool night where his beloved wife was waiting for him. He left the prayer rug behind so thar any other prisoner who was clever enough to read the pattern of the rug could also make his escape. Thus, the locksmith was reunited with his loving wife, his former guards became his friends, and everyone lived in harmony. Love and skillfulness prevailed.
This traditional sufi teaching story, from Idries Shah, can symbolize what each one of us go through as we embark in our life: the Lock is our personality, the prayer rug is the path (map), and the key is the Work. Note that although the wife brings the rug, in order to get the tools, the locksmith has to create something useful for his guards. He can’t get out alone, or for nothing. Furthermore, during the whole time he was praying for deliverance, the means of his liberation was literally right under his nose. although he never saw the pattern or undersrtood its meaning. One day, however, he woke uo, saw the pattern, and then had the means to escape.
The heart of the story is clear: Each of us is in prison. We have only to be awaken to read the patterns of the lock that will allow us to escape.
Sustain Leadership facilitates the access to the lock by helping individuals understand their personality type and access their true potential and capitalise on the collective wisdom of their teams, organisations and communities.
Through our circles, workshops and mentoring, individuals will be enabled to map their progress and develop their skills and capacities.
For more details, check Sustain Leadership and social media channels
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