The Fall on a Summer Day
following is a parable based on an ancient story and real memories of
an idyllic summer of two boys who knew little but learned lessons of
stomach aches, rocks thrown, and the will to live of garter snakes.
summer day at the beginning of time, Eve was busy elsewhere, but Adam
and his sidekick, Steve, were walking in paradise. It was summer
and the boys had not eaten much that day. They had been busy
classifying and tormenting snakes, and building a nest of hay in the
shade when Steve spotted a tree with green apples. Steve, not yet
having a defined sense of self had no use of personal pronouns. He
pointed at the tree and said, “Eat fruit.” Adam said,
“Uh uh.” Adam was not clear on why not. God had told him
not to eat those apples, but not being ego based, Adam didn’t
distinguish between himself and God. He just knew not to eat those
green apples. Steve said, “Want apples!” Simple Adam had no
reason not to eat them, other than that inner knowing, and knowing was
now competing with a sensation in his stomach that lent urgency to
Adam and Steve filled up on green apples. The rest of the day was
marked by stomach distress. Adam told Steve: “Green apples bad.
No eat. Steve, stupid. Don’t know tree of good from tree of evil.
No tell Eve about this.” And so judgment entered human
consciousness and with it the first criticism, the first deception and
the first conspiracy. Suddenly, Adam had a sense of the separation
between himself and Steve and Eve. He felt lonely. He wanted to be with
Eve in a way he had never felt before. He told Steve not to hang around
with him anymore.
sensed something was different about Adam. He didn’t seem happy.
Not yet distinguishing good from evil, Eve didn’t understand at
first. But soon she realized that Adam was different from her. He was
grumpy and didn’t trust her implicitly as he had before. He
wouldn’t talk about why Steve was not always hanging around
anymore. Eventually, Adam told Eve, “You act like everything is
perfect. But you know, if you eat green apples your belly hurts. Also,
if you eat dirt, wood, and sand. Must have rules. Some things you can
eat. Some things don’t eat. Have you notice lion eat lamb?
Didn’t see that before. Lion eat lots of things that move, like
us. Got bad feeling about living near lion. Not like snakes too. Also
other boys get you in trouble and throw rocks too much.” Fear was
born and shared. Eve resented Adam’s rules and sometimes she did
what she felt like doing anyway. It made him angry. Soon the world did
not look so colorful to either of them. They had discovered shame and
discomfort and they longed for the way it used to be. They realized
there was a past that was different from the eternal present. They
never got the idea of future until they had children. And when they
lost a child their fear deepened. They no longer trusted the bounty of
nature. They made plans and worked hard to make sure their children
never had to be hungry. They taught them the rules of green apples,
wild animals and strange boys.
humans have inherited a legacy of separation, fear and shame. It comes
naturally with consciousness. When we learn to judge good from bad, we
cleave ourselves off from the rest of creation. Our minds fill with
planning and worry. We ignore our inner knowing in favor of rules and
judgment. We still have the option of stepping back into paradise by
returning to that conscious presence in the Now that joins us with all
that is. If we take a breath and step into that place between thoughts
where things just are what they are in all their perfection, where
knowing replaces thinking, we may find ourselves back in the garden,
but with the wisdom of experience.
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© 2010 Tom Barrett