The Rescue. V1
Download MP3: eng_9.mp3
Explanation of this Guided Experience
Through the use of a dramatic plot, this experience impels us towards communicating with, and opening up to, other people. The theme of "good actions" is introduced in order to frame the ideas of solidarity and helping others. Anyone who has even a moderate knowledge of our Doctrine will easily understand how important and useful it is to develop and strengthen attitudes that replace selfishness and self-enclosure.
I’m in a car that is speeding down a large highway. In the strange half-light I’m unsure whether it is dawn or dusk. The driver beside me is someone I’ve never seen before. In the back seat are two women and a man, who are also strangers. The car races onward, surrounded by other cars that are driving recklessly, as if their drivers are drunk or crazy.
I ask my companion what is happening. Looking at me furtively, he answers in a strange language, “Rex voluntas!”
Turning on the radio, which blares noisy static, I can faintly hear a weak metallic voice monotonously repeating, “Rex voluntas . . . rex voluntas . . . rex voluntas.”
The traffic slows, and by the roadside I see wrecked and overturned cars with fire spreading among them. We stop, and abandoning the car, join a sea of terrified people rushing toward the fields.
Looking back through the smoke and flames, I see many hapless souls who are trapped and doomed, but I’m forced to keep running by the human stampede that pushes me along. Some of the people stumble to the ground, and amid this delirium I struggle in vain to reach a woman trying to shield her child as the mob tramples over them.
The chaos and violence are spreading everywhere, so I make up my mind to move in a slightly diagonal direction that will let me escape the crowd; I aim toward some higher ground that diverts this mindless stampede. Many of the fallen clutch at my clothes, tearing them to shreds. But I notice that the crush of people around me is growing less.
Finally I manage to break free of the crowd, and almost out of breath continue to climb. Stopping for a moment, I notice that the mob is now going in a direction opposite to mine—they must be thinking that running downhill will carry them more quickly out of this crisis.
I realize with horror that the path they are following ends in a cliff. Shouting with all my might, I try to warn the people of this imminent catastrophe, though I fear that only those nearest me will hear the warning.
One man does break free of the mob and comes running toward me. His clothes are in tatters and his body is covered with wounds, yet I feel a great joy that he’s been saved. On reaching me he clutches my arm, and yelling like a madman points frantically down the hill. He’s speaking a language I do not understand, but I think he wants me to help rescue someone. I tell him to wait for a while—that right now it’s impossible. I know he cannot understand me, and his desperation is tearing me apart. Then he tries to go back down, but just as he’s leaving I trip him and he falls headlong. He lies sprawled on the ground, sobbing bitterly. For my part I realize that I’ve saved both his life and his conscience—his conscience because he did try to rescue someone, and his life by preventing his doomed attempt.
Climbing higher, I reach a freshly plowed field. The earth is loose and furrowed. In the distance I hear gunfire, and think I know what is happening—hurriedly I leave. After a while, everything is silent and I stop once more. Looking back toward the city, I see a sinister glow.
I feel the ground begin to shake beneath my feet, and a rumbling from the depths warns me of an imminent earthquake. Within moments I’ve lost my balance and find myself lying on the ground. Curled on my side and gazing up at the sky, I’m overcome by waves of dizziness.
The earthquake passes, and I look up to see an enormous, blood-red moon.
The heat is unbearable and the air is filled with an acrid odor. Meanwhile, I’m still uncertain whether the day is just beginning or night is falling.
Sitting down, I hear a growing roar. Soon hundreds of aircraft fill the sky, passing overhead like deadly insects and disappearing toward some unknown destiny.
Nearby I come upon a large dog that is staring up at the moon. It begins to howl, almost like a wolf. I call out to it, and the animal approaches me timidly. When it reaches my side, I gently pet its bristling fur and see shivers running down its body.
The dog pulls away from me and begins to leave. I get to my feet and follow it, and we cross a rocky area until we reach a small stream. The thirsty animal rushes forward and eagerly begins to drink, but all at once draws back and falls over. Approaching the dog I touch it, and realize that it’s dead.
I feel a new earthquake, which threatens to knock me over, but it subsides.
Turning around, I behold far off in the sky four enormous clouds advancing toward me with the muffled rumbling of thunder. The first cloud is white, the second is red, the third is black, and the fourth is yellow. And these clouds are like four armed horsemen riding on the storm, traveling across the heavens and laying waste to all life upon the earth.
I begin running to escape the approaching clouds, for I realize that if their rain touches me I’ll be contaminated. As I run toward the highway, suddenly my path is blocked by a gigantic figure—towering over me I see a huge robot swinging a sword of fire in a menacing arc. I shout that I must keep going because the radioactive clouds are approaching, but the robot replies that it has been stationed here to prevent destructive people from entering; adding that it’s armed with lasers, it warns me not to come any closer. I see that the robot stands on the dividing line between two distinct areas—the one I’m coming from, barren and dying, and the one ahead, filled with vegetation and life.
So I shout to the robot, “You must let me pass because I’ve done a good deed!”
“What is a good deed?” the robot asks.
“A constructive action, something that builds and contributes to life,” I answer.
“Then tell me what you’ve done that’s so good,” the robot demands.
“I’ve saved a human being from certain death, and what’s more, I’ve saved his conscience as well.”
At once the giant robot stands aside, and I leap into the protected area just as the first drops of poisoned rain begin to fall.
Ahead of me is a farm, and a soft light glows through the windows of the nearby farmhouse. Only now do I realize that the day is just beginning.
When I reach the farmhouse, a rugged yet kindly looking man invites me to come in. Inside, a large family is preparing for the activities of the day. They seat me at the table, which is set with simple and hearty food. Soon I find myself drinking pure spring water as children play around me.
“This time,” says my host, “you have escaped. But when once again you must cross the border between life and death, what coherent behavior will you be able to show in your life?”
I ask him to explain, because his words sound strange to me. He says, “Try to remember the truly unselfish things you’ve done in your life, which we might call ‘good deeds’ to give them a name. Of course, I don’t mean those so-called ‘good deeds’ people do when they’re expecting something in return. Think only of the things you have done that left a clear sensation in you that the way you treated others was best for them—it’s just as simple as that.
“Now I’ll give you three minutes to review your life and see what inner poverty there is within you, my good friend. And one final suggestion: If you have children or loved ones, do not confuse what you want for them with what is best for them.” Having said this, he leaves the house along with all his people. I’m left alone to meditate on the suggestions of this rustic fellow. (*)
Returning a short time later, he says to me, “Now you see how empty you are within, and if you aren’t empty it’s only because you are confused. That is, in either case you are empty. Let me give you some advice, and heed it carefully, for it is the only thing that will help you in what is to come: From now on, do not let a single day pass without filling your life with an unselfish act.”
We say farewell, and in the distance I hear him shout to me, “Tell the people what you have discovered!”
I set off from the farm in the direction of my city.
Today I have learned this: When human beings think only of their own self-interest and their own problems, they carry death in their hearts, and everything they touch dies with them.
Take note of all resistances that appeared during this Guided Experience, and try to overcome them when you repeat it later. Make use of this process of reviewing your "good actions" as a theme of meditation on your own life. Carry this meditation out immediately following the experience. This meditation could also take place for a few minutes before the close of the Weekly Meeting.