This is one of my favorite stories from my book The Totlec Way. Both the Toltec tradition and the ancient Hawaiian spirituality were oral traditions. Stories can speak to us at many levels similtaneously. Enjoy the story.
The Villagers Find Abundance
It had been a short, cold summer. The frost had come early and many were afraid that there wouldn’t be enough food for the winter. A heaviness settled over the village and people walked hurriedly, bent over, wrapped in their blankets, not even looking at each other. Fear filled their hearts and tempers were short. The Grandmother was saddened, her heart hurt as she saw the beautiful seeds of love dying.
The talk of war started gradually, first with the young braves. They complained about how their neighbors were killing their deer and picking their berries. At first the others laughed because everyone knew the deer and berries belonged to the Great Spirit. But the talk of war soon took on a life of its own. It was a way for many of the people to channel their fear.
The old women heard the talk and wept silently at night. They knew firsthand the pain of war. They had lost many sons and husbands over the years but war had not visited their village since the Grandmother had come to live with them. One by one they came and sat at the Grandmother’s fire; they talked about their fears, and asked the Grandmother what they could do.
“Forget your fear, walk in love. Look at the way others walk through the village. Walk not in fear. Share your love and your light as you move through the village; look at each person you pass and bless them. Share what you have, know that the Great Spirit will provide.”
The old women left muttering to themselves. It was easy for the Grandmother to say; they knew death waited for all of them this winter. Their hearts were too full of fear to heed her words.
The talk of war continued to spread. People no longer shared their meals and families built their fires alone.
The hunters went out and came back empty handed. They cursed their luck and muttered in anger about the neighboring villages. They knew the spirits of the land were against them and that many would starve during the long winter ahead. The grumbling spread throughout the village.
Finally the elders called a council meeting. The young warriors stood outside, their faces filled with anticipation and fear. War was the answer and they all knew it. They would raid their neighbors, kill them, and take the food that had been stolen from their lands.
The meeting had been going on for most of the evening. The energy of war filled the air and the crowd was thick around the gathering place. There was barely room to move, when suddenly the crowd began to part.
The Grandmother walked slowly and deliberately toward the meeting place. As always her eyes were filled with love but there was a sadness and a determination few had ever seen before.
A murmur went through the crowd of women and young warriors as she lifted the skin covering the meeting room door. Women weren’t allowed in the council meeting but no one dared stop her–she was, after all, the Grandmother.
The men fell silent as she entered. She looked around the room, meeting the eyes of everyone present, and she walked over to the Chief and stood in front of him. She looked deep into his eyes, then turned, and faced the fire as she raised her arms in prayer. The fire crackled, growing brighter by the moment, and the wind outside began to howl.
“I call upon the power of love. May only love be present here and may its light wash away any illusion of anger, hatred, or fear. I call upon the ancestors and all those who have gone before us or will come after us. May their wisdom and light be present here as well.”
The air began to shimmer and the people could feel the loving presence of the Great Spirit. The Grandmother stood in silence, her eyes closed, and her hands open facing the sky.
When she finally spoke her voice was filled with gentleness and power. “What is it you want to create? Why did you gather here tonight? Will war really solve your dilemma?”
Everyone started talking at once. The voices of fear were loud and raucous. The Chief stood up and everyone fell silent.
“Grandmother, you know we don’t have enough food for the winter and our neighbors kill our deer. We must protect our village. We must survive.”
The Grandmother slowly turned and looked at the Chief.
“At what price?”
The Chief began to speak and the Grandmother silenced him. No one silenced the Chief. When he again tried to speak she turned and looked at him. Her eyes were full of fire. His mouth continued to move but he couldn’t utter a single word.
“I said silence. I have enjoyed your loving hospitality for many moons. I have never interfered with tribal matters, but you have gone too far. Do you remember nothing I taught you? Do you so easily throw away the gifts of love? This village has grown and prospered because of the love you so freely shared. Do you love only when you feel safe? Do you turn your back on love as soon as fear starts whispering in your ear? Do you believe your eyes instead of your heart? Everything in your life is a gift freely given. If you try to hold on in fear it dissolves and you are left with nothing but your fear. Is that what you want?”
She looked around and stood before Gray Wolf. He had fear in his eyes and war in his heart.
“What is it you want to create with this war of yours? What is your intent, Gray Wolf?”
“I want to feed my family and take back what is rightly ours.”
“Why do you want to feed your family Gray Wolf?”
“That is a silly question old woman; because I love them.”
“So your intent is to show your love to your family by killing other families?”
She looked deeply into his eyes and touched his heart with her love. For a moment he had seen through her eyes and he saw what was really in his heart. He looked away in shame.
She looked around the circle and the men all lowered their eyes. They too had seen what was in their hearts and they were ashamed they had so easily surrendered to fear.
“If your intent is to love your families, love. Love everyone–especially your neighbors. If you let love be your guide you will always have enough. Fear causes starvation. Love never will. Give thanks for your blessings, bless your neighbor, share your bounty, and live in love.
“Your intent to love must be followed by loving actions. Love expands, fear contracts. If your intent is to love, be fearless in all you do, both in thought and in deed.
“Have you ever seen me want for anything? Have you ever seen me do anything but love? Would love deny you anything? My food barrels are full and yours will be too as soon as you open up your hearts and share. Give in love, without fear, and you will always have enough. As soon as fear infects your thinking you can be sure that scarcity will begin to rule your life.”
The Grandmother turned and walked out of the room. The young warriors were surprised when the Chief emerged a little later and ordered everyone to begin preparations for a great feast. All the villagers returned to their homes and took stock of what they could contribute.
The next day the neighboring villages were all summoned to share in their bounty. Laughter filled the village again, there was plenty of food for everyone, and the Grandmother smiled as the Chief said the blessing. He talked about love and sharing. He talked about always having enough as long as your intent was to walk in love.
The village shared their food with many starving people that winter. Their storerooms were always full. Anyone who came to their village was offered a place by their hearths and given all they could eat.
They were sent away with a full stomach, a heart full of love, and all the food they could carry to take back to their families. Many learned the lesson of love and intent that winter.