An Excerpt from Gathering Sparks: Interviews from Parabola Magazine selected by David Appelbaum and Joseph Kulin

David Applebaum and Joseph Kulin have selected the most noteworthy interviews from 25 years of material in Parabola Magazine. Here’s a teaching story from Sobonfu Somé on listening.

“I’ll tell you a story about a man whose fate it was to die by snakebite. One morning he went off into the woods to relieve himself, and he laid his clothes on the ground while he did so. Afterwards, when he went to get dressed, something told him to do a small divination. So he did, and said, ‘Hmm, it looks like something is going to kill me today.’

“He looked around him and didn’t see any wild animals; he wasn’t under a tree; there wasn’t any lightning, and he wondered, ‘What could it be?’ He saw nothing dangerous — but every time he went to pick up his outfit, something made him pause. Finally he found a stick and began to beat on his clothes, and when he shook them a snake slithered out — a small snake called the ‘five-minute snake’ by my people because it is so poisonous that you would die within five minutes if you were bitten. If he had been bitten he would have died before he could have gotten back to the village for help.

“It’s about paying attention to signs and listening to that small inner voice. By being very diligent and acting on the warning he received from the divination, he was able to avert his fate. In the long run his fate might eventually catch up to him, but at least for the time being it didn’t.”

Back to reading a full review of this book.