Truly Powerful People (469)

469.
Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

As I dust off and relearn the story of Parcival I have decided that it will be the spine of the work I do next week with teachers; we will follow the metaphors; we will open the story so the stories of our lives might open. As I work I am discovering that everything you need to know to be a great teacher is in this story! Parcival is a knight of the Round Table and, depending upon the version you read, he is the knight that finds the grail. Metaphor alert: the grail is not a thing to be possessed. It is what Maslow called self-actualization. It is a metaphor for finding your truth and fulfilling your purpose. What is the purpose of learning if not to seek and find your truth (do not be fooled, passing a test is far from the point of learning and will ultimately leave you empty and the test full)?

I love many aspects of this story and the section I reworked today made me smile. I giggled in the coffee house where I was rehearsing. The other patrons, afraid of the man in the corner talking and cackling to himself, gave me plenty of room to work (have I mentioned that I can’t talk without flailing my hands all over the place. If you ever want me to be quiet, simply bind my hands. I’ll make noises but words will be impossible). The story describes Parcival’s first entry into court. He grew up isolated, deep in the forest (not unlike Arthur, though Parcival did not have Merlin to school him) so he knew nothing of people or manners or custom. He thought dressing like a knight meant he was a knight. He approximated some armor, weaving a breastplate from reeds, a helmet from fronds, and he wielded a stick as a sword. He “borrowed” a mule and rode into Camelot. Arthur and his knights, thinking Parcival was a clown, laughed at him.

Growing up without instruction meant that he had the ideal upbringing for a trickster. He followed his nature without inhibition. Parcival had no inner-editor so the civilized world viewed him as a fool. He acted purely so he threatened custom. He spoke what others could not; he carried no conventions so he had no limits. He had no rules of conduct. Parcival would be the boy in the crowd to say, “This emperor has no clothes!” It would not occur to him to lie. When you are not doubting or protecting your purity you have no reason to deflect or manipulate or withhold. Lies are a byproduct of rules. He was powerful yet his power was raw, unrecognizable, so the world he wanted to enter could only laugh. And their laughter was his fuel. Their laughter propelled him into the world to learn. Arthur was capable of seeing his purity. And Arthur gave him hope. Arthur sent him into the world to prove himself, to learn the rules of society, and invited him to return to court once he’d learned the code and conduct of a knight.

The story is a story of desire; it is a story of following an inner imperative. It is a quest for fulfillment. It has laughter and despair, triumph and shame, obstacles that seem insurmountable; it is a story of perseverance and letting go. It is a story of 2 teachers: one provides the rules for conduct; the other helps Parcival shed the rules of conduct. Both are necessary if you want a shot at entering the grail castle.

If it were a poem it would read like this: Revel in your nature. Betray your nature. Rediscover you nature: grail.

One Response

  1. another story for me, thank you.

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