“Ashi, stop running around the house like that! I wonder from where this little girl gets so much energy all through the day…now hold on there…”, said Rhea as she poised herself to catch the incoming missile, the 5-year-old girl that they called Ashi. Ashi took a sharp turn and dodged Rhea as she dashed towards the main door. “Graaaanpaaa!”, she cried as Mr. Gregor, Rhea’s father stepped in. “I don’t know how to make this girl listen to me, she is getting naughtier by the day…”, said Rhea half smiling and slightly upset. “Graanpaa, storeee!”, Ashi tugged at Gregor’s sleeves. “Ashi, let him settle down first and have him eat something”.
“Do you have any tips for me dad? They say everyone listens to you at work!”, said Rhea. “Oh do they now? I’d like to think so”, said Gregor laughing at the playful Ashi. “Give me 15 mins and I will be with you darling, wait for me in your room”. “Yippeeee”, Ashi ran towards her room. “See! That’s what I mean, everyone listens to you, even Ashi! How do you do that?”, said Rhea with a jealous tone. “I don’t know, you should listen to the story today along with Ashi, may be, there is a clue”, said Mr. Gregor chuckling.
“Once upon a time, not very far from where we stay, there was a city by name Whispoka…”, started Gregor. “How faaaaaar graanpa, can we go there?”, Ashi asked almost struggling with an escaping yawn. “Yes dear, but now they changed the name of the city…”, said Gregor as he patted Ashi gently. Rhea leaned on her chair snugly and waited for her dad to begin the narrative.
Whispoka was a happy place known for its amazing markets. The craftsmanship of Whispoka was well-known and people came by from far-off lands to buy exquisite items from the bazaars of this town. The town was buzzing with visitors and tradesmen all year round and there was an air of festivity. Apart from the amazing works of art, there was one more thing that amazed the visitors, making them want to come back again and again – the hospitality and happiness expressed by the people of Whispoka. It is as if they were rid of all problems in life and very contented with what they had and did.
“It is the work of the soul whisperers”, said a visitor to another in the lobby of a nice little inn. “Is that true? Do they exist?”, the other one asked. “Yes they do and word has it that they can speak directly to your innermost core, and make you do whatever they want”.
“She wants stories, but can barely make it through the introduction, she must be tired with all that running around”, Gregor gently took Ashi’s tiny palm that was resting on his and placed it on her side. “Please continue papa! Who were these soul whisperers? And they could make people do what they want?”, asked Rhea with wide open eyes. “Now look who is trying to be Ashi”, said Gregor lovingly. “Okay, here we go”, he continued.
“Some thought that their power came from their knowledge. That they were very learned men and possessed vast knowledge acquired through years of learning and reflection. Some thought that they were magicians, and could just captivate you by their talk. However, they only whispered into the core on special cases, after ‘the mirror‘ qualified them!”, narrated Gregor. “This sounds mystical and magical! And confusing”, but continue dad.
“What special cases? and how to see what they do?”, asked a tourist. “I’d say how to learn what they do, is a more beneficial question”, said another one.
“But of course you can meet them sir, they are like normal men, only much kinder”, replied the inn-keeper with a smile. “Why are you guys so happy always? As if you are living on an unending treasure of money!”, asked a tourist. “Whispoka’s people got the gift of contentment from the Soul whisperers!”, the inn-keeper smiled. “When you go to a Soul whisperer, you will be asked to look in ‘the mirror’. After this they decide if they should whisper into your core or not. They say that if the mirror does not qualify, then it does not work. For the people of Whispoka, it has been a tradition for men and women who come of age to visit the soul whisperers and the mirror always qualified us”. “Stop this gibberish, can you take us to them?”, said the second tourist. “Right sir, tomorrow morning. But let me warn you, not everyone finds them interesting!”, said the inn-keeper as he picked up the tray and turned to leave. “Oh by the way sir, many people from other countries went to them to learn the art, but only a handful managed to learn it!”, he said and walked away.
Alek, the inn-keeper took the tourists the next day to a humble looking place just outside the town of Whispoka. In a stark contrast to the town, this place was sparsely populated and as they got closer in the horse-drawn carriage, the visitors saw that the dwelling was almost lonely with no other house in eye sight. Thick trees and shrubs surrounded the house completely, in what appeared to be a small valley. As they neared the house, they could see some royal guards waiting outside in the portico. “Kings and men in power also visit these wise men for counsel from time to time”, explained Alek and the visitors suddenly realized that they have not come to meet some charlatans.
An old man with a white beard and another one exquisitely & heavily dressed came out of the thick curtains towards the end of the portico.
“Please inform his majesty that we do not wander around from here. We help people who want help“, said the old man in the white robes, with a kind voice. “If that is how you please. What you did, didn’t seem to work for me, I will convey my message and yours to the majesty”, said the man who appeared to be a high ranking official in a King’s court. “Yes of course, I told you so before the session. It works if you really want it to, we expect no reward apart from helping you become what you want”, said the old man and motioned the emissary to carry on.
“Good to see you Alek!”, he said with a smile. “good to see you Esin”, Alek bowed gently. “I have some friends that wanted to meet you. This is Joseph, he is a doctor, this is Tristan, a cloth merchant and Yousuf, the writer”.
“Welcome friends, how can I help you”, asked Esin.
“Is it true that you can make people do whatever you want?”, asked Tristan bluntly, “we want to see you make us do something impossible”. Esin looked calmly for a while and burst out laughing. “Is that what Alek told you?”, said he with a smile. “The people of Whispoka are innocent and nice and they have been serving visitors for many generations. We help them remember their core and that keeps them happy”, Esin explained reflecting on something deep.
“You say we? sir, how many are you?”, Yousuf asked with a stammer. “Oh! we are 3 of us. My name is Esin, and with me I have Alberto and Joshua. They are in a session”, said Esin.
“Is it true that you never lie? Is it true that you can whisper to the soul?”, continued Yousuf speaking with difficulty. “Why is it so fascinating young man, when someone speaks with deep empathy and well-being of the other, they have the ability to connect very deep, don’t you think so?”, asked Esin inquiringly. “What is there to lie for, if there is no expectation of gain, we are here to serve those in need. But yes, we have abilities”, he smiled.
“Can you please explain further sir?”, persisted Yousuf. “…and he is the nicest of them all, you are lucky you are not speaking with Alberto to start with”, Alek added quickly. “There there, don’t be so hard on Alberto, he is just very sharp with his time and speech”, replied Esin.
“It is true that we can help people do ‘what they really want to do’, not ‘what we want them to do’. We are not the first ones to do it, there is a lineage and no one knows who was the first one to practice this art. I only heard a story from my teacher that lived quite far from here, that this method was mastered by a monk that lived in the Himalayas a very long time ago”, Esin paused.
“Do you also teach it to the others? Imagine what power one could get!”, said Joseph who was watching silently all along.
“We have taught this to very few, but it doesn’t work for those who would want to use this for any kind of benefit. Like I said before ‘magic lies not in doing what I want you to do, but helping you do what you want to really do‘”, Esin’s smile was truly contagious and all men in the room felt at peace already, wanting nothing more than listening to him.
“Were they prophets?”, interrupted Rhea, “…this suddenly sounds like a true story papa, I was expecting something magical to turn up, like your stories normally do”, said Rhea with a smile. “Well, that depends on who is listening, I would have told a different story to Ashi. But now you are playing her role very well, patience child, magic is on the way”, said Gregor with a smile.
“Why is this skill?, Yousuf stammered again,
“…not so popular?”, Esin added.
“Yes that’s what I was getting at”, Yousuf nodded.
“Changing someone – making them do what they truly want – involves 3 things – the person deeply realizing the need to change and become something more desirable, the ‘soul whisperer’ doing his whisper and both willing nothing but change as the only expectation“, Esin calmly replied. “And for most, the first element is not very easy to get to. People think they want to change, but there is no deep restless urge within. Our magic works only when it finds some space to enter. The emissary that left a little while ago will tell everyone in his place that this is bogus and it doesn’t work. It didn’t work for him”, smiled Esin.
“How do you know that people don’t like to change? I know I want to get better at my business, that’s all I care about and live for”, Tristan replied. “I am sure you do, and I can help you if you really need help”, said Esin. ” And the ‘mirror’ will show you”, Joshua entered from an adjacent room.
“What mirror?”, Tristan asked. “Esin didn’t tell us about it”.
“Yet!…”, said Esin, “…I was about to tell you. The mirror will show you whether you seek change or not, it was passed down to us from our teacher and to him, by his. We use it to help people understand that their seeking is genuine”, he said. “And to those who you taught this skill, don’t they need the mirror?”, asked Yousuf. “You will be told about that only if we choose to teach you”, Alberto replied sharply. “Please explain about this mirror, I will write about you in my land, this is a great find from my trip to Whispoka and people should know”, Yousuf was bubbling with enthusiasm, but stammering all along.
“The mirror is a means only. When we helped Alek for example, all he saw in the mirror was happy customers and all he wanted was to serve his customers to the best of his ability, and get them what they want. Whereas when the emissary looked in the mirror, all he could see was himself, in his glittering robes. He said that he wanted to see himself gain expertise and knowledge and be the wisest of the land, but the mirror did not show him anything like that. He thought we were fooling with him and he was very upset. We cannot help those who do not ‘really’ seek change. At best we can tell them nicely ‘how to find’ what they want”, said Esin.
“I don’t waste my time so much”, said Alberto as he went in the house to get something to drink for the visitors.
“I am not so interested anymore, this sounds like a counselling session to me, I was expecting magic”, said Tristan.
“And so you see why this is not very popular”, chuckled Esin as he addressed Yousuf. “On the contrary, I am aching to learn more sir. I want to change for the better, I am a writer and all I want is to express impactful stories to my people”, Yousuf spoke with his eyes open wide. “Joshua! will you help Yousuf?”, Esin asked. “Certainly”, said Joshua and waved Yousuf to follow him along into the room.
As they sat in front of what appeared to be a long wooden bordered mirror, which looked very ordinary, Joshua said “I will turn the mirror towards you, calm yourself down close you eyes and open them gently. The mirror will show you what you want. Do not tell me anything that you see”, said Joshua. After a few minutes as he looked into the mirror, Yousuf had a broad smile on his face. He bowed silently in gratitude. “I ask you to stay where you are and close your eyes”, said Joshua and he turned the mirror towards himself. “You have seen people getting wiser reading your stories, listening to your narratives from other lands and finding courage. This is beautiful, your stammer will go away and you will see this happen very soon”, said Joshua. “That is exactly what I saw, does the mirror show you what it shows to me?”, asked Yousuf. “No! the mirror tests me the way it tests you. The reason I saw what you saw is because I truly want your change and when that is the case, neither you are there, nor I am there, but just the vision of change. Else it does not work”, smiled Joshua. “And that is why teaching this skill to everyone is not easy. We need people who can forget themselves in their drive to help others”, he added.
“Is this how you motivate your people at work dad?”, Rhea asked with appreciation filled eyes. “You show them what they really want to become and while you do it, you disappear out of their sight?”.
“The message is most effective when your people do not see you/your motivations, but when they realize that the change being proposed is a vision for their genuine betterment”, Gregor laughed.
“How do you do that? How do you take yourself out of the equation? it is impossible to do it all the time! Now tell me you are not from that lineage of soul whisperers, are you?”, Rhea demanded.
“Hahahaha! it is not easy to do it always, but practice, experience and failures, all add up to it”, he said.
“What happened to that mirror? and that question about teaching the skill and sharing the mirror was not answered in your story. Does the soul whisperers share the mirror too to the ones that they teach this skill?”, Rhea truly looked like Ashi’s age.
“They use their power to make another one”, said Gregor laughing again. “But we all carry the mirror dear. We just need to look inside to find it and understand what change do we truly want for ourselves. There are many soul whisperers around to help you with the change once you decide. They will find you. They come in all kinds of roles – as friends, as colleagues, as family – no one can impose on you unless you want to change and no one can stop you once you decide to change“, Gregor smiled.
“But if you want to help someone, you should truly get out-of-the-way and show the person what he/she really wants – this is what I learnt from your story today, I will remember that dad”, said Rhea and she bid him a good night. “You do what you do so well for a reason, now I know a little better, why”, she said as she left.
Note: The prelude to the above story on LinkedIn can be found here