I stand outside the temple, waiting. Is it holier to be inside? I wonder.
My friends are inside. Outside, I sit on a park bench. I ponder.
Now a gust of wind forces my eyes to shut out the dust.
I pull myself inward. I feel like a river is channeling my boat.

Suddenly we are in the sea, and it rocks my boat. It is getting dark.
Still alone, I search for my friends, my four life-long companions:
Purpose, Reason, Goodwill, and Resilience—where are they?
There’s turbulence in the water, but I must find the treasure.

 In the darkness, I see a glimmering light—Purpose, he has found me.
The storm whips us around. A whisper echoes in my ear:
“Ahoy, hoist the sails”—Reason, he shows me how.
I am shivering with cold and fright. Will the storm ever end?

Someone holds my hand—Resilience, now I feel her.
Finally, dawn breaks out. I see land. I see the future.
I see myself showing others where the treasure is.
Goodwill, I can’t even see her, she is inside of me.

There’s violence in the air. A sail breaks. I am adrift again.
Whiplashed into facing the past, I turn to resentment and despair.
I have nothing. I am nothing. But wait, I have four friends I cannot see.
Then exhaustion becomes sleep. The storm subsides. Where are we?
Now on a lake so serene, my oar-less boat cannot move. The sun sparkles.
A thin waterfall of steam rises upward as water bubbles play in the sun.
Now I know that the treasure is real. My eyes close to capture a mental picture.
Alas, it does not last. In the distance, I see mountains. Volcanic ash spews forth.

Past the volcano is another treasure, another lake of inner beauty.
It beckons me to leave this serenity; the longer I stay, the less I enjoy it.
The mountain is treacherous, the crevices deep, the ground slippery.
Why, O why, did I leave my comfort zone? I cannot explain.

I slip. I am falling. I am going to die. I don’t want to die so soon.
Suddenly, I feel a rope round my waist. A strong tug pulls me upright.
Resilience—she found me. Purpose—he points the ray.
Reason—he shows me how. Goodwill—she will remember the way.

For we will be back; next time with the others.
For no serenity is serene without the struggle.
Enlightened, I open my eyes to clear skies. 

The others are back from the temple.

They brought me "Prasad," an offering. It’s sweet.
“Where did you go?” they ask, with a twinkle in their eye.
“On a sailboat,” I wink at them. “Did she have a name?” they ask.
“Introspection,” I tell them. “What did you get us?”

“Nothing to eat, but something to read,” I say.
They laugh. They think I fell asleep on the park bench.
I search in my pockets to find it. I show them a crumpled piece of paper.
Like a Dead Sea scroll, it smells of salt and brine.

They open the scroll, as I eat the sweet they brought me.
The scroll fritters away in the breeze. “Hurry, pick up the pieces,” I plead.
We gather around and jigsaw the scroll into place.
“It is 350 years old,” I say excitedly, “a real treasure.”

Written by a blind and impoverished John Milton,

It is opened with great care and anticipation:
“The Mind is its own place, and in itself…”
“…can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.”

“That’s what we heard inside,” they say, amazed.
“So is it holier to be inside?” I ask them. Their eyebrows arch up.
“The adventure is outside, in the Temple of Life,” I tell them.
"Always take a torch, a warm jacket, and your four friends with you.”

About The Author:

Author: Vinay Kolhatkar
Vinay Kolhatkar is a freelance journalist, novelist, screenwriter, and finance professional. He is the Chief Editor of The Savvy Street. His work has also been published in The Missing Slate, Reason Papers, AS Journal, Cuffelinks, and JASSA. Vinay has penned two TV pilot screenplays (Marlon Stone, and Unlikely Partners), and has had two novels published in the unusual Romantic Thriller genre: A Sharia London and The Frankenstein Candidate.

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