The story which inspired the novel “Pursuit”.

Have you been battling money issues? Do you consistently meet against a wall when it comes to money? Just when your finances are beginning to look better home comes that unexpected bill or something desperately needs replacing. You never seem to get over that level and tend to be more under it that over it.

This little story may help you see your money related problems in a new light.

Jane was battling the fiery dragon. This fire breathing dragon was blocking her path. Jane wanted so much to get past the dragon. She had the sense that beyond the dragon were the things she desired and needed. In fact there were times when she was really in the thick of battle that she thought she could see gold beyond the dragon. It looked like the dragon was guarding the gold.

dragon_treasureNow Jane learned from this experience that to get to the gold, which she so desperately wanted, she would have to kill the dragon. If only she could reach the gold and take what she needed she could pay off all of her debts and live a life without worry or concern.

With the understanding that the dragon was guarding the gold Jane fought with all her might. She was determined to kill the dragon. Once dead the gold would all be at her disposal.

However, the dragon was not an easy foe. The harder Jane fought the more the dragon danced about and spat out fire. Jane was almost toasted many times. The heat of the flames would singe her skin and hair. The dragon would roar and blast its fiery heat towards her when she drew near. As she swung her sword to strike the dragon dead the dragon easily dodged out of the way, spitting another hot flame in her direction as it did so.

This constant battling drained Jane of all of her energy. She would be forced to withdraw in order to regain her strength. During her rests she would moan over her life of shortage. She would complain that all the gold she needed was guarded by that fiery dragon. She would pray to God and ask him to kill the dragon, to help her get some of the gold. But God seemed not to listen. The dragon remained and never slept so that any attack by Jane was never a surprise for the dragon.

This endless battle went on for many years. Jane’s situation never improved and sometimes even worsened. She struggled to pay her debts and even to provide herself with enough sustenance to live through the day.

One day, many years of battling later, she lay down her sword and fell before the dragon and cried to him to devour her now for her life was of no worth. She wept sorely awaiting the fierce dragon to turn her pathetic existence into ashes. What was the point in living on in this condition. She was poor and helpless. What was the point in battling this fearless foe of a dragon who never tired and never released its gold.

After what seemed a very long time Jane had stopped sobbing and wondered why the dragon was taking its time. It should have devoured her by now. Was it waiting for her to stand up and then take her life? Slowly Jane raised her head and looked towards the dragon and the gold it was guarding. The brightness of the gold blinded her so that she could not see the dragon very clearly. She saw its outline as it slowly stood and walked towards her.

“This is it,” Jane thought aloud so that the dragon could hear her. “This is the end. Go on spit out your fire and burn my poor being to smoke and ashes. My life isn’t worth living anymore. And without your gold I have no more hope.”

She watched through the glare of the gold as the dragon approached and stood just an arm’s reach from where she lay. It didn’t look as big now as she had thought. Many a times as she battled the dragon it looked as if it towered over her with great height and size. But now it looked no bigger than a man.

Puzzled, and because it was not moving, she raised herself a little more to get a better look. She was curious that the dragon had stopped and was not blowing fire  and also that it looked now not much larger than her.

“You have never asked me for anything,” said the dragon.

Jane was shocked to hear the dragon speak. “What can I ask of a dragon?” she replied.

“What is it you desire?”

“Your gold! I desire your gold, for then I can pay off my debtors and live a comfortable life. But I have fought you these many years and you have not once stepped aside allowing me to take even one piece of your treasure. Therefore I am weary and poor and have come for you to take my life with your fire, for I wish to live no more.” Jane sank her head into her hands as she knelt before the dragon. Yet she puzzled at its form. For through the glare of the gold it no longer looked like the fierce dragon from before.

“Then ask! For whatever is mine is yours, my child,” said the dragon.

Jane thought now she was dreaming. Did the dragon just call her its child? She looked up shielding hers eyes from the glare trying to look at the dragon. “What did you say?”

“Ask for whatever you desire, for whatever is mine is yours.”

“Why did you call me your child?” asked Jane, now growing accustomed to the glare. She thought she could make out the outline of the dragon, but it was the outline of a man, not a dragon. “Who are you? What are you?” Jane asked, now seeing that indeed this was a man who stood before her and not a dragon. “Where is the dragon? Did you kill it?”

“There is no dragon, child. There never was a dragon,” answered the man.

“But I have fought a dragon all these years to get to that gold beyond you and it fought me back not letting me retrieve even piece of gold. How can you say there has never been a dragon?”

The man, dressed in white, stooped to take Jane’s hands and helped her to her feet. Looking into her eyes with such compassion as Jane had never seen before he spoke with a gentleness which seemed to connect with her soul. “I AM that which you deem me to be. I AM the dragon keeping you away from your desires and dreams. I AM the illness and weakness which strikes your body often. I AM the sadness which fills your heart in times of need. Yet again I AM the joy you feel when holding a child or pondering a flower. I AM the strength you feel in your bones as you run in the valley or swing your sword. I AM the substance of all that you desire and require. I AM that which you deem me to be.” The man smiled a smile which made his words enter her soul.

Jane pondered what the man had said. She looked over at the gold. She looked at the man. And she answered him with these words. “You are the substance of all my desires. You are the joy and sadness of my heart. You are unto me all things which my heart seems fit to make you to be. You are the dragon I have fought these many years. And the gold? The gold was within my reach all this time. Please forgive me. I have made you to be the dragon which you are not and blamed you for the gold which was out of my reach but was not.” She tried to kneel in humble repentance but he held her firm.

Embracing her with his arms he drew her close to his body. “I AM that I AM. I AM you,” he said with a final embrace.

Jane returned the embrace, crying tears now of joy and gratitude. She was thankful to learn that now the dragon will never appear if she never thinks of it. She was grateful to know that the gold was never guarded and the abundance before her was hers if she so wishes. She repeated her gratefulness over and over and held the man close to her.

She opened her eyes, for they had been shut with weeping, and realized that there was no man. She embraced herself. And with that came the realization that all things were hers. Abundance was hers. All the gold of earth was hers. Whatever she desired was hers. Jane would never suffer lack again, for now she knew that the Source of all things was One with her.

As she gathered a handful of the gold before her feet, she smiled to the heavens, her heart filled with gratitude and joy, and said, “I AM.”

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