Tuesday, April 26, 2011
One day in the midst of this kingdom there suddenly appeared a knotty little stranger, apparently dropped "out of the blue" by a passing bird. He was capless and dirty, making an immediate negative impression on his fellow acorns. And crouched beneath the oak tree, he stammered out a wild tale. Pointing upward at the tree, he said, "We...are...that!"
Delusional thinking, obviously, the other acorns concluded, but one of them continued to engage him in conversation: "So tell us, how would we become that tree?" "Well," said he, pointing downward, "it has something to do with going into the ground...and cracking open the shell." "Insane," they responded. "Totally morbid! Why, then we wouldn't be acorns anymore!"
Originally devised by Maurice Nicoll in the 1950s, Jacob Needleman popularized this metaphor in Lost Christianity and named it "acornology." I am reprinting the story from Cynthia Bourgeault's The Wisdom Way of Knowing