One fresh, spring day, a deer detected a mysterious and heavenly fragrance in the air. It hinted of peace, beauty and love, and like a whisper beckoned him onward. Compelled to find its source, he set out, determined to search the whole world over.
He climbed forbidding and icy mountain peaks, padded through steamy jungles, trekked across endless desert sands. Wherever he went, the scent was there, faint yet always detectable.
At the end of his life, exhausted from his relentless search, the deer collapsed. As he fell, his horn pierced his belly, and suddenly the air was filled with the heavenly scent. As he lay dying, the deer realized that the fragrance had all along been emanating from within himself.
The loving awareness you cherish is not a distant fragrance, a treasure found only after an arduous journey. As the deer realized at his death, the beauty you long for is already right here, inside you. It has been all along.
~ traditional legend from ancient India; adapted from a telling by Tara Brach.