18 CAMELS

Have you ever tried to solve a problem using only your rational mind? You know, those times when you use your accumulated knowledge – your school brain – to figure something out and no solution can be found.┬áSometimes the solutions we seek for the simplest things get lost in all of the knowledge, the theories, the commentaries, the arguments, and the opinions we acquire in a lifetime.
Have we forgotten how to go directly within – not via Rome – to our own inner source for answers to our problems? It seems in the madness of this current culture we have lost touch with the sense of our own presence – that indefinable place within us that we sometimes catch a glimpse of, but cannot explain or prove. That mysterious part of us that is proportional to wonder and awe that sometimes fills us, touches us and stirs us in ways that cannot be described.
I once read an Arabian story. It has stuck with me for years. The story is about a man who died suddenly leaving his three sons behind. This man’s greatest possessions were his 17 camels. In his will he left explicit instructions on how to divide these camels amongst his three sons. One half of the camels were to go to the first son, one third to the second son, and one ninth to the third. When the sons tried to do the math they were awkwardly perplexed. If they followed the directions exactly, they would have to cut or kill some of the camels. None of the sons were willing to do that, but in those days a will was a will, and its instructions had be followed to the letter.
The sons decided to take their dilemma to the smartest man in the village. This man was a pundit, a mathematician. Many degrees had been conferred on him. Surely he would know how to solve their problem. When they arrived at his lavish home, he was sitting outside eating sunflower seeds. He listened carefully to their story and thought hard on the matter, but after several attempts, using sunflower seeds to represent the division of the camels, he could not come up with a solution. “They cannot be divided this way. You must cut them or kill them,” the man said.
Distressed, the sons left and did not heed the pundit’s advice. Instead, they decided to visit the wise man of the village. This old man was uneducated and had no training in mathematics whatsoever, but he was grounded in life and wise through years of experience. The three sons took the 17 camels with them and visited the man’s humble home. When the oldest son explained their dilemma, the old man stood up and laughed. “This is not a problem. It is simple to fix. I will loan you one of my camels and then we will divide.”
Within minutes, nine camels were assigned to the first son, six camels to the second son, and two camels went to the third. One camel was left over, the camel the wise man had loaned them. The man took his camel back and sent the three satisfied sons on their way.
I leave you to ponder this Arabian tale. It has given me a new outlook on finding solutions to my own problems. Whenever I am faced with a dilemma, I avoid the pundits, the authorities, and the mathematicians and remember the 18 camels.
Go within for your answers. Go direct. You won’t be disappointed.