Don’t need feet to dance

Once upon a time in a concentration camp there lived a prisoner who, even thought he was under sentence of execution, was fearless and free. One day he was seen in the middle of the prison square playing his guitar. A large crowd gathered to listen, for under the spell of the music, they became as fearless as he. When the prison authorities saw this, they forbade the man to play.

But the next day there he was again, singing and playing on his guitar with a larger crowd around him. The guards angrily dragged him away and hand his fingers chopped off.

Next day he was back, singing and making what music he could with his bleeding fingers. This time the crowds were cheering. The guards dragged him away again and smashed his guitar.

The following day he was singing with all his heart. What a song! So pure and uplifting! The crowd joined in, and while the singing lasted, their hearts became as pure as his and their spirits ans invincible. So angry were th guards this time that they had his tongue torn out. A hush descended on the camp, a something that was deathless.

To the astonishment of everyone, he was back at his place the next day swaying and dancing to a silent music that no one but he could hear. And soon everyone was holding hands and dancing around this bleeding, broken figure in the center while the guards stood rooted to the ground in wonder.

Sudha Chandran, a contemporary classical Indian dancer, was cut off in the prime of her dancing career – quite literally – when her right leg had to be amputated. After she had been fitted with an artificial leg, she went back to dancing and, incredibly, made it right back to the top again. When asked how she had managed it, she said quite simply, “You don’t need feet to dance.”

-Anthony de Mello, The Heart of the Enlightened

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