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THE CASTLE ON THE CLIFF

Once upon a time, a man and a woman began to build a castle on a cliff, the highest cliff in the land, so high that it seemed to lie somewhere between heaven and earth.
      "When our home is complete," the man said to the woman, "we will marry and live therein until the end of our days."
      Part of this castle's foundation extended off the cliff, where it was supported by two pillars firmly wedged into the earth below. Onlookers remarked how dangerous such a location was for such a superlative home as this castle promised to be.
      "Why don't you build your castle in a safer place," one person said, "like in the city."
      "The bigger something is, the harder it falls, you know," commented another. "Especially when it is so high up, and part of it built on nothing but air."
      To these and other like remarks the couple always made the same response: "The most precious things in life are often the most precarious. Nowhere else but on this cliff, unsafe though it may be, does there exist such an amazing view."
      And the vista truly was out of this world, boasting not one but three visual wonders. Straight ahead as far as the eye could see spanned the crystal blue sea, especially beautiful to behold at dawn, with the morning light glistening off its waters, and at the evening hour, when the sun's lambent rays played over the horizon. To the right at night danced the dazzling lights of the city, and to the left, the rolling mountains and luxurious plains, sprinkled with colorful flowers, ignited the day. Yet though the view was magnificent, the castle looked to be even more spectacular.
      Each day the couple worked, and the days became weeks, and the weeks gave way to months. Before long a year had passed, and still their home was far from finished. And all the while the tides grew ever higher, sometimes reaching the castle's very foundation. Yet the higher the tides rose, the higher climbed the castle.
      And when came the storms and the waves, there the couple would stand, arms entwined with the townspeople below, gazing up at their beautiful castle; and together all would hope and pray for a new day. But though no one ever said so much, all knew that the big storm, the one that would bring down the home, would one day come.
      At long last the hour arrived when the castle was complete. The couple held a festival in the grand ballroom. Everyone in the town participated. Afterwards all were invited into the castle's garden, where the couple exchanged their wedding vows. It was truly a happy time for everyone, especially the newlyweds.
      That night the couple walked through each and every level of their home. It was theirs, and it was magical. They studied every curve and every line. They remembered all the work that had been involved, and they remarked how much fun it had been all the while. They were an old couple now - years had passed since the first stone had been placed - and they thought of all the years, all the storms and all the prayers, and over their faces spread smiles of the sweetest serenity. And finally reaching the uppermost room of their castle, which they called the honeymoon suite, they consummated their vows, their bodies uniting in the sacred act of love. And they fell asleep in each other's arms.
      Later that night it happened. A savage storm with its cruel winds and bitter rain beat against the castle, and the sultry sea rose and rose, and swallowed the castle with its ravaging waves, crushing the edifice to pieces and sweeping the stones away, leaving nothing behind.
      In the town there was a public mourning. The townspeople grieved that the couple had known only one day to enjoy their home. But many remembered that, though the man and woman never had the opportunity to live in the castle, they did spend their entire lives within its majestic walls, working, laughing, and playing together. Though nothing but a memory remained, the castle and all that went into its creation had not been in vain.
      Just then - the sun had not yet risen above the horizon and so the heavenly bodies were still visible overhead - at that moment twinkled two stars. No one had ever seen these stars before. They were new stars, bigger and brighter than the rest, and they were close together, so close they almost looked like one. The home that the couple had built had reached so high that the topmost room, the honeymoon suite, pierced the sky and entered heaven. So though the castle had crumbled to nothingness, no harm had come to the couple, who while sleeping were deposited safely in the clouds, where to this day they dwell, shining Love's light, blessing lovers everywhere for evermore.

The body is a vehicle for the realization of your spirit through love. Though the body is subject to decrepitude and death, the love that shines from within does not perish with physical demise but endures forever. Use this unique opportunity given by human birth to realize the divine love that you are.

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