A Tale of Angels
One time the angels gathered together and shared their objection with the Lord that man was bestowed with this title “top of the creation” meaning that humans are even higher on the ladder of creation than the angels.
The Lord said, “You yourself can make the decision about the label. One of you can volunteer to spend time on earth and experience life as a human being.” Many eager angels came forth but only one was chosen for the experience.
As soon as the angel reached earth he was enchanted by the world and its natural beauty. He began experiencing the tastes, sights, sounds and fragrances that abounded. Soon he noticed a gorgeous young woman in need of help to which he obliged. Shortly they became friends; friendship led to love which paved the way to marriage.
For the first few years the angel was very happy. But gradually the freshness, newness and charm began to wane. He had to face hard work to support his ever-growing family. His friends disappointed him by not keeping their word and some of his loved ones even died. As the burdens of life weighed him down he felt suffocated and depressed. His unhappiness led to constant complaints, depression and suffering. Finally, he cried out to the Lord for help, begging to be relieved from the burdens of what he thought would be an ideal life. God heard him and sent another angel to rescue him.
The beautiful sounds, sights and smells also enchanted the second angel. He too was going astray when he met up with the first angel who gave him a full account of his experiences. He said, “Brother, you don’t want to go there. We have to get out of here!” The awareness of the downward pull and worldly attachments gave them the strength to break through the worldly web of human life and soar back to God.
Upon their arrival the Lord inquired of their experience and asked about man’s title of “top of the creation”. The angels hung their heads in shame.
Then the Lord explained, “Even the angels cannot resist the temptations of the earth. The lure of the world is so strong that even they tend to go astray and forget me. Should I not then be proud of man, who in spite of going through these temptations, burdens and difficulties of life, remembers me and thinks of me sometimes? Does he not deserve to be honoured as top of the creation?”
This aloneness is worth more than a thousand lives.
This freedom is worth more than all the lands on earth.
To be one with the truth for just a moment,
Is worth more than the world and life itself.
Rumi, Thief of Sleep, as translated by Shahram Shiva