A long while ago, a ruler named Canute was on the throne.
Just like many leaders or people with power, Canute was surrounded with sycophants, who showered him with praise. Whenever he walked into a room, compliments would begin to rain:
“You are the greatest person ever lived,” one would say.
“O, my king, another person as strong as you can never exist,” would claim another.
“Majesty, there’s nothing you can’t do,” one would say, smiling.
“O, noble Canute, you are the master of everything!” would sing another. “Nothing in this world can dare to disobey you!”
However, the king was a wise man, and was tired of hearing such foolish nonsense.
Someday, while having a walk at the beach with his advisors and generals, such compliments were raining again. Canute decided to teach them a lesson.
“So, you think I’m the greatest, the mightiest, the supreme, is that so?” he asked.
“O, majesty!” they shouted. “Another as strong and great as you never existed and never will!”
“So, you think everything will obey me, is that so?” asked Canute.
“Most certainly!” they replied. “World kneels before you, and carry your orders!”
“I see,” the king said. “Then bring me my throne, and let’s walk into the water.”
“As you wish, your highness!” They brought Canute’s throne, and put it on the sands.
“Bring it closer to the sea,” Canute ordered. “Right next to the water.” Then he sat on his throne, and began to examine the ocean. “I noticed the tidal is about to rise. Do you think it would stop if I order it to do so?”
Others were surprised, but they didn’t have the courage to say “no.” “Just order, o mighty king, it will obey you,” said one among them.
“Alright. Yo, Sea!” called Canute at the waters. “I order not to rise more! Waves, stop beating the shore! Don’t even try and touch my feet!”
He paused for a short while, and a light wave approached to lick his feet.
“How dare you!” Canute yelled. “Ocean, get back right away! I ordered you to stay back, and you have to obey me! Go back!”
As a response, another wave approached and covered the king’s feet. Just like always, tidal kept rising, more and more. Finally, it surrounded the throne, and wet not only king’s feet, but his robe and cloak as well. While others looked at the king with concern and shock, they were wondering if the king went mad.
“Alright, then, my friends,” said Canute, “apparently, I don’t have such great power as you believe I do. I hope you learned a lesson well today. I hope, there is only one King who is Almighty, that only He rules the seas, that only He grasps the oceans in His palms. I think you better keep your praises for Him.”
Royal advisors and generals lowered their heads in shame. According to the rumors, Canute took off his crown a short while after that incident, and never wore again.
In contrast with ancient or middle ages, perhaps we don’t see kings and queens everywhere, but those who think themselves “majestic” without needing a throne or crown are everywhere, right? Some luckier ones among them face some life lessons that teach them they are not that “majestic” or “mighty” after all. However, the truth is that many of them live spiritually ignorant lives, and they leave from this world as ignorant in the end.
Regardless to its form, power is always dazzling. This is a universal truth. Another truth is that very few of those power wielders have such a self-awareness as the king Canute. Today, regardless to the religion or nation, there are many so-called powerful people who claim to be religious or faithful without the ability of surrendering to God completely and humbly. Please ask yourselves:
Who can surrender himself to the hands of Real King with a complete belief and trust in Him?
This requires to take shelter in the Almighty, who is the Source of the continuum of time and the universe, with the conviction that you are, you have been, and you will be always under His protection, getting rid of all the worries and fears of existence. Those who claim to be kings or queens are the real unbelievers and cowards!
The truth is that one can’t claim to be a believer of God and say “this is mine” at the same time. These two attitudes are opposite literally. A real believer knows that he or she can own nothing in this life, and this knowledge roots from another that says “because nothing in this world is real!”
If we ever think we have so many houses, so and so much money, so and so luxury cars… We should think again! Only a decade ago, in 1999, Turkey was hit by a huge earthquake; many people went to bed at night with the materialistic assurance of wealth, and they woke up to see they were all gone! They thought to be secured by the insurance; but due to the cost of such a disaster, insurance companies went bankrupt, and they couldn’t pay for the damage. Moreover, this was the situation only for the survivors. Hundreds of thousands people died during that disaster. And today, all around the world, natural disasters come one after another so fast with no precedent.
Oh, about the money in our bank accounts? What do you think it is other than digital numbers now? When was the last time you exactly made a transaction using a real $100 US bill? We all use plastic cards that tell us how many “credits” we have in our accounts. And what do you think would it take to crush down all the digital monetary system? A very good hacker with the worst intention!
The things we believe to own don’t belong to us! We only buy the rights to use it, and it’s a value we determine among the population of mankind. In God’s eyes, I don’t think they have any value at all. When we feel so proud with a success, with some amount of money, some luxury car we drive, or a huge house we live in, we should remember Canute’s story, all those disasters, and the answer Diogenes, a person who lived in a wooden barrel, gave to demigod Alexander the Great: “Don’t cast your shadow on me, that’s all I want!” Because even that great emperor had nothing to give Diogenes.
The only thing that can never be taken from us is our soul! And that soul is the real connection between us and God. When one loses the connection with his own soul, loses his connection with Heavens, too, and regardless how strongly he claims to be a believer, he can’t help trying to find shelter in materialistic and worldly illusions. At that point, we begin to prove we are superior to the rest, using some expensive clothing, jewelries, some symbols or logos, even our physical appearance as evidence.
We do that, because deep down, we know the truth that without those materialistic values, we are nothing!