Is it possible for one man to build two houses at the same time? Normally we would say; “no!” but this actually happened to a master builder.
He found a beautiful place near the forest and started to build the foundation. While he was digging in the soil and constructing the foundation, he thought about his former wife; “Why did she leave me? I deserved a better wife than her!” he thought, as he was constructing the foundation.
Then came the day when he started to construct the walls. He used his hammer masterfully as he hammered the nails through the timber. While he was hammering, he thought about his son; “Why did he choose to study music? He does not respect me! He should have been a carpenter, like his father!”
After a few weeks he started painting inside the house, the living room was painted white and the bedroom was painted light blue. While he was painting, he thought about his loneliness; “Why does everybody hate me? Is it because I am angry and stubborn? I miss my family.”
After five weeks, as summer approached autumn, the house was completely finished, what a splendid builder! He sat down in the grass and looked towards the little, yellow house he had created. He was looking forward to living in it, sleeping in his own bed and drinking coffee in the morning, whilst looking out the kitchen window to see the deer and the foxes walking around the property.
What happened next? He started having nightmares. Vivid nightmares about a second, dark house, very similar to the one he built. He woke up inside the nightmare, again and again, he walked around in the house, confused and frightened, as he asked himself; “Why are all the walls painted black? Why does it smell like the timber is rotten? Where did the mire come from? Did I really build my house on a mire? Is it sinking? Help! my house is sinking!”
The days and weeks went by. Christmas was just a few days away, but the builder did not look forward to it. He was haunted by his nightmares and had not slept well since he built his house. He was always tired, and it was difficult to build other houses too, it seemed like his focus and energy was drowned in a heavy fog. One Saturday morning, he did not feel like getting up at all, even though he loved to watch the animals roaming around the house, whilst eating breakfast. He cried and felt old and lonely. He forced himself out of the bed at noon, stumbled around his new, beautiful house and tried to understand his recurring nightmares. He fell asleep in front of the fireplace, still wearing his pyjamas, as he was warmed by the dancing flames that were radiating from the firewood. This time he did not enter the nightmare, but he dreamt that the animals he enjoyed to look at were inside his house, and that his deceased mother was riding one of the deer’s, in and out of all the rooms of the house.
The builder spoke to his mother as tears fell from his red, tired eyes; “Mother! I am broken…, I do not understand my life, and I am chased by a nightmare!” His mother climbed down from the deer and gave him the most heart-warming hug one can give, that only a mother can give to her distressed child. He cried and she comforted him. Then she told him something he had overlooked. She explained that he had built two houses instead of one. It had happened because of his thoughts about himself and his family. Every time he created something, a dark version of it was also created. Darkened thoughts created a dark foundation, and he was hammering black nails into rotten timber, every time he was trapped in his dark moods.
“What? but, that is horrible! How can I make it disappear?” he erupted. “You must invite the ones that you are thinking about and speak from your heart”, his mother said smilingly, as she walked straight through the wall and hitched a ride with an owl.
Although he had been given some good advice from his mother, it was not easy to contact his former wife and his estranged son. He hesitated for a few days, and the nightmare continued. Finally, he called them and invited them to a Christmas dinner. Both of them were reluctant, but the builder took his mother’s advice and spoke from his heart, he explained to them that he was not angry anymore.
Three days later, the doorbell rang. He opened the door and immediately started crying. He hugged them and spoke from his heart. It was never their fault. He had not been a good husband, always grumpy and jealous, and he had no right to deny his son the opportunity to study music, in fact, he was proud of it. It turned out be a very pleasant dinner. The master builder was easily touched, tears of love and appreciation came as they talked about the time they all lived together. They talked for hours. They laughed together, hugged some more, shared memories and healed some misunderstandings.
The nightmares disappeared after that. There was no dark house anymore, only one, beautiful house, and it seemed even more beautiful than before. The builder invited his family often, they shared many meals and happy moments. By next summer, he was living with his wife again, as all the misunderstandings had been healed. When he was in his seventies and his body was a little too fragile to build houses, he started to teach people about the houses of their hearts, thoughts and feelings. He invited people from the village to enjoy his teachings.
The teachings of the old master builder were called; `The builder of the houses of fear and love. `