"So," he continued, "you have earned the opportunity to take a test which will demonstrate your worthiness and readiness to receive the great mystic knowledge.
"Do you wish to take this test?" the wise master peered into their eyes.
"Yes," replied the first candidate.
"Yes, please," echoed the second candidate.
"Good," the master smiled.
"Each of you will be given a live chicken.
Take your chicken to a private place where you are completely alone, where
no one can see you, and wring the neck of the chicken. Then come back here to me with your
Most surprised by the nature of the test, but eager to qualify for knowledge of the Mysteries, both candidates cradled a chicken in their arms and left the master's house.
The first candidate wandered deep into the nearby forest and, in the shadow of a tall tree, dispatched the chicken.
The second candidate went far into another part of the forest where he thought he was completely alone. But, as he began to wring the chicken's neck, he suddenly sensed he was not alone. He looked around yet saw no one.
"I'll try again tonight, after dark," he thought as he walked back to his rented room with his chicken and waited.
When night fell, he took the chicken and stepped into his closet where he was sure no one could see. But, once again, just as he was about to kill the chicken, he sensed someone's presence. He felt he was being watched.
Desperate to pass the test and receive training in the Mysteries, he waited until the heavy darkness of midnight to try again. He took his chicken to the outskirts of town and slowly felt his way down to the bottom of an old mine shaft.
There, in total darkness, far from the townspeople, he once again grasped the neck of the chicken. Again he had to stop.
"I can't do this!" he cried. "I know someone is watching me, even here."
Realizing that he failed the test and would not be admitted into the Great Mysteries, he returned to the old master's house to say goodbye.
"I have failed, revered master," he said. "Wherever I went, I found I was not alone and that someone was always watching me. I went deep into the forest, into my closet at night, and even down an old mine shaft in the dead of night. Each time I tried to do what you asked, but I know for certain that I was not alone and that someone was watching me."
"You have passed the test, my young candidate," the master smiled. "You have found your Mystic Self. It is your Higher Self which is always with you and always watches you with its benevolent gaze. You have the ability to sense your Mystic Self. I accept you as a candidate for these Great Mysteries, my son."
The master embraced the stunned candidate. "I'm afraid your fellow candidate failed the test. He actually killed the poor chicken. He has no sensitivity to his Mystic Self. He has gone away. Perhaps at some later time he will be ready."
That's the story. Now the question for you is: Do you, can you, contact your Mystic Self?