Well Story

Daisy Heisler

I was a founding member of the Dharma Centre, a meditation centre in Kinmount, Ontario. In 1966 We bought four hundred acres of beautiful rolling land with forest and a small lake, two log cabins needing a lot of repair, and a stone well that was dry with dead porcupines in it. The well was cleaned and the log houses were restored to a livable rustic fashion without modern conveniences. I was chosen to live in the main house with my four children, one just a tiny baby in cloth diapers, and my partner, Jim Bell. Besides looking after my own family, my duties were to look after hundreds of people, and Buddhist monks from Tibet and Thailand, coming and going, making sure they were all fed and looked after.

The well remained dry. Our only water source for household use, cooking and washing, was a sparkling, pretty little stream that came out of the ground like a tiny fountain between some rocks on our land. To get water meant a long walk hauling the water in jugs or pails far down the road, over a large hill. One of the meditators suggested a solution to water storage as he watched me work in the kitchen. He was able to get oak whiskey barrels from the brewery he worked in. So the barrels arrived and were filled with water from the stream. Life seemed easier with two large oak barrels of water with taps sitting in my kitchen.

Then came the weekend a few weeks later that a lot of people arrived and I cooked meals for them as usual, then they left. I thought it had been a successful weekend until, during the next week, my teacher, Ananda Bodhi, told me that many people had become ill after the weekend, and I was blamed. I was told that I had probably cooked their meals with an improper frame of mind, causing illness. I knew this was not true and water tests did reveal mold in the barrels. Then I did become desperate.

I went to the dry well and talked to it. I asked for water. My family slept in the top floor rooms of the cabin and I was in the habit of looking out the window to view the countryside first thing in the morning. The next morning I went to the window as usual, looked out to a beautiful sunshiny morning and saw the well filled with water.

I ran out to the well filled with so much water that it overflowed, covering the ground for several feet around. I could not get close. I thanked the well for the water. I talked to the well about too much water. I told the well I wanted the water to be about a foot below the top of the stone wall and not all over the ground.

The very next morning I looked out the window again and saw that the ground was dry around the well. I ran out to the well and sure enough, the ground was dry around the well and the water level was exactly as I had requested. But I looked at the water and it looked a little dirty with dry leaves and bits of dirt floating on top. I thanked the well for giving me water to the measurement that I had requested, and for the dry ground around the well. Then I asked the well for clean water.

The very next morning I looked out the window at the well and it looked good. I ran out to the well and it was sparkling clean, to the level I had requested and the ground around was dry. I thanked the well and started to use the water that day. It tasted really good and clean. The level of water maintained itself as I had requested.

We did send a bottle of water for testing and the test came back clean. Then I found I could get water but not everyone could get water. Some people were not allowed to take water from the well. Their pail would not turn over and fill with water no matter how they tried. Only certain people could get the water. I heard that when I left the meditation centre, the well went dry.

So, there is the true story just as it happened.

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