The Story of the Compass

by Bhaj Townsend

An old legend tells the tale of ancient deities, who, while assisting in the making of the world, needed to make a compass for people to use to guide them in their journey on earth.

Before then, there was no compass so people were reckless and casual about their lives. Without direction there was no commitment. As a result, there was a careless disregard of the land and even of themselves. The ancient deities were concerned about the possibility of man’s survival.

As you might imagine, there was much debate between the ancients about this compass and what it would look like, where it could be safeguarded.  The ancients did not want this mighty compass to be lost, stolen or squandered by human’s carelessness, greed, or misguidance. They spent a lot of time discussing its design and safekeeping.

These deities talked about where the compass would be pointed, how this tool could be accessed, even who could access it. 

The gods wanted this compass to be safely stored so the compass would be safely passed to and carried on from generation to generation. In their unfathomable wisdom they hid the compass in such an obvious place, a place it could always be found: in people’s heart.  

Through the ages the gods saw many people who did not find the compass, but needing direction, substituted other items at a huge cost to their navigational abilities.  This saddened the ancients as the compass was meant as a trusted guide.  Eventually some found the compass for themselves and passed it on as a treasured heirloom.  These families continued to use the compass, refining it through the generations.  

But what is this compass? Why have so few found it and even fewer passed it on to their future generations? The compass is the set of principles or values that people and families live by, nurture, and intentionally carry on from generation to generation with purpose and harmony. Because of its potentially mercurial nature it needs tuning, melding and safekeeping. 

Recently I met a gentleman who said that he and his family talk about their family’s values frequently. He mentioned that a few years ago he asked his then five-year-old daughter what courage was and she said: “doing that which you don’t want to do.” Today, at nine, not only she, but the entire family uses that definition for their family’s definition of courage which has become an important element in setting the true north to their compass.

The compass is an important tool for our everybody’s life. If you haven’t found yours yet, contact me to help you set yours or your family’s compass. It’s worth it.