The Accidental King
By: Tom Wilk Sept 2019
NOTE: This fable is written in 2nd person form, attempting to place YOU directly into the story. Please interpret each action of the main character from your own personal point-of-view. Consider each decision, action or question as your own “I Statement”.
Let’s just say it’s a beautiful Fall day and you have the opportunity for a nice hike up Tiger Mountain. You enjoy the alone time of the drive, and the traffic is less than expected. Your mood is happy and hopeful for a fewpleasant hours on a wonderful Pacific NW trail.
As you arrive at the trailhead, you take a moment to view the large trail-map, etched in wood, worn and weathered by many seasons. As you selectyour course for the day, you say hello to a couple who are also starting their hike. After a few minutes of simple introductions and chit-chat, youdiscover you all share interest in the Nook Trail and agree that givenyou’re all going the same way, the 3 of you will hike together.
The hike is refreshing. The added company and companionship are pleasant. It’s simply 3 individuals walking a common trail.
At the junction with the Talus Rock Loop Trail, you all take a break andhappen to meet another party. These 4 hikers are also looking to use to the Nook Trail as a path towards the Vista at the end of West Tiger 3. So, yourparty has now grown to 7. You are now a pack of 7 self-reliant hikers all sharing the same trail with a Tiger Mountain vista as a common goal.
Another half mile or so up the trail, and suddenly trouble strikes. One of the other hikers, an older gentleman, falls hard and is in obvious pain. His companion, who you learn is his wife of 35 years, is in a panic. The injured hiker clearly needs medical assistance, and fast.
From your years in the military, you are trained in Combat First Aid. You also understand the basics of Wilderness Medical Care. Of course, at this moment, no one else in the hiking group knows this about you. As you rapidly survey the overall scene, you realize you’re maintaining your cool and calm, while everyone else is losing theirs (a sure sign your King-energy is coming forward). This maybe a life-or-death medical issue. These other lone-wolf hikers suddenly need a leader, a King, so good decisions and the power of the pack can be used to save this injured man.
In this moment, events have conspired to make you an Accidental King.
You have true power -the capacity or ability to direct (or at least influence) the behaviors and well-being of others. You have the power to change the course of events. At this moment, by virtue of your Warrior-Strength,Magician-Skills, and Lover-Care for others, you are needed as King of this small domain. Your Wisdom, Decision-Making, and Service to others is immediately needed to influence the outcome of this situation.
Will you step forward, to allow your King-Within to accept the responsibilities of leadership? Heavy is the head that wears the crown, as responsibility and accountability are weighty burdens.
Will you shy away and remain unhelpful, but unburdened?
Let us Pause here -for unlike real life, where decisions and actions are often required too quickly, within a story we have the luxury of stepping-back for a moment. We can pause for questions and contemplation.
Consider this idea (from “The Road Less Traveled”):“…there is a vacuum of competence in the world which must be filled. In a world crying out in desperate need for competence, an extraordinarily competent and loving person can no more withhold his competence than such a person could deny food to a hungry infant. Spiritually evolved people, by virtue of their discipline, mastery, and love, are people of extraordinary competence, and in their competence, they are called to serve the world, and in their love, they must answer the call.”
And consider this question:
Can you, as a Loving, Caring, Strong, Competent Man, accept responsibility, in service to others and in hope of better decisions and outcomes, despite the burdens?
To answer “YES”, is to tap into your King-energy and call for your King-Within and accept the burdens of accountability and the suffering of possible failure.
In the shadows of the King stand his internal enemies -the Tyrant and the Weakling.
The Tyrant wants to use his power for personal gain, with little concern for others. To be King fulfills him with the Ego-strokes he lusts for. He is neither responsible nor accountable, so he is unburdened by consequences.He is simply power-hungry. His intentions are purely self-serving, often inflicting harm upon others.
The Weakling is afraid of the burden and the suffering that comes from accepting responsibility. The crown is too heavy. The problems too difficult. The burden too great. The risks too high. He is disconnected from his power, often expecting others to take care of him, decide for him,protect him from failure and suffering.
A Good King navigates in the space between the Tyrant and the Weakling keeping each far away from his decision-making. A Good King is a man ofwisdom, who understands that decisions affecting lives must always bemade. When such decisions are made by Tyrants or Weaklings,consequences are dire, and outcomes are bad.
The Good King reminds himself that with great power comes great responsibility, and often great suffering. He accepts that he is merely a temporary vessel of power.
Consider this idea (from “The Road Less Traveled”):“The best decision-makers are those who are willing to suffer the most over their decisions but still retain their ability to be decisive.”
Let us continue our story…
Back on the trail. You step-forward and announce to the pack that you have skills and willingness to assist. No one objects. All your energy is welcome and needed -Warrior-strength, Magician-skills, Lover-care, and King-wisdom in decision-making. Everyone realizes you are the most powerful and best equipped King for ruling this domain. It is appropriate that you lead and rule this pack. You step-into the role of King -accepting both power and responsibility.
Medically, you are dealing with a compound leg fracture, which has induced shock, and you learn from his wife the injured man has a history of heart problems. As you anticipated, this situation is serious and life-threatening.
You begin caring for the injured man. As others ask: “What can we do?”,you organize them into a team and assign functions and tasks. You gently calm away the panic of the wife, assuring her you will make this situation better. Your assessments and decision-making are rapid, but always with consideration for the well-being of both the injured man, and the entire pack. Your orders and commands are respectful but clear. You take control and dictate your wishes in an appropriately forceful and blunt manner.You will not accept challenges or criticism, only well-founded ideas andobedient actions. You are a Good King. You are decisive and steady, calm yet urgent, competent and confident while dealing privately with your self-doubts.
Hours later, back down the trail and at the trailhead, the injured man isloaded into a waiting ambulance. His condition is stabilized, thanks to your efforts and the teamwork of the group. His life is no longer threatened.
As the episode comes to a close, you are surrounded by your group of hikers, each offering “Thank You” and appreciation for your efforts. More than once you hear the comment “If it wasn’t for you, and your quick, steady decision-making, this could have turned out so much worse.” A bit farther off,you overhear someone claim you are a hero, as they recap the story. You know this is exaggeration.
For now, you are simply exhausted -physically but especially mentally and emotionally. This could have gone so badly, so quickly. Unexpected tears flow as you re-consider the possible outcomes. “That man could have died. At one point he came far too close. Thankfully our efforts worked.”
You also remind yourself of a previous lesson learned: “Knowing what to do is one thing… getting it done well is yet another”.
As you drive home, back to your ordinary domain, you reflect upon your role as Accidental King on the trail. You accept that your power, within that group, was only needed on a temporary basis. You carry no lust for endless power over others. Nor do you shy away from exerting power when needed. Within you is a Good King -of wisdom, strength, caring,skill, and maturity.
As you exit the freeway, and navigate the side roads towards home, an urgent thought builds within you, then releases as a shout:
“The King is Dead! Long Live the King”! A-Ho!
Arriving back at home, you park and gather yourself for a moment before going inside. You catch a view of yourself in the rear-view mirror, so you pause to reflect. You quickly realize your King-Within is not dead, but ever present. He understands that decisions affecting lives must always be made. Most of those decisions are personal and the life effected is your own. Your King-Within has the power to command your Warrior,Magician, and Lover. To abdicate or renounce the throne is a poor decision.The responsibility can be a heavy burden. The suffering may, at times, be great.
You quickly glance over your shoulders to the back seat, first Left, then Right. You double-check to make sure the Tyrant and the Weakling are strapped-down -silent and sleeping, exactly where they belong. A Good King navigates in the space between the Tyrant and the Weakling keeping each far away from his decision-making.
Your adventure is complete. It is now time to rest.
References & Sources:
This story draws from various references related to the KING energy and archetype within every mature man. Core concepts were drawn from the work of Robert Moore, in his book: King, Warrior, Magician, Lover. In several cases, the interpretation of Moore’s work served as a resource. An article, written by James Mathison and available by web, was especially helpful. It can be found by a web search for “The King Within (Masculine Archetypes Part 4).” Also helpful were a series of articles posted on the web site Mature Masculine.Org. I suggest you start at this page: http://maturemasculine.org/king/mature_king . The quotes from “The Road Less Traveled” by M. Scott Peck can be found in Section 1, under the chapter “Renunciation and Rebirth”.