Short Stories: Fred: The master Glass-blower, and his secrets

spiritedStarred Page By spirited, 7th Feb 2016 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Short Stories

This is the unlikely tale of a master glass-blower, and his student.

The student wanted to learn how to become a glass blower too. The teacher knew he was ready to learn, but still, his patience had to be tested first, in the fires of love.

The story is about how our heart, our mind, and our spirit, or our soul, can all work together from love, for love, in our lives.

The unlikely looking would-be student: Normon

Normon was a largely built, and solid man who sought instruction in the art of glass blowing, from an expert glass-blowing craftsman, named Fred.

Fred had been blowing glass, and creating his works of art, for a period of over twenty years at least, but he had always kept his methods secret, and he worked in strictly private seclusion, and only ever with nobody else around.

Known to all the village for the sheer creativeness of his artwork, he never had taken on any apprentices before, that is, until Normon, approached him now.

There was something about Normon that the master could see about him. This something attracted the master to him, even as the master had been attracted to Normon because of the same factor in Fred.

For at least once in these twenty long years, Normon could see that Fred was now thinking hard about his simple request to help this great craftsman one day a week, to sort his valuable collection into pieces of similar composition, and arrangements, based on their utility, functionality, or possible pattern of usage.

Normon had not asked Fred to teach him his art, in a direct and forthright way, but really, he knew that he would learn just from his being in the presence of this great master. Normon knew this, and he wanted to feel some of the inspiration, and learn the secrets that until now were always only kept in the heart of this master of his craft.

The art of glass blowing was picked up slowly, as Normon gained confidence from watching, and as Fred allowed gradually the watching to take place for real.

At the start, he would keep his techniques still all to himself, and blow glass, only when Normon wasn't present.

On the days when Normon worked, the master would record his works into a large volume or record book, and endeavour to spend his time, to price his own priceless works.

Now, this was really all a part of Normon's instruction as well, as to learn the value of different pieces, was a very interesting way, to pick up as well as the outer value, the works true worth. Normon was learning about the hidden values inherent in each and every piece of the master's finished, and completed works.

This was always a tedious, and most difficult task, and Fred catapulted himself into it, only from the momentum gained from wanting to blow his glass, but not to divulge his twenty years of experience for nothing as yet, to a student in this manner, until he deemed that the student was ready.

The enthusiasm of blowing his glass had never left him, and always the joy of creation, burst forth emergent from his heart, as he contemplated, and visualised in his mind, his next piece of artwork.

The first year passed then, without any direct instruction being given to Normon, at all.

The real teaching of Normon begins

After a year of this casual arrangement, an order had come in for a simply designed glass dog, and Fred had decided to work, and blow this new piece of glasswork, in front of Normon.

Normon watched the master work, from the corner of his eye, noting the exquisitely perfected actions of the master, as he went about his work.

Normon kept working himself too, even as he watched Fred, not wanting Fred to think that he had stopped his own work, only to watch in awe of Fred's exquisitely consummated craftsmanship.

After many hours of rather tediously looking work, the work was finally completed, and the master noted its superb craftsmanship, saying to Normon, a true master is not so much proud, as he is humble of his own creation. The work is born from a fire of love of the master, for his creation, and truly this is the way that God also works.

Normon saw the truth in this, and he realised at once that this master was more than just a glass blower.

From asking questions in the village about Fred, Normon had found out that he was in fact, Fred Gautoma, a descendant of George, the old Zen master of the next village. George was his nickname, as his real name was too hard to pronounce, for most people.

It was actually Geautamoage Gautoma, known as the local village Buddha, and who had died just over sixty years ago, after a long life of telling his teaching stories, to all who would listen to him.

Fred had been the son of George's brother, and he had grown up listening to all of these stories. Eventually, he had realised the truth contained within them, and that the real purpose of telling them was to create a shift in the hearer that allowed for a jump to occur from reality to imagination, and then to once again grasp how to again reconnect these two once again.

In this way enlightenment, or Buddhahood could be achieved, because imagination shows the unreality of reality, and allows reality to be real, by imagining it as unreal. When this is done the true reality descends onto one as quickly as the imagination has opened the door for love to push it through to your heart, where it then resides, consciously now, for the rest of your life.

The teaching, and the learning of anything must always involve true love

Fred had understood that true teaching is true love, and connects to the heart of the student, and not only to his mind.

In the beginning, Fred had listened to all of these stories with only his mind.

Fred didn't really understand them as yet, and he had tried to unravel them with questions, asked from his mind. But finally, he had come to a remarkable conclusion. He had been wondering to himself, where are these questions coming from, or arising from, and who is the one actually asking them, anyway.

He had realised that he just didn't know.

But then he had a thought, what is it that doesn't know?

Fred realised, instantly that this not knowing mind, was his true mind.

Further to this, he now saw that his true mind cuts off the thinking that is arising constantly from the scattering of his other minds, to leave emptiness, the empty mind, his true mind, as the only mind then left.

The false mind, or the lower mind is a construction made by the lower bodies, when thinking first began. If you stop thinking, no mind is left, and all opposites disappear, good and bad, right and wrong, hot and cold, are only thoughts gathered, and processed in, and by the thinking mind.

Stop thinking, and there is only one thought left. It is no thought, and this paradox is only resolved by knowing, that no thought is when you are operating only from love.

At first he had questioned this realisation.

Is this correct, he had wondered to himself? Is all thinking coming from a lower mind, and so keeping you from the true "no mind" of the heart, and so from a life of full loving?

Yes, he had replied to himself. The mind thinks by thinking, and the heart loves by loving.

You never need to think to love, but you need love still, to think good thoughts. The thinking mind is only a part of the empty mind, or of the heart, and the heart is part of your higher self or soul.

The mind is divided into two, or more parts. The unconscious, the conscious, the thoughts, and the totality of all, and which is the empty mind or vessel, and which is the receptacle for love.

This tale ends with a twist in it

This is a tale of long ago, based in Fred's time, and Fred's real name was not really Fred, of course, and the tale tells us that life will not normally divulge its secrets openly, but they must be first earnt, and sought from a master, who is ready to divulge them to us, only as we ourselves are ready to receive them.

Fear is a sort of smokescreen, that stops you from penetrating to the heart of love. When you achieve this in-depth loving of love, you will know that you then also love God, yourself and all other souls, and all life. All are a part of love.

Fred here was a true lover of life, but he realised that love could be spoilt by the greed of wanting it now, or of wanting only head knowledge, but without the patience gained from allowing love to grow, and expand in your soul, at its own pace.

Fred had allowed Normon to wait for a year, and then, and only then, he had given him a glimpse into the master's true heart.

This is called the Master's gaze, or catching the inner look from the master's eye, connected to his heart, or the Master's darshan, in eastern traditions. This instant glimpse, and instantaneous connection, allows a transmission of love to take place between the master and his potential disciple.

If the novice feels this love and reacts with thankfulness, and is still grateful after this period of waiting, he or she will then be accepted as a student, and all the master needs to do then is to keep these fires of now ignited love, burning in the student until the ego is finally all consumed by them.

Consumed but not destroyed, as the ego is always with you, but operating correctly now, it will begin to welcome love, and fear no more.

By all means, Fred had at last passed on this tradition of transmission of love, to the student, when they are ready to receive it, even as he had received it from his friend, and Uncle, old George Gautoma, the vagrant Buddha beggar of Claudsgon.

Secrets are only ever secrets, when we are not ready to see their truths, but only want the secrets for themselves.

Who really was Fred, and who really was Normon?

These real people are the secret characters still hidden in this little story, and maybe now at the end of my tale, you will have discovered who they really represent, in your own life.

When you do, you too will have realised that the secrets never do exist in your outer mind, and also that there are no secrets being hidden in your true mind, of no mind either.

Your mind of "no mind," is the empty vessel of your heart, only ever waiting for a fuller love, to fill it, in order to be given back out again, to life, to God, and to all other souls, including of course, yourself.

"We are all born as empty vessels which can be shaped by moral values."

This is a quote from the American television presenter, Jerry Springer.

Now, this might well be true, but for the purposes of this story, it would be more apt to change it to this instead:

"We are all born as empty vessels, which can be best shaped by love, alone."

Photo credits:

All photos used in this article have been freely sourced from the free media site,


Closed Minds, Glass Blowing, Short Stories, Short Story, Teaching Stories, The Heart Of Love, Zen Master, Zen Story

Meet the author

author avatar spirited
I have been interested in the spiritual fields for over thirty five years now. My writing is mostly in this area.

Share this page

moderator Peter B. Giblett moderated this page.
If you have any complaints about this content, please let us know


author avatar Mariah
10th Feb 2016 (#)

Life is a learning curve from the day we are born where are parents our first teachers, we learn more about life as we mature, like Norman, when we are ready, we are all students in life and learn much from ourselves and about ourselves as we travel through life's journey.
Interesting story Spirited, enjoyed reading it.

Reply to this comment

author avatar spirited
10th Feb 2016 (#)

Thanks Mariah.

I had trouble writing this story too, because I had to check that I misspelt Norman as Normon, all the way through.


I did that for a reason.

We often read what we read without really notincing some things.

Sure we notice spelling mistaqkes like this, but we assume that a misspelling in a name like I used here is just a mistake too, that is if we even notice it.

I was trying to show that even our name does not define us unless we let it do so.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
10th Feb 2016 (#)

Very well said Spirited with a deep moral story behind it.

Nothing comes easy, on a silver platter - we have to prepare ourselves patiently to receive wisdom, have to pay the price through our yearning for it.

Ego is a stumbling block and we need an open mind to connect with a true master.

I recall one who was said to cure illness merely by using plants grown by him and mixing their essence. He used to say he would only pass on his knowledge to the one truly deserving but I heard he never did as he felt no one was really deserving of it - siva

Reply to this comment

author avatar spirited
10th Feb 2016 (#)

Thanks siva.

Tom Bowen, in Australia was a bit like that too.

He had his own method of healing, called now the "Bowen" method.

Bowen had no formal medical training. He described his method as being, "a gift from God".

Bowen did not document his technique either, nor did he pass all of it on to anyone.

Today, it is practiced, but only as someone else's interpretation of what he was doing.

Perhaps they are missing the point though, some gifts can not be packaged and handed on to someone else, willy-nilly like that.

Reply to this comment

author avatar brendamarie
19th Feb 2016 (#)

congrats on being author of the day long over due.

Reply to this comment

author avatar brendamarie
19th Feb 2016 (#)

something are not meant to be past on

Reply to this comment

author avatar spirited
19th Feb 2016 (#)

thanks brendamarie.

I didn't notice that myself. I don't seem to spend so much time here these days.

At one stage I was writing almost one article a day.

Reply to this comment

Add a comment
Can't login?