Leader Resource 1: The Youth and the Guru - A Play
Props needed: Hanging name tags with character names
A hand-held GPS (Global Positioning System) receiver, real or fake
Long-haired wig for Guru
First UU Youth
Second UU Youth
Third UU Youth
Fourth UU Youth
The entrance to a high mountain cave. As the play opens, the Narrator is alone on stage.
NARRATOR: Some UU youth are on a weekend retreat. Their leader, Ms. Digdeep, has divided them into groups of four and told them to spend the afternoon soul-searching. The four youth in one group have taken the instructions literally and headed off to look for souls, but they have gotten badly lost. Now they have climbed a mountain so they can look around and see where they are.
(The four UU youth appear. The fourth UU youth is carrying the GPS receiver.)
FIRST UU YOUTH: Hey, look at that!
SECOND UU YOUTH: I can't look at anything. I'm too hungry.
THIRD UU YOUTH: It's a cave! And there's a doorbell.
FOURTH UU YOUTH: Let's ring it. Maybe somebody's home and can tell us where we are.
FIRST UU YOUTH: I got it. (Reaches out to ring doorbell.)
SECOND UU YOUTH: I hear footsteps.
THIRD UU YOUTH: And where there are footsteps, there are soles. Maybe our sole-search is over.
FOURTH UU YOUTH: How dumb can you get?
THIRD UU YOUTH: That was a joke!
SECOND UU YOUTH: How can you joke when I'm so hungry?
NARRATOR: After another anxious moment, a long-haired Guru comes out of the cave.
GURU: Hey, guys, what are you doing up here?
FIRST UU YOUTH: We were on a soul search and then we got lost.
THIRD UU YOUTH: After somebody, and I won't say who, dropped the GPS into that stream back there.
SECOND UU YOUTH: It wasn't my fault! It was karma. And who cares? It doesn't much matter now that we're starving to death.
THIRD UU YOUTH: Do you have any food?
GURU: Food for your body or food for your soul?
FOURTH UU YOUTH: Let's start with our bodies.
GURU: How about peanut-butter sandwiches?
FIRST UU YOUTH: Wow! That's great!
SECOND UU YOUTH: (Wailing.) Noooo! I'm allergic!
GURU: Not to worry. For you I have avocado and tofu on whole wheat with Grey Poupon mustard.
SECOND UU YOUTH: Can I have ketchup instead?
GURU: Sure. You guys wash up while I get the food.
NARRATOR: The guru and the youth have eaten. By the way, don't worry about me. Nobody ever feeds narrators in plays like this. The youth have all flossed their teeth, at the insistence of the guru, and they are staying in the cave while they digest their food.
GURU: Thanks for staying, guys. I don't see many real, live people up here. I usually can talk only by e-mail.
THIRD UU YOUTH: You have a computer in your cave?
GURU: Of course. I'm a modern guru. I've got a Bluetooth connection, too.
FOURTH UU YOUTH: I guess we have to stay until we figure out how to leave.
FIRST UU YOUTH: Besides, the view up here is terrific. You can see forever.
SECOND UU YOUTH: Maybe you can help us with our soul searching.
GURU: You seem to need it. You are truly lost souls.
THIRD UU YOUTH: Yeah. Lost souls looking for souls.
FOURTH UU YOUTH: So, do you have any souls hidden away in that cave?
GURU: My friends, you don't have to climb a mountain and dig around in caves to find souls.
FIRST UU YOUTH: So where are they? We sure didn't see any on the trail back there.
SECOND UU YOUTH: Or in the stream where I was looking. All I saw was my reflection.
THIRD UU YOUTH: And then the GPS you dropped, gurgling away in the water, until you pulled it out.
FOURTH UU YOUTH: Never mind. (To Guru.) So tell us about souls, Most Esteemed Guru.
GURU: I thought you'd never ask. You don't need to climb mountains to find souls because your souls with a "u" are inside you as much as the soles with an "e" are on your feet.
FIRST UU YOUTH: (Scrunching eyes shut.) I can't see a soul in there even with my eyes closed.
SECOND UU YOUTH: And I can't feel a soul even when I stand real still.
GURU: You can't see the wind, either, but it is there. Souls can't be seen. But they are as hungry as bodies. If you feed them, you will know that they are there.
THIRD UU YOUTH: I just fed mine a half a peanut-butter sandwich.
FOURTH UU YOUTH: I hope my soul doesn't like raw carrots, 'cause I sure don't.
NARRATOR: The Guru sighs.
NARRATOR: It is obvious that the Guru has a lot of guru-ing to do
GURU: You can't feed souls with peanut butter and carrots. Food feeds the body. Spirituality feeds the soul.
FOURTH UU YOUTH: You mean like deep thoughts? And reading?
FIRST UU YOUTH: And music and art, and stuff?
SECOND UU YOUTH: And like nature? And meditation?
GURU: You are all right. Maybe you've been paying attention to Ms. Digdeep after all. You feed your soul by tapping the mystery.
THIRD UU YOUTH: Tapping the mystery? I don't think I understand.
GURU: The mystery is where the spiritual finds its happiness. Tap it, and that happiness will visit your soul.
FOURTH UU YOUTH: Wait a minute! Did you mention Ms. Digdeep? We didn't say anything about her, so how do you know her name?
GURU: Gurus know a lot. That's why we're paid the big bucks.
FIRST UU YOUTH: So what's in it for us if we feed our souls?
GURU: What's in it for you? Ah, this younger generation. Sometimes I fear for your souls. What's in it for you is you.
SECOND UU YOUTH: Huh?
GURU: Your soul is your deepest self. Without it you can't be you. You will just be an eating machine.
SECOND UU YOUTH: Sounds good to me. What's wrong with that?
THIRD UU YOUTH: So where is this soul? Up in my brain? Down by my appendix? Bouncing around on my heart?
GURU: It isn't any one place. The soul is everywhere and nowhere. It is through you and around you and in you. It is you.
FOURTH UU YOUTH: And what if we do feed it? What happens then?
GURU: A starving soul just sits there acting dead. A well-fed, thriving soul will center you. It will balance you. It will ground you. It will assist you. It will help you find purpose and meaning in life. Feed your soul, and it in turn will nurture you. It will feed your faith. It will fertilize your conscience, and your conscience will help you sort out right from wrong.
FIRST UU YOUTH: Oh-oh. Who needs a bigger conscience?
SECOND UU YOUTH: No way! All your conscience does is tell you "no"!
GURU: Listen closely to your soul, my friend, and sometimes it will tell you "yes." All UUs discover that. And there is the way to joy, when your conscience tells you "yes."
THIRD UU YOUTH: There you go again. How did you know we are UUs?
GURU: It says so on your name tags.
FOURTH GURU: You really are a wise one, Guru.
NARRATOR: The five talk on for an hour or so before it is time to sum things up.
FIRST UU YOUTH: So you can't see your soul?
GURU: Think of the soul as a mystery mirror. It helps you see yourself.
SECOND UU YOUTH: And you can't weigh your soul?
GURU: No, but your soul can help you bear the weight of the world.
THIRD UU YOUTH: And you can't touch your soul?
GURU: No, but your soul can help you touch others.
FOURTH UU YOUTH: So the soul isn't physical at all?
GURU: No, it is not. The soul is the name you give to the deepest part of you. The soul is a concept, an idea, a way of connecting beyond yourself to mystery and truth. You can't see it, but you can feel it and you can hear it.
FIRST UU YOUTH: Hear it? How can you hear your soul?
GURU: You listen to your conscience. "Conscience is the voice of the soul." That's a quote from the great philosopher Rousseau.
SECOND UU YOUTH: Can it tell us how to get back to Ms. Digdeep and the other kids?
GURU: No, but I can do that.
SECOND UU YOUTH: You can? How do we do it?
GURU: Use your GPS.
THIRD UU YOUTH: We already told you. We can't do that because somebody whose name I won't mention dropped it in a stream.
SECOND UU YOUTH: It wasn't my fault!
GURU: Who has it now?
FOURTH UU YOUTH: I do. It belongs to my father. He's going to be furious when he sees water dripping out of it.
GURU: Here. Let me have it. I'll be right back.
(The fourth UU youth hands the GPS receiver to the Guru, who walks off stage.)
NARRATOR: The Guru goes into the cave, leaving the youth to talk alone.
FIRST UU YOUTH: Is the Guru for real?
SECOND UU YOUTH: I don't know, but that sandwich sure was real. Good, too.
THIRD UU YOUTH: Wait until I tell my science teacher about souls.
FOURTH UU YOUTH: The other kids will think you're crazy.
THIRD UU YOUTH: That's okay. They already do.
FIRST UU YOUTH: Shhhhh. I hear the Guru coming.
NARRATOR: The Guru returns from the cave.
GURU: (Hands the GPS receiver to fourth UU youth.) Here. It's okay now.
SECOND UU YOUTH: It is? How did you do that? Did you work a miracle?
GURU: I dried it with my hair dryer.
THIRD UU YOUTH: You have a hair dryer in there?
GURU: Of course. How else could I keep this hair under control?
FOURTH UU YOUTH: Well, upon my soul!
NARRATOR: The four UU youth descend from the mountaintop. (The four youth walk off.) The Guru returns to the cave and computer. (The Guru walks off.) This play ends. (The Narrator walks off.)