I’ve changed my mind about choices.
I used to think that I was 100% in charge of my own destiny. In fact I prided myself on my ability to seek out new opportunities, capitalise on my hard-won skills and forge a career for myself. The move from I.T. into personal development was a particularly smart one. It was a path I chose because I intuitively knew it would be good for me financially and, more importantly, emotionally and spiritually. My intuition was entirely correct and I have never been happier in my professional life. I made mention of the fact in last week’s blog on ‘needs’ that there is no finer way to make your living than by helping people, because each time you do so you help yourself a little bit too. It’s an understanding I worked hard for many years to reach.
But in fact I wasn’t doing any of it.
I now realise that my ‘self’ is purely a construct, an illusion created in hindsight from nothing but thought. All along that journey to self-discovery it was Mind that was guiding me, every step of the way, so as much as I am in awe of the whole process I can hardly take credit for it. That strong sense of pride I used to feel was only ego, only thought. It has been replaced by gratitude, and when I coach my clients now I am simply trying to wake them up to the fact that their lives are being guided in exactly the same way, whether they realise it consciously or not.
I have two young daughters so for a man in his early fifties I’m quite familiar with fairy tales, genies, princesses living in castles kissing frogs and all the rest. There is naturally a magical element in those stories we’ve all grown up with. The magic is a constant acknowledgement and reminder of the truth of our experience as spiritual beings in human form. But I’ve come to realise that many of these stories have some pretty fundamental limitations built into them.
Take the classic story of the genie released from captivity in his bottle or lamp and granting Aladdin or whoever three wishes. The story has a sting in its tale, usually ending up when the inevitable self-interest of the one doing the wishing is exposed and punished. I’m no expert but I think somewhere along the way a story intended to point us towards the magnificent abundance of life got turned into a moral lesson about the dangers of selfishness and greed. Here’s my re-telling of the genie story: Aladdin is walking along a beach when he finds a strange-looking bottle washed up on the shore. When he rubs it to remove a couple of barnacles the cork springs open and out jumps a magical genie.
“I am a magical genie. I have been trapped inside this bottle for an eternity. You have released me. I must now grant you three wishes.”
Aladdin, being well acquainted with the Three Principles guiding his life is a bit underwhelmed. He scoffs.
“Only three? Surely you can do better than that!? Besides, I know what you’re up to. You’re testing me to see whether I’m going to ask for riches. Well I’m not going to because Mind has my back and I have all the riches I could ever need.”
The genie is impressed and they walk off together down the beach, talking about philosophy and the nature of our experience. The end.
Okay it’s maybe not as exciting as the original, and I don’t think my daughters would approve if I rolled it out for their bedtime story, but at this stage of my life it just seems more relevant to me.
All through my personal ‘journey’ – if I can call it that – all I ever needed was to get out of my own way, to realise that in life there are multiple choices, many doors opening for us all the time, even if we sometimes can’t see them for the fog of our own thinking.
Too many of us are living in a fantasy where there are only two or three choices open to us in the wish department, and no genie on hand to grant them anyway. I felt that way once, but I won’t live in that fantasy anymore.
I’ve changed my mind about choices.