At first, everything is an adventure. There is so much to explore and see and listen to and do and make and learn and take apart. You reach and crawl and pull yourself up and toddle towards whatever catches your attention.
Sometimes you cry and sometimes you smile. Sometimes you are cross and sometimes you are not. Sometimes you are tired and you sleep and sometimes you are wide awake and ready for adventure. All of life is in you. The world is there for you. You do what is in front of you to do. It is your playground.
Then one day someone gives you a box. It is heavy and you try to put it down but it seems you cannot. “Carry this at all times,” says a voice. “It contains the secret to finding love.”
That sounds important. You try to look in the box but it won’t open.
Then another box is put in your hands and the voice says, “This box tells you how to succeed.”
You realise this secret is important too but that box won’t open either.
Then another box is thrust on you. “The secret to Happiness.” Obviously you want to be happy. Again, the box will not open.
All of a sudden, life seems very difficult and complicated. There is a way that you must be in order to have a good life. You realise it is vital you discover how to open these boxes and find out these secrets. Otherwise what will happen to you?
A final box is handed to you and a voice says,
“This has the secret of creating what you want.”
“Thank goodness,” you think, “I really need to know this right now”. And you try so hard to open that box but the lid is stuck fast.
Now, you are fully loaded with the boxes that are getting heavier by the minute. In the distance you see four huge doors and you know that behind the doors is Life. You hear people laughing and talking.
Everything sounds amazing and exciting. You want to be part of it. You try to walk over to the doors but the boxes weigh you down. You know that the secrets to unlocking the doors are in the boxes. You try but the boxes will not open. The laughter behind the doors sounds mocking.
You slump down. You are desperate. “Please help me someone” you cry. And a genie appears before you.
“I can help you,” he says. “But first you need to tell me what you know to be true.”
You are so confused and low and bewildered. For a long time it has seemed that you don’t know anything.
You look in the depths of your being, it seems there is only one thing you know. You say in a quiet voice, “I only know there must be something better than this.”
The genie smiles, waves his hand and immediately the scene looks different. You can make out shapes and blurred noise but nothing is distinct. There seems to be possibility in the air but nothing is clear.
The genie says, “Now, tell me what else you know to be true.”
“I know these secrets are heavy.”
He smiles. “Let me take them from you.”
You clutch the boxes tightly to your chest, thinking of Life behind those doors. ”I need them.”
“Then tell me something else that is true.”
There is nothing else. It is hopeless. You shake your head.
He prompts you, “Tell me – have you always had these boxes?”
You look down at one of the boxes. The label on the top says, ‘The Secret of Love’. You think back to a time, long ago, when it didn’t occur to you that you had to do anything to be loved. You just were. The awareness of this sinks deeper and, as it does, the box gets lighter in your hands. You realise you don’t need that secret, have never needed it. There is no secret. The box disappears, and you feel the profound love that has always been there, all around you.
“What else?” asks the genie.
You look at the next box, “The Secret of Success”. You remember a time when you just did what you did and were how you were. You realise the simple, unique, perfection of this. The lid of the box flies open and in front of you appears a display of the immeasurable diversity of nature. Rainbows, snowflakes, oak trees, daisies, clouds, sunshine, ants, elephants,… You smile. You get it.
You look at the box with the secret of happiness. You remember a time when all of life flowed through you, when you were sometimes sad and sometimes happy, sometimes scared and sometimes bold. You welcomed it all. You realise you are here to experience life so why resist any part of it? You know you don’t need that secret. The box turns into a light that bathes you and the ground beneath you feels beyond secure. You feel a profound sense of well-being as you look out towards the horizon with curiosity and peacefulness.
You look at the final box: The secret to creating anything you want.” You think back to when you were a small child playing with sand. “I used to create whatever I wanted,” you say to the genie. You look at the box expecting it to disappear but it remains as it is. You give it a shake but it stays stuck to your hands.
You frown and look at the genie. He shrugs his shoulders.
Then the insight rolls through you like thunder. You realise with a shock that you still create anything you want. That you always have and always will. That the boxes were heavy or light, there or not there according to what you thought about them.
As this insight deepens, the box turns into a canvas and paints and a brush appears in your hand. Slowly, smiling now, you dip the brush in a colour and, with the realisation of unlimited freedom, you paint a….