I use stories to engage people — a lot. I love stories and this is one of my favorite ones. I’ve posted this before… Perhaps you’ve heard it?
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-=[ The Secret of Life ]=-
“There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in its hands. You seek problems because you need their gifts.”
— Richard David Bach (1936–)
The Great Spirit called together all the Gods to discuss a most important matter. She had decided to create human beings but knew that they would not be able to cope with The Secret of Life and so needed to keep it from them. She gave the Gods the task of finding a place to hide The Secret of Life.
The Gods met, discussed, argued, and debated but after several weeks, they could still not think of a place to hide The Secret of Life.
Eventually, one of the Gods came up with a solution that met with the approval of most of the Gods. He suggested that they hide The Secret of Life deep in the roots of the highest mountain because humans would never be able to find it there.
The Gods were pleased with themselves and were about to go and tell The Great Spirit their solution to the problem but one God spoke up. He said that although it would take them a long time to find The Secret of Life, they would find it. Eventually, they would find the highest mountain and climb it. Eventually, they would build a drilling machine and dig into the roots of the highest mountain. It might take them thousands of years, but they will find it.
The Gods were now in despair. The Great Spirit was going to create human beings very soon and they hadn’t found a solution to her problem.
After some time one of the Gods concluded that if it were not the roots of the highest mountain then why couldn’t it be the depths of the deepest oceans.
Once again, the Gods were happy and about to go to The Great Spirit. But once again, the same God stopped them. Eventually, humans would find the deepest ocean. Eventually, they would create submarines. Eventually, they would put the drilling machine on to the front of the submarine. Eventually, they would find The Secret of Life. It might take them thousands of years, but they would find it.
By now, the Gods were really worried. The Great Spirit was about to create human beings the very next day and they had still not solved the problem for her.
And as often the case, it is during those quiet moments of reflection that the answer emerges, for if we stay quiet long enough The Littlest God can be heard. She is always there, sitting quietly in the background, saying nothing, taking everything in. When She finally does say something, it is always worth listening to.
And this is what The Littlest God suggested they tell The Great Spirit: to hide The Secret of Life inside human beings because they would never even think to look there.
Isn’t it true in life that often the answer to a problem we’re struggling with is already there inside of us? Still, we spend so much time focusing on others or external events and situations. We go on about how we have little or no time, nor the resources, to consider other possibilities. All this time spent is time you coul have spent being happy.
I once had a teacher describe the psychological concept of transference as an inner map we use to help us navigate reality. We create this map as a response to our internal and external reality and we use it to navigate our world; but it is not the same map others carry around inside their heads.
Transference can serve good purposes, but sometimes our maps are outdated — created as a response to a reality that doesn’t exist any longer. We also confuse our map for reality. In addition, however good your map, the map is never the territory itself. We fall into the trap of believing that our internal world and the external world are identical, when in fact they do not match at all.
The Secret of Life found within all of us, if we can see through our transferences and in that way release our potential — and maybe even help others release theirs.