What the 3 Little Pigs Have to do with Happiness and Success, part two (#978)

In part one of this tip (if you missed it, you can read it here), I shared the story of the three little pigs as a metaphor for how people innocently try to find their security and well-being in the world of form. At the end of the tip, I asked what I hope you found to be a provocative question:

How would your story change if you found out that the “big bad wolf” wasn’t real?

While most of us spend our time debating and attempting to implement the best strategy for keeping the wolf from our door, the question of whether or not the wolf really exists is rarely raised.

“Of course the wolf exists,” say the fearful thoughts about the body from inside their house of straw. “After all, disease is rampant in this increasingly toxic world. If we let down our guard for a moment, the wolf will get inside the temple walls of the body and eat us to death from the inside out!”

And indeed, that which is born will die – ashes to ashes and dust to dust.

“Of course the wolf exists,” say the fearful thoughts about dying lonely and alone from inside their house of sticks. “If I never meet the right man or woman or if they leave me or if I don’t have children or if my children abandon me, the wolf will eat away at my spirit and leave me to rot on my own!”

And indeed, people have been known to die lonely and alone, or surrounded by strangers who barely know them well enough to miss them when they’re gone.

“Of course the wolf exists,” say the fearful thoughts about poverty and lack from inside their house of bricks. “Everyone knows the wolf preys on the poor – it’s a wolf eats pig world out there, and without money you can never be safe!”

And indeed, the poor have oft been exploited by the wealthy, and access to resources like food and medical services are not yet available to all.

So why would I even suggest that “the wolf” might not be real?

For the same reason that I can say with some confidence that you are not a little pig.

When you begin to see that every frightening scenario you can imagine can only ever be experienced in your imagination, a simple truth emerges:

You do not need to be afraid.

This is not to say that you won’t ever be afraid, that you can’t be afraid, or that you shouldn’t be afraid. But when we let our lives be shaped by our fears, our taste for life begins to sour and the scope of our life begins to shrink.

In a world without a big, bad wolf, we are free to make mistakes and become prone to happy accidents. We can listen for the wisdom that emerges from underneath the noise of our fearful thinking, and we can connect with a loving spaciousness inside us that connects us like an invisible web to every living thing on the planet.

And when the taste of love gets onto our lips, and everything we kiss tastes of sweet cherries and even the bitterest pill becomes tainted by joy in the swallowing.

In The Inside-Out Revolution, I expressed what it’s like to be in the world when we recognize that happiness is our natural state and success is a game best played with the house’s money:

Without my having to do anything about it, the sun comes up in the morning and the stars twinkle at night. Before I’ve even gotten out of bed, the Earth has spun a third of the way round its axis and six billion people have done the best they know to do to increase their happiness and mitigate their suffering.And since I’m not in charge, I get to relax and enjoy the ride. Rather than cower in recognition of my own weakness and even helplessness in the face of forces far greater than my own, I’m set free. Free to appreciate my life when things are going my way and to handle them with grace when they’re not. Free to love and contribute to people when they behave the way I want them to and to continue to love and contribute to them when they don’t. Free to go out and create the life I want when things seem easy and free and to continue to move in that direction or even give up and go back to the drawing board when they seem hard.

And in the end, that seems to me to be the core of all our desires: the freedom to be able to enjoy our life and be a contribution to the whole in sickness and in health, [alone or with others], for richer or for poorer, as best we can for as long as we’re here. How things ultimately turn out isn’t up to us. It never was. But if we do our bit and play our part, it’s remarkable how far we can go.

With all my love,
Michael

 

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