Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Rule Number 6

Love this little parable, which I saw in a Wayne Dyer book called 'The Power of Intention' some years ago. Came across it again and it's so true. Makes me laugh - a very good one to keep in mind whenever you get stressed out......

Two prime ministers were sitting in a room discussing affairs of state. Suddenly a man bursts in, apoplectic with fury, shouting and stamping and banging his fists on the desk. The resident prime minister admonishes him: "Peter," he says. "Kindly remember Rule Number 6," whereupon Peter is instantly restored to complete calm, apologises and withdraws.

The politicians return to their conversation, only to be interrupted yet again 20 minutes later by a hysterical woman gesticulating wildly, her hair flying. Again the intruder is greeted with the words: "Please remember Rule Number 6". Complete calm descends once more and she too withdraws with a bow and an apology.

When the scene is repeated for a third time, the visiting prime minister addresses his colleague: "My dear friend, I've seen many things in my life, but never anything as remarkable as this. Would you be willing to share with me the secret of Rule Number 6?"

"Very simple," responds the resident prime minister. "Rule Number 6 is don't take yourself so Goddamn seriously."

"Ah," says his visitor, "that is a fine rule." After a moment of pondering, he inquires, "And what may I ask are the other rules?"

"There arent any."


I'll explain why I found that story so good. It cuts through the ego; it cuts through the mind-stories we tell ourselves. Most the suffering of our life is actually in our heads ("this shouldn't have happened", "how dare she speak to me like that", "it shouldn't be raining today"). We take these mind-stories so seriously, so often. Many people worship their stories and get so caught up in them that they utterly mistake their interpretations and stories about life with life itself. This is the ego, I believe: identifying with the content of your mind, investing it with a sense of self and a solidity and realness it doesn't inherently possess. When you cease to cherish those thoughts and stories, when you stop taking yourself so You actually begin to taste freedom, and become more in touch with life than ever before. You realise that the thoughts you've been terrorising yourself with in your head are just thoughts, just clouds passing through the sky of mind.

When you do that you disidentity for the 'little self' and can access the 'True Self', whatever you want to call it. So, for some people - particularly those who are deeply engrossed in the 'little self' and the content of mind - this story can be a very helpful pointer. For others - perhaps those who already have a degree of freedom from mental bondage - it's not as appropriate. For others, who are completely unawakened and totally identified with mind, telling them to 'stop taking themselves so seriously' would get you a punch in the face, because they really believe they have every right to take themselves that seriously.

Ultimately, we might be the centre of our own universes, and we might often think that our problems and issues and stories have absolute importance. The reality is they only have relative importance - relative to us. And what are we but tiny sub-microscopic particles on a world that's smaller than a grain of sand in all the beaches in all the world. Whenever I remind myself of this vastness, my problems immediately shrink and I immediately jettison my self-importance and so slip out of the realm of 'little self' and into the province of the 'big Self'. As the little self we're actually totally insignificant because it's only an illusion of mind; as the true Self we're...everything.

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