The person we become is sculpted by culturally defined principles and we gradually develop a self-image that may not reflect what we really are or want to be.
Many years ago in Thailand, there was a temple with a huge Golden Buddha. Word came to this village that an army was about to invade, so they covered the Golden Buddha with mud and concrete so it looked like a stone Buddha and the invading army would perceive no value in it.
Sure enough, the army rolled in and passed by the stone Buddha and had no reason to plunder it. For many years, the army occupied the village with this temple and Buddha. And there came a time where nobody remembered that the Buddha was golden.
And then one day, a young monk was meditating at the base of the Buddha, and a little piece of stone had chipped off revealing the gold underneath. The monk excitedly told the other monks and they started hammering at the statue until they unearthed the Golden Buddha.
The metaphor is that we are like that Buddha. Each of us is golden by nature. We are born golden, born knowing we are worthy and connected to our bliss. But then we grow up and we’re told to go to school, how to dress, how to act, what we ‘should’ do in every situation, so
then by the age of about six or seven we are pushed into predictable outcomes and predictable patterns of behaviour. There is no creativity.
The world that we think is real is just an illusion. The reality is that we are all full of potential.
One day you might have a wake-up call. If you’re not paying attention it might come in the form of a sledgehammer. If you’re paying attention it might be more like a feather duster.
When everything is wrong in your life – maybe you are overweight, in a relationship you don’t want, a job you hate, have addictions – that’s the sort of time you are most ripe for a sledgehammer blow from the universe.
My sledgehammer blow came three years ago in the form of a car crash. I was knocked out and as I came round I had a vision and could see the golden person under the stone exterior. The bang on my head cracked my armour.
I’m the hero of my own life now, not the victim of my life.
How about you? Once you see a little gold, are you willing to keep chipping off the stone casing that surrounds you?
The unfortunate thing is that many people live a whole lifetime without uncasing their golden Buddha.