Somewhere around the thirteenth century in Bangkok, Thailand, a massive statue of the Buddha was made of pure gold.
Not long after the statue was created, Burmese soldiers invaded Thailand. In a flash of insight, the Thai people covered the Golden Buddha in stucco and glass to hide its value and keep it safe from the invaders. Who would want a huge, heavy Buddha statue made of sand and dirt?
The invaders came and went, and the statue was spared. The few people who knew the true nature of the Golden Buddha eventually died. Then, in the 1960s when the statue was being moved from one temple to another, it was dropped. The plaster cracked, and a pure gold toe shined through Buddha’s dirty façade. The crack in the façade meant the jig was up. The Golden Buddha’s shiny, perfect nature was realized.
When that scary thing happened and you retreated into your head, your mind created a façade to keep you safe. Your mind told you the kind of person you were, and the way you needed to be from then forward to be accepted and safe. Because those strategies and the façade felt like safety, you looked toward and identified with them more and more, and you looked toward and identified with your true nature less and less. The psychological experience moving through you took center stage and your expansive, nonverbal essence fell to the background. You slowly but surely mistook fleeting thoughts, feelings, and behaviors for who-you-are.
You slowly but surely fell asleep to your true nature.
But nothing about who-you-are has ever changed. You’re as peaceful and connected to all of life as you’ve always been. You’ve simply gotten into the habit of listening to your mind a little too closely. We listen so closely to the narrator, our conditioned, habitual, machine-like mind, that it becomes all we hear.
— Excerpt adapted from Just a Thought: A No-Willpower Approach to End Self-Doubt and Make Peace with Your Mind. Available now.