Daily Spiritual Insight from the Story of The Little Prince
Many of us long for things to change in our life. It’s this longing that the new year brings into focus as we make our resolutions.
The reality is that while we might long for change, we don’t actually want to change.
Let me be clear what I mean when I speak of changing ourselves. I’m speaking of allowing our core, our essence, our fundamental beingness to increasingly take charge of the life we are leading.
So we aren’t really talking about trying to change ourselves. We’re talking about allowing the “self” we imagine we are to be replaced by the person we really are, but that we lost touch with in early childhood.
A lot of movies pick up this theme. Watch the movie Chocolat, for instance. It’s one of my all-time favorites. You’ll see how, from the mother, to the daughter, to the people of the little French village, everyone begins to awaken to how they’ve been living a false life—an existence built as a defense against their true life.
We could mention dozens of such movies, ranging from A Good Year (another of my favorites) to Dan in Real Life—movies that are very different in style, and yet each with essentially the same message of how inauthentic most people’s lives are.
In each of these movies, people awaken to the fact they are going through the motions of an existence that in fact betrays who they really are.
In the story of the Little Prince, we’ve come to the end of chapter 11. The conceited man epitomizes the ego, which is the inauthentic sense of ourselves all of us carry around in our head until it at last gives up the ghost and our true self emerges.
This man wants to believe he’s the handsomest, best-dressed, richest, and most intelligent man on his planet, and he longs to be admired as such.
The Little Prince points out that he’s the only man on his planet, to which this egoic character responds: “Do me this favor. Admire me all the same.”
This is a picture of the incredible self-deception in which we tend to indugle. That’s because, in order to survive, the ego needs to live in an illusion of itself, instead of facing up to the reality of its situation.
I didn’t make any resolutions. I’ve never found they work for me for very long. Change—the emergence of our true being—doesn’t come from resolutions. “I’m going to do better,” no matter how firmly vowed, doesn’t cut it. That’s all just bolstering of the egoic, false self—a self-image that needs to die.
Who we really are comes to the fore only with authentic self-confrontation, which has to be relentless and consistent.
We begin to pay attention to some aspect of our life that isn’t true to who we are. Not to what others are doing that might affect us, but to how we handle this part of our life regardless of the actions of others.
We notice how we sell ourselves out—how, instead of remaining in our peaceful, joyous, loving center, we quickly betray our essence by heading full-tilt into a…