The Strange and Open Secret: You Already Have What You’re Looking For
Have you ever rushed around the house looking for your glasses only to realise after 5 minutes of searching that they’re on top of your head?
Or you’ve rummaged through all your bags and coat pockets looking for your mobile phone only to realise it’s in your back pocket?
Or you’ve looked high and low for your wedding ring and it’s still on your finger!
We can feel a bit foolish looking for something we already have, yet for many of us this is exactly how we live, day in, day out.
Only we aren’t looking for sunglasses, phones and wedding rings; we’re looking for happiness and peace. We’re looking for respect and freedom. We’re looking for safety and security.
The good news is, you already have what you’re looking for.
You don’t need to look any further. You already have everything you need inside you—as you—deep in the core of your being.
Yet for some reason, this knowledge remains elusive to so many. Fortunately, it is not a hidden secret restricted to a few enlightened gurus, successful entrepreneurs or political powerbrokers. Rather, it is a pearl of great and fundamental wisdom available to each and every one of us.
However, although readily available, this knowledge of Your Natural State of Being remains unused and overlooked by the mainstream majority. For this very reason, Rumi, the 13th Century Persian poet, called this special insight “The Open Secret,” and why Earl Nightingale, founder of modern-day personal development in the 1950s, called it “The Strange Secret.”
Our Global Problem is a Local Problem
To our detriment, failure to utlise this knowledge results in a paucity or scarcity mindset. We feel we don’t have enough of what we need. We feel isolated and under threat. Worse, we feel we need to fight for every scrap, that there isn’t enough of what we need to go around for everyone.
We then start to seek out what we feel is missing, assuming the more money we accumulate or the more power we acquire will give us everything we want.
We assume the void inside us can be filled with material things—property, cars, careers, travel, luxury goods. When these aren’t enough, we turn to non-material quick fixes—drugs, alcohol, gambling, relationships.
As individuals, this leads to addictive behaviours, with detrimental effects on our physical and mental health, our finances and relationships.
As communities, this is reflected as a breakdown of society—increased homelessness, drug addiction, violent crime, domestic violence, child abuse, suicide. For instance, 3 million people around the world died as a result of alcohol abuse in 2016 (World Health Organisation, The Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health 2018).
Globally, we see our problems manifest as environmental destruction—deforsestation, species extinction, famine, poverty, wars. So much so that 27% of the Amazon rainforest will be treeless by 2030 (World Wildlife Fund, 2018) and more than 90% of the world’s fish species are already fully exploited, over-exploited, or depleted (Fishing and Agriculture Organization, 2018).
The belief that we don’t already have what we need is destroying us en-mass. It’s destroying the planet, and it’s destroying our future.
Think Globally, Act Locally
The solution, therefore, is to change how we think and what we believe. To change our paucity mindset and replace it with an abundance mindset. To change our belief that we have nothing and must scrap for everything we need to a belief that we already have everything we’re looking for.
This is self-empowering, to know that you have the inner power to change your life and the world for the better.
But what is it that most people spend their whole lives looking for but already have?
Essentially, it can be pared down to the search for and pursuit of prosperity. We want to flourish and be successful in life. We want to strive through the day with that winning feeling, of being on top of the world. We want to thrive, not just survive.
In the end, that prosperous feeling we find so desirable comes down to five things:
Think of the first time you fell in love. You felt overwhelmingly happy and joyous, buoyant, as if your feet didn’t touch the ground. You felt safe and secure with that person. You felt totally and unconditionally accepted by them. You felt completely at peace with who you are, and you felt free, without inhibition, as if nothing else mattered but you and your partner.
Love is what makes us feel prosperous. That’s why I call these five states of being ‘The Five Pillars of Love’.
They are what we think are missing from birth, however, what we believe we need more of. The attainment of these pillars, in varying degrees, is the very motivation for doing what we do.
Every single one of us has sought, or is in the process of seeking, happiness, safety and acceptance. We have all striven for peace and freedom in our life. We have all done this because, in our forgetfulness, we believe we don’t have enough love in our hearts.
As the Persian mystic and poet, Rumi, said:
“There is a force within that gives you life—Seek that.
In your body there lies a priceless jewel—Seek that.
. . . If you are in search of the greatest treasure,
don’t look outside, look inside, and seek That.”
An important point to note is that the five states of joy, security, acceptance, peace, and freedom are not states of emotion: they are your Natural State of Being. They are who you really are, your essential human nature.
As such, you are all you need. You don’t have to ‘get’ anything because you already have everything—you. You don’t have to seek out anything other than what you already have.
You don’t have to seek out anything other than what you already are.
The Strange and Open Secret
So how do you unlock and access the joy, security, acceptance, peace, and freedom that is who you really are?
Let’s use the city of London as an analogy for Your Natural State of being. Think of London as a state of existence.
Assume you are currently living in a small, windowless apartment in the West End. The four walls that impede your view of the outer world make it easy to forget that you are still residing in the UK capital. All you see and experience are the four walls of your tiny room, and if you never left you would soon begin to yearn for the experience of what the state of London has to offer.
Despite no longer perceiving the sights, sounds and smells outside, you would feel a deep irritation, an uncomfortable itch, in your memory that there is something more to your life. Time goes by, and yet you find yourself continuing to sit in your little room unaware that you are already where you want to be, that you are already in the heart of the action.
You have fallen into the realm of forgetfulness, failing to remember that London is not something to ‘get’, that it is a state of existence you are already in, your current address.
To experience London in all its fullness, however, you must connect with it. This you do by first acknowledging and recognizing (remembering) where you already are (which is non-other than a leap of faith, to believe in something you can’t actually perceive at the present moment) and then, secondly, work to break down your walls and step outside.
The same is true with your Natural State of Being. It is the state of existence in which you already reside, your natural self, who you really are, and not a commodity you are required to ‘get’.
This is the strange and open secret:
You are already where you want to be.
Yet sometimes it isn’t easy to access the depths of joy, security, acceptance, peace, and freedom that resides within you. Sometimes it feels as if you are riding the highs and lows of life like a buoy riding the peaks and troughs of the ocean surface. Life is great one moment, but within seconds you come crashing back down. You’re up, then you’re down, and it doesn’t matter what you do, nothing seems to break the cycle.
What you need in these moments is to focus. Or more precisely, to focus your awareness.
Consider the figure below: The Peaceful Deep.
On the surface there exists waves, a metaphor for our daily life; we have moments of ups and downs, sometimes large, sometimes small, and sometimes moments of tranquil calm. The natural cycle of the ocean surface flows from calmness to storminess and back to calmness again.
The vast depths below the waves, however, are not subject to the ravages of the surface. Here it is eternally still, unaffected by the cycle of tranquility and chaos.
The deep of the sea is a metaphor for Your Natural State of Being. Even though the world may collapse around your ears, even though wild storms may thrash the surface of your life, there is still a Vast and Infinite Peace deep within. That is where the focus of your attention should be.
You now know the secret:
You already have what you’re looking for.
Imagine what could happen if everyone in the world knew this? Our paucity mindset would be replaced with an abundance mindset, and we would all start giving and helping others.
We would all start living with joy and happiness. We would all feel safe and accepted. We would all live with peace and freedom.
So share this knowledge with others and watch how your life and the world becomes better for it.