With some variations we have all witnessed the following. We open the desk drawer easily but when we go to close it the drawer won’t go all the way back in. We pull the drawer back out and push it again and it still won’t go in all the way. Out, in, out, in, all to no avail until anger overcomes us and we yank the drawer out and then slam it back into place! Either something inside the drawer loudly snaps and leaving us wondering what we just broke or the drawer will refuse to ever open again! As Dr. Phil would say, “So how’s that working out for you?” How many times must our freedom be overcome by our emotions until we wake up?
In line with this the Sufi mystic Rumi asks, “Why do you stay in prison when the door is so wide open?” It is possible for us to be our own jailer, imprisoning ourselves through incorrect and unfruitful ways of interacting with life. Mainlanders have a curious way of imposing themselves upon things. Additional observations on Mainland culture tells us that silence must always be filled by pouring noise into it, that unless we are busily doing something we are being lazy and that life is not about being but about getting ahead. Hawaiian youth on the other hand are taught that nature is to be listened to, aligned with and cared for. Hawaiians have a sense that we are not here to dominate either nature or people but that we are guests in the garden of the Divine tasked with bringing out the best from our surroundings and others.
One way to awaken to the fact that the prison door is actually open is by developing the habit of reflecting upon questions like “Why do we make bad choices?”, “What is the history behind our choosing?”, “Why do we go about choosing in the manner that we do?” We keep ourselves imprisoned by remaining unconscious about ourselves, our motives and by even being blind to the patterns of our past history. How many times must we jam the desk drawer back in before we catch onto the fact that this is not the best option available to us?
To be alive means to be continually growing not just physically but intellectually as well! Just because we graduate from school does not mean that we either know everything or that there is no more to learn! So long as we breathe there is more to know! To be incurious is to not be interested in growing and even a way of saying to Life, “This far and no more!” Well what if happiness is just one footstep outside of our self-imposed prison cell? What if serenity is simply one step deeper into Life’s mystery?