We’re nearing the end of the year, at a time when we traditionally reconnect ourselves with gratitude, family and community. If you are practicing your morning ritual consistently, you know that reflecting on what you are most grateful for is a part of each day, year-round. If not, then now is an especially good time to enact the path and practice.
Eckhart Tolle begins his book, The Power of Now, with a parable about a homeless man who has been panhandling from the same spot for 30 years. One day, the homeless man has taken up his perch, sitting on a box alongside a road, the same place he’s set up shop for a third of a century. A stranger walks up and the homeless man reflexively reaches out with an upturned ball cap.
“Spare some change?” the homeless man asks.
“I have nothing to give you,” replies the stranger.
“What is that you’re sitting on?”
“Just an old box. I’ve been sitting on this for as long as I can remember.”
“Ever look inside?”
“No,” said the homeless man. “What’s the point?”
“Have a look inside.”
The beggar stood up and then pried open the box. To the homeless man’s astonishment the box is full of gold.
Tolle, in his fine book that describes a path toward becoming free of the damning self-created limitations that ego can trap us with, uses the parable to describe how each of us has a buried source of wealth within fingertip reach.
Tolle writes, “Those who have not found their true wealth, which is the radiant joy of being and the deep, unshakable peace that comes with it, are beggars, even if they have great material wealth. They are looking for scraps of pleasure or fulfillment, for validation, security, or love, while they have a treasure within that not only includes all of those things but is infinitely greater than anything the world can offer.”
As I wrote in my book, The Way of the SEAL, when you embark on the path to developing self-mastery, you are committing to truth, and then to developing wisdom, and then to leading with the heart. This is the Way of the SEAL and the Way of the Warrior. While truth is found through refinement of intellect, wisdom and heart are found through moral courage. Risking loss and failure is what forges moral courage—bringing the challenge to you allows you to meet your true self—metaphorically represented by Tolle’s box of gold.
In a world of escalating chaos and danger, the need for you and I to fulfill our role as Sheepdogs has never been more critical. As we witnessed this month, acts of terrorism now can occur without any form of chain of command. Freelancers are being radicalized through Facebook and Twitter, acting entirely on their own accord. Our response must be to act like true Warriors and start by establishing an individual set point—knowing who we are, what we stand for, risking loss, and connecting deeply with our “why”—that stream that flows through us, the soul or inner spirit. It’s the inner drumbeat, a voice that whispers to you in important moments when embraced within a fierce, relentless challenge.
You may be asking yourself right now, “Do I have an inner set point?” If so, then I encourage you to commit to this path, where you will discover the answer to the question and begin living the authentic life.
It’s akin to opening up a box of gold.
Hooyah! Mark Divine