Spiritual Insight from the Story of The Little Prince
Why do people and events that make us unhappy enter our lives? Why can’t life simply be smooth?
Probably no one goes through life without a few bumps. But for most of us, life involves a whole lot more than bumps.
There are times when we seem to get into life-threatening turbulence—times when just about everything seems to go wrong.
But are things really going wrong?
The Little Prince had his struggles with baobabs on his planet. They grew everywhere and had to be constantly uprooted before they got the chance to become large and threatened to break his asteroid into pieces. He accepted this about the nature of his existence, and he tended his home diligently. These are just the bumps that are intrinsic to life.
But then along came a different kind of plant, which at first looked like it could be a new kind of baobab but turned out to be a rose. The Little Prince was enchanted.
Except that in due course the rose brought all kinds of emotional stress into his days—to the point that, unable to handle her antics any longer, he left and was gone a year.
During his trip to various planets, the last of which was Earth, the Little Prince began to see his rose in a new light, and he began to understand why he had reacted to her so strongly.
Instead of trying to change her, he began to see the difficult way she behaved as a call for him to grow.
Rather than focusing on why she acted in the narcissistic manner she did, and how to get her to grow up, he started to look at himself and what’s required to form a close connection with someone.
If we want to be intimate with someone, we first have to learn to be intimate with ourselves, Michael Brown points out in his CD The Radiance of Intimacy.
We begin to get in touch with our own heart, which causes us to see everyone and everything in life differently, since we are seeing ourselves differently.
In the end, the Little Prince went back to his planet to live out a life of unconditional love alongside his rose, whom he had come to appreciate so very much. Notice, he didn’t go back to be unconditionally loved, or to try to love her unconditionally, but to be unconditional love. The distinction between the three is crucial.
I have found in my own life that what I’m saying here is the key to living life with a joy that isn’t undermined by what others do or by events that may arise out of the blue.
I love myself, am comfortable with myself, enjoy being who I am—no matter what.
When I used to say or do the wrong thing, I used to get upset with myself. Now, it doesn’t upset me. I note it, then go right on with barely a blink.
I no longer feel badly about myself, regardless of how I mess something up, because I’ve found that feeling badly about ourselves doesn’t change us. If anything, we get worse! Why? Because we’re focused on ourselves as a mess, which can only lead to more mess.
It’s kind of like a high wire walker. If they look down all the time, focusing on what danger they are in, trying hard not to fall, they will fall.
I’m talking about total self-acceptance, whereby we no longer kick ourselves for the things we say and do.
One of the most important keys ever handed to me when it comes to personal growth came from Michael Brown’s The Presence Process, which is now available in audio via instant download so that people can put it on their iPod, iPhone, or iPad, or on their computer, or burn it to a disc. This is especially helpful during each of the ten weeks of the Process, because we have broken the weeks down into individual downloads, allowing anyone doing the Process to hear that week's material again and again without having to search for it within the wider recording.
As I worked with this production, I was again struck by what Michael says about unconditional love and how this one insight has done so much for me. He likens unconditional love to a breath of fresh air in the depths of the ocean.
But how do you draw a breath of fresh air if you are deep beneath the surface?
Well, you have to put the air there yourself. You have to take it down into the ocean depths with you.
That’s how unconditional love works.
It isn’t a matter of being loved unconditionally, which is something we can’t orchestrate for ourselves in terms of receiving love from another.
Neither is it a matter of trying to love someone unconditionally.
Rather, unconditional love is something we have for ourselves, deep within us, as a state of being. All we have to do is allow it to flow—which is what all the bumps and turbulence of life are intended to invite.
Then, as we discover ourselves to be love, this spills over into every aspect of our life.
*Editor's note: Consciousness Rising appears several times each week. You can go more fully into what we are discussing with the author’s book Your Forgotten Self, along with the audio book Lessons in Loving—A Journey into the Heart, which explores the story of the Little Prince in its entirety from the perspective of Eckhart Tolle’s insights in The Power of Now and A New Earth, together with Michael Brown’s The Presence Process (also now in audio format for immediate download).