Volume 4, Issue 23
Once, in a faraway, fertile and pleasant land, there lived a king who loved his children. He had a great many wives and so he had an even greater profusion of children. He loved them so much of course he spoiled every one, remembering them by name and knowing each as an individual. Each child grew up with the expectation of getting whatever they want, which caused them some disappointments as there are some things money can’t buy. But for the most part the kingdom was happy until Po came along.
Po’s mother was the king’s favorite and unfortunately, she died in childbirth. The king was disconsolate for a long time but never took it out on the boy. In fact, he lavished more upon Po than any child had ever gotten. Po was a beautiful and brave boy and devoted to his father. The king gave him whatever he wanted.
The problem was that Po quickly tired of each new thing and then wanted something else. Po began to wear a frown or bitter expression a lot of the time because he was bored, and disappointed that each new thing seemed like the whole world until he got it, at which point his attitude seemed to be saying, is that all there is to it?
The king was hurt by this because his world seemed to have shrunken down to a tunnel of making Po happy, as if that could let his lost wife know how much he would always love her. Now the kingdom was threatened not so much by a little boy who seemed never happy, but worse, by a king who never seemed happy any more either.
When Po was 12 he was already living in his own palace of his own design, with many sport chariots pulled by the most expensive imported horses. The king allowed him and his friends to carouse and eat opium and do whatever they wanted, which often inflicted accidental injury on innocent bystanders who could not complain without fear of death, as no one knew how far the king would go in his monomania for making Po lastingly happy, kings being kings.
When the king asked him what he wanted for his 13th birthday, which held kind of a special significance, Po declared that he wanted his own harem. The king was shocked but before he could recover, Po announced a second desire, that he would not marry the harem. This blew the king away entirely as kings always married their harem — it was tradition going back as far as time.
Nevertheless, the king once again did not hesitate to give Po whatever he wanted, and so Po got his harem. At least the land was civilized enough so that no one was forced into the harem, and Po had the innate decency to invite and not compel membership. Given that he would one day be king — this much was obvious — and he was handsome in a kind of sad way, there were many more applicants than Po accepted. In fact, news travelled and soon caravans of eager candidates were brought from faraway lands in all directions. And for a while, this new diversion seemed to do the trick, as there were new girls (sometimes grownup women) let into the harem every week, and newness was the only thing that had ever kept a smile on Po’s face.
But eventually, even this faded and Po reverted to his lifelong state of disappointment, unable to enjoy or even see the beauty around him. He treated his harem with indifference and hurt their feelings. The land resonated with unhappiness, it trickled down. One day the king realized how far he had let this go and was suddenly appalled. He had to do something different. His favorite wife’s son was having a bad life, the very last thing in the world he wanted to happen. It was up to him to find the solution.
One day, Po was kidnapped by a group of masked riders wearing clothing nobody had ever seen before. Armies were sent out looking for a very long time but he was never found. Po couldn’t believe what was happening. He was brave and fought but was outnumbered. He was treated roughly but never seriously hurt. That was because these were the most trusted of the king’s spies, brought back from foreign service on the most important mission of their lives.
Po’s existence was miserable. He missed good food, his harem, his father and friends, who now all seemed dearer to him than ever before. He missed having fun. He was imprisoned in a harsh dungeon and visited with indignities best left to the imagination. This life was truly horrible — he could not believe it was possible for this to be happening to him. He planned escape, revenge, and dreamed of return to his normal life. Oh, if he could only have his normal life back!
One day there was an attack and although Po could not see the action he knew there was fighting going on from the screams and crashing sounds. He thought he smelled fire and suddenly pictured himself burned alive. His mind nearly cracked.
But he was somehow rescued and saw that it was someone he knew, a member of the king’s guard, and then he saw dozens of guardsmen he knew, and realized that he was saved. Po hugged each of his rescuers and sincerely thanked them in a way that amazed the soldiers. Po had never been seen acting that way in his entire life.
When Po saw the King, disheveled from the fight (it was all an act of course), Po ran to him and hugged him in a way that he hadn’t in years. Tears flooded out of their eyes as they came together, really seeing each other as if for the first time.
Po was rarely unhappy again. His wives knew they were individually treasured when he offered to marry all of them in one big ceremony. People came from adjoining kingdoms and it was the biggest wedding in the world.
As he settled into his old/new life, Po was often seen simply walking or sitting in his garden, or out in the woods, as if in heaven with the flowers and birds and ground animals. Then one day he expressed an earnest desire to learn from his father how to be a good king. The king was grateful to God for such a request, and of course he granted it. Everyone in the land was grateful to God that the land was again a happy one, each subject appreciating whatever he or she had, and aspiring to work hard enough and be good enough to perhaps be even happier — but that is another story.
Po is you and I. The king is the Universe. When you or I are not able to enjoy what we have because of some backfired trick of the mind, the Universe does what it has to do to make us able to appreciate again.
A word to the wise: continually cultivating a grateful attitude for what you have will eliminate the need for the Universe to provide even more painful lessons.
Best to all,
Follow my regular blog contribution at Jack Myers Media Network: "In Terms of ROI.It is in the free section of the website at Bill Harvey at MediaBizBloggers.com.
You Are The Universe: Imagine That is now available. Read an excerpt and watch my videos where I talk about the book.