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Saturday, November 14, 2009


I'm often reminded of the story, "The Emperor's New Clothes," called more bluntly in Japanese, "The Naked Emperor."

You know the story, I'm sure: Some con men convince the Emperor that they can make him a superior suit of clothes, and then hand him nothing, telling him how good it will look on him. He doesn't want to look stupid, so pretends he sees the clothes, "dons" them, and insists that everyone admire him. Finally, while he's parading through the town, one child--naturally, it would be a child--points out that he's naked.

A silly story, perhaps; or is it?

Here's a quote from the Jesuit priest Anthony de Mello: "There is only one cause of unhappiness: the false beliefs you have in your head, beliefs so widespread, so commonly held, that it never occurs to you to question them."

If this sounds like Buddhism to you, it's because Fr. De Mello lived in India, and followed his own advice, questioning "the beliefs in his head" and seeing truth in all religions.

So, about you: What is sitting there in your head, making you behave certain ways, say certain things, think along certain lines--and all the while preventing you from seeing that the Emperor is indeed naked? What assumptions, "widespread, commonly held," have you never even thought of questioning, that may be standing between you and happiness?

Find them. Deal with them.

You'll be happier.

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