In light of the Paris events of late, I thought my friends might benefit from a short passage in my new book, The Oasis Within. Here it is.
The old man asked him, “Have you ever come across a telescope?”
“Yes, once, in the village, years ago. There was a man, a visitor, with a small telescope that you could hold in your hands, and he let me look through it. Things that were far away suddenly seemed close. It was like magic.”
The old man said, “When I was a lot younger than you, a kind neighbor gave me such a telescope as a gift. I imagine it was much like the one you held. I used it to look all around me. I remember I once stood in the middle of the village with it. I could see people in their houses, men at a distance, and animals far down the road. I discovered something important that day.”
“What was it?”
“When I peered through the small end like everyone does, it made things look bigger and closer. But then, I turned the telescope around in my hands. I have no idea what made me think to do that. I put it up to my eye again and gazed this time through the big end. I was so amazed! It made everything around me look much smaller and far away. Large men seemed little. Tall trees were shrunken into tiny images of themselves.” He smiled at the memory.
The boy said, “I never looked into the big end like that.”
“Well, we all have in our minds something like an inner telescope for our thoughts and feelings. When things seem bad, we automatically view them through the small end of our telescope, like most people do, and then those things look much bigger and closer and worse than they really are. That’s what makes us frightened or worried. But, just like a real telescope, we can turn it around, and look through the other end. That will make our problems appear smaller. It will reduce in our minds and hearts the perceived size of what we face. Then we can feel bigger and more powerful. Often, that’s just what we need.”
“Wow. That makes sense. It’s a new way of thinking.”
Yes it is. So, when you’re afraid or worried or sad, think of your inner telescope. Are you looking through the end that almost everyone uses? Are you making things seem bigger and more imposing than they really are? You have the power to turn the telescope around and gaze through the other end. You’ll then see the difficulties as smaller, and you’ll feel better, and stronger.”
The boy was impressed, and pleased. “I like this idea. It’s a good image. And really, it’s not something I’ve ever thought about.”
The old man smiled again. “Here’s the ultimate secret, my boy. Once you’ve mastered this trick with your mind and understand the power of perspective, once you’ve grown enough in wisdom and knowledge of the world, you can put your inner telescope down and simply look at things as they are. And you’ll know. Most things in reality are no bigger than we can handle. And that’s important to remember.”