The external world cannot give us anything of real value
Most of us depend on the external world for happiness. We believe that material success or a perfect relationship will make us happy. However, numerous spiritual teachers taught us that the external world is illusory by nature. They repeatedly informed us that nothing outside of us can satisfy our deepest needs.
If you are looking for happiness, know that it is already within you at this very moment. If you lost a diamond in your house, you would not search outside of your house. Lasting happiness can be found only when we look within. In fact, everything we need is with us right now. We do not need to gain anything from the external world. True reality lies in us. We are “perfect” just as we are. This is what many spiritual teachers have taught us over and over.
We are perfect as we are
We live in a world that is governed by the dynamics of Yin and Yang. We live in a world of duality. We live in a world of contrasting experiences. In this world, we cannot have Yang without having Yin, and therefore, we will continue to go through both wanted and unwanted experiences. But that’s what we came here to experience. We came to Earth to experience ups and downs. We came to experience imperfections. We did not come here to experience perfect conditions. We did not come here to be a perfect person with no flaw. We wanted to experience the world of Yin and Yang. We wanted to learn through trial and error. That’s why we came here.
Most of us dread problems and challenges that we face on a daily basis. However, those problems and challenges are precisely what we came here to experience.
Many enlightened teachers both in the East and the West have taught us that the external world that we see with our five senses is intrinsically illusory. What is real is hidden from view. As long as we are in this world of illusion, we will always have flaws and imperfections.
However, seen from a higher perspective, we are already perfect as we are. We already have everything that we need. Our lives are already perfect as they are. There is nothing that is lacking in us.
It is time for us to recognize our perfection and return to the natural state of happiness. It is time for us to reclaim our birthright and exercise our right to happiness. It is an illusion to think that we must work hard to attain happiness. Everything we need is already with us and within us right at this moment. We are already perfect as we are. The Universe is already perfect as it is. Everything is already working perfectly.
The following — which is based on a Korean folktale “Finding a son-in-law for the mouse” — is a story that imparts great wisdom to all of us. The story teaches that we already have everything we need and that we are already perfect as we are.
The Goddess of Mercy and the mouse couple
Once upon a time, there was a mouse couple who believed that mice are the weakest creatures in the world. They lived their whole lives in distress. They did not like to stay hidden in the dark. They did not like to be chased by other animals. They did not like to live in fear.
Therefore, when it came time for their daughter to marry, they wanted her to marry the world’s most powerful entity who would be able to protect her. They turned to the Goddess of Mercy and prayed to her ardently.
The Goddess of Mercy answered their prayers at length. “My children! You have prayed to me with sincerity,” the goddess said to them. “Go ahead and find the most powerful being in the world for yourselves. If you manage to find the right one, I shall grant your wish.”
Elated, the couple immediately embarked on a search for the most powerful being in the world. First, they went to the Sun and said, “Mr. Sun! Mr. Sun! We are looking for the most powerful being in the world. Are you the one?”
“No, I am afraid I am not,” The Sun replied. “When the Cloud comes in, I lose my power. If you are looking for the most powerful being, you should go to the Cloud.”
Following Sun’s suggestion, the couple went to the Cloud and asked, “Mr. Cloud! Mr. Cloud! Are you the most powerful being in the world?”
“No, I’m afraid not,” the Cloud replied cordially. “There is someone who is more powerful than me. It’s the Wind. He can move me in any direction he wants. In fact, I am always at the mercy of the Wind.”
So this time they went to the wind. “Mr. Wind! Mr. Wind! Are you the most powerful being in the world?” They asked. The Wind shook his head and said politely, “There is somebody who is more powerful than me. There is a statue of the Buddha named Eunjin-Mireuk. He is so strong that he does not budge an inch no matter how hard I try. Eunjin-Mireuk is indubitably the most powerful being in the world.”
Finally, the couple went off to Eunjin-Mireuk and asked him the same question. However, Eunjin-Mireuk also shook his head and said, “I am not the most powerful being in the world. You see, there are those who continue to gnaw at my feet. They are a group of mice that live underneath my feet. Because of them I will fall one of these days.”
Then, Eunjin-Mireuk realized that he was talking to mice who are just older than the ones gnawing at his feet. Smiling, Eunjin-Mireuk continued, “It is without a shred of doubt that you folks are more powerful than me. In my eyes, you are the most powerful beings in the world!”