22nd July 2022
Have you ever wondered who you really are? What your real potential is? What and who your best self is?
Before you continue reading, please take a pen and a piece of paper and ask yourself, if possible, say it out loud:
Who am I?
Whatever comes into your mind write it down without labeling or judging it.
Once you have done it, please continue reading.
„The greatest gift is to give people your enlightenment, to share it. It has to be the greatest.“
Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha)
Recently, I had a client, let’s call her Susan (name changed), who was struggling in her career. Until recently she was a successful executive within an international organisation and loved her job. Due the company’s restructuring and many changes in leadership positions, she had lost her job. Now she was having a hard time to find a new job she thought adequate and interesting. Additionally, Susan and her husband were going through a rough time in their marriage.
Susan was desperate. She told me that she felt useless and worthless. After all. who was she, now being nearly 47, having no job, no kids and her marriage at stake?
I asked her, “Well, who would you be if you left out everything external?” She looked at me tears in her eyes and said, “nothing.”
Immediately I had to think of a story that I told her and which I want to tell you now.
I like to tell a little story now and then.
Once upon a time ...
… we are writing the year 1767. We are in a Buddhist temple in Ayutthaya, Siam (today’s Thailand). This temple hosts a beautiful image of the Buddha. The statue is 3 meters tall, weighs 5.5 tons (5,500 kilograms) and is made of pure gold.
It is the time of the Burmese-Siamese War and the monks of the temple have just gotten notice that it is only a matter of time that the Burmese will invade Ayutthaya.
The monks want to protect the Buddha for reasons that transcend money. They decide to camouflage the wonderful Buddha statue to protect its identity and prevent it from getting stolen. They cover it with a layer of 12 inches of stucco, paint it and inlay it with bits of coloured glass. Now, it still looks pretty but worthless.
Sadly, all monks are slaughtered by the Burmese invaders during their attack. The encased Buddha image is not only concealed from the invaders and remains safely in the ruins of Ayutthaya; its true nature is hidden altogether inside its mask for many generations to come.
Let’s skip a few years ahead to the next century. It is 1801 when our Buddha starts a long journey. Bangkok has been established as the new capital of the kingdom by King Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke (Rama I). He also has given order to bring all Buddha statues from ruined temples in the country to Bangkok, including our Buddha.
The next King, Rama III (1824-51), promotes our Buddha in disguise further and installs it as the principal Buddha image in the main building of the Wat Chotanaram Temple in Bangkok. Here our Buddha is going to stay for the next eighty years or so; until the temple falls into disrepair and is eventually deserted around 1931.
Our still encased Buddha statue is moved to a temporary shelter. Two centuries after it had been covered in plaster, it is thought to be worth very little and is going to be kept under a simple tin roof for the next 20 years.
We have arrived in 1955 and the journey of our travelling Buddha comes to an end. Due to the expansion work of the Port of Bangkok the statue is going to be moved yet again to a new temple in Bangkok. When it is lifted from its pedestal by a crane the ropes break, and the statue falls into the mud. The outer shell cracks and in order to cause not even more damage to the statue, it is covered up and left for the next morning.
According to temple lore, during that night a temple monk dreams that the statue is divinely inspired. He goes to inspect the Buddha image with a torch. He sees a glint of yellow through a crack in the plaster. This is the myth how it is discovered that the statue was made of pure gold.
It is the world’s largest solid-gold Buddha statue also called the Golden Buddha. Today it is estimated to be worth 250 million dollars. You can visit it in the Temple of Wat Traimit in Bangkok, Thailand.
And now here is my little secret, a very simple secret as well: You are the Golden Buddha.
You are unique and very precious to the world.
Yet, you are most probably hiding your golden sparkle, your true potential, your light underneath a layer of 12 inches of stucco. You very well paint this layer of stucco and maybe even inlay it with bits of coloured glass so that you still look pretty. It is exactly this camouflage that robs you of your energy and it is completely worthless to the world.
And I am going to tell you another secret: over the course of some coaching sessions, Susan and I came to the decision that we are not our job, not our social status, not our worldly belongings, we are not even our name. All this has been added on to us from the outside and mostly this only conceals our true nature; it sometimes even weighs heavy on us and drags us down.
Break through your mask and let your light shine and therewith you allow others to let their light shine as well. This light is something so precious, like the Golden Buddha, it transcends any worldly treasures.
You have everything already inside you.
So much potential that you might not even be able to fathom it. The combination of your talents and strengths, and the way you use them are unique. Follow your heart, go with your intuition, and do what you can do best. You have something special you are very good at, and no one can do it your way. This means it is about time you uncover your true self and be it to be of service to the world.
This way, you can be who you really are. You do not need to hide under a mask. Try it and you will see that you are going to be happier, healthier, less stressed, and you will experience effortless success.
You don’t know who you are?
Imagine spending a weekend with very close and good friends you have known since you were a child. Your friends create a safe and wonderful environment for you where you feel secure and protected. Who would you be, how would you behave, what would you do?
You still are not sure who you are?
Go back in time and remember your childhood. If someone had asked you then who you are, what would your answer have been? If someone had asked you or your parents, or legal guardian, what you are good at, what would your and their answers have been?
Believe in your inner beauty, your potential, your talents and your worth to this world. Go and find yourself. Find your own way and walk your path. Do not fall into despair if it takes some time. Like the golden Buddha you sometimes need to go on a journey first of all and this might take a bit longer. Allow yourself the time and just start believing into yourself again. Every day try to accept yourself a little bit more the way you are.
Attention: This is not a guideline for becoming an arrogant narcissist. It is all about finding your Golden Buddha inside of you again. It is about uncovering and unfolding your full potential. It is about becoming content and balanced. It is about being happy and healthy. It is about being your best self. It is about becoming able to dance in the storm.
Next, please ask yourself once more while saying it out loud:
Who am I?
Write down again whatever comes into your mind without labelling or judging it.
Once you have done so, take another look at what you had written down the first round and compare it with your recent answers.
Now, go out into the world and share your 'enlightenment', share your best you with the people out there. They are waiting for you.
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