The greatest trick of the mind is to give you the idea of that which you are not, and to help you feel that you are already that.

Gurdjieff used to tell a parable…. There was a magician who was also a shepherd. He had thousands of sheep to look after and he was a very miserly man so he didn’t want many servants and he didn’t want many watchmen. He did not want to pay anybody and he did not want his sheep to be lost or taken by the wolves. But it was very difficult for him to take care of all the sheep alone. He was very rich and he had many sheep.

So he played a trick on the sheep. He hypnotised them — he was a magician. He hypnotised them and told every sheep, ‘You are not a sheep. Don’t be afraid.’ To some he said, ‘You are a lion.’ To some he said, ‘You are tigers.’ To some he even said, ‘You are men. Nobody is going to kill you. Don’t be afraid and don’t try to escape from here.’

The sheep started believing in his hypnosis. Every day he would butcher a few sheep but the others would think, ‘We are not sheep. He is butchering only sheep. We are lions, we are tigers, we are wolves, we are this and that…’ even that they were men. Some were even told that they were magicians — and they believed it. It was always some sheep which was to be butchered. They remained aloof, distant. They were not worried. And by and by they were all butchered.

Internal Wisdom

Sheeps are representing us.

Why We Follow Others:

We’re all socially conditioned from the time we’re born.

We’re trained to act, react and behave in a manner that is deemed ‘appropriate’, ‘right’ and ‘acceptable’. We’re conditioned by our family, our friends, our school, our community, our religion, our country, our ethnicity and the list goes on.

We’re shaped, we’re moulded and we’re re-moulded … again and again until we represent a format that everyone around us is happy with.

The result is a life full of ‘automatic’ moments. Moments where most of us will engage without being conscious – almost as if we are sleepwalking. Without even knowing it, we’ve been programmed – and our programming has taught us that it is far less painful and more acceptable to others when we don’t wake up.

We shut down our internal thought processes and limit access to our internal knowledge and wisdom.

Learning from the story The Greatest Trick Of The Mind: Wake Up For Your Internal Wisdom

Experience Learning

We’re taught to rely on community – and we’re taught that when we step outside the boundaries given to us we endanger the community as a whole.

We constantly seek feedback from those around us – questioning everything we want until we get a consensus view that tells us which direction is the right way to go.

But what if it’s wrong?

What if we are actually supposed to connect with our inner wisdom to give us our directions? What if we’ve been taught to suppress our reliance on ourselves because it means we can be more easily controlled by others? What if there’s another way to live?

“Do you remember who you were before the world told you who you should be?”

If we’re lucky, we have the opportunity to come across a quote like this one that wakes up our conscious thought and helps us to see things a little bit differently. Some of us will wake up because of a traumatic event – often a near-death experience – and realise that our social conditioning has been working against us from day one.

We follow other people because they seem to have something we don’t have. In reality, we’re following a façade that is handed to us. Unless you actually know the person, there is no way for you to know what their life is actually like.

Every single person living on earth is, at their very core, simply a person. They are flesh and blood and full of the ups and downs of life – just like everyone else.

Often, the only difference is that some people learn to follow their inner wisdom. They connect internally for answers instead of reaching externally for the quick fix to every problem.

The truth is this: until you learn to be guided by yourself, you will spend your days following others. When you follow someone else you will never know whether what you are following is real – or a façade created to guard against the world.

We need to determine for ourselves how much we’ve allowed others to decide issues such as what we do, where we live, with whom we live, and even how we’re treated. We must know that absolutely no one else truly knows and feels what we’re here to accomplish, so we must give ourselves permission to hear our inner guidance and ignore the pressure from others. Regardless of how absurd our inner calling might seem, it’s authentically ours and doesn’t have to make sense to anyone else. The willingness to listen and act on our inspiration, independent of the opinion of others, is imperative.


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