There is a conman living within; he wears a dark hat and hides in the shadows. He’s the one that says “Hey, have I got a deal for you.” He brings out a small glowing ball, saying that it is the answer to life and places it under one of three shells on the table. One shell is marked past hurts, another modern religion, and finally intellectual pursuits.
I am so captured by the glimpse of the glowing ball: I stop what I am doing and watch intently as he begins to shuffle the shells. After all, it’s the answer to life!
“Modern religion” I say confidently, knowing that if we are talking about the answer to life then it has to be in modern religion. With a wry smile he lifts the shell to show a bare table beneath.
But everything and everyone around me told me that this was the right answer. So each time he asked me to stop and play I would choose modern religion… and each time the table would come up bare.
One day I noticed just how much time I had let pass playing this game, and couldn’t help but notice that indeed there was now a large stock pile of hurts to deal with.
So this time I went looking for him because I now knew ‘past hurts’ was obviously the key. He gladly took my time and shuffled once again, and once again the table was bare. Being wrong was another hurt, so I played again, over and over, oscillating between modern religion and past hurts, but the result was always the same empty table staring back at me.
Of course, it was so obvious now: my intelligence would get me out of trouble. So I studied and studied and studied anything I could get my hands on. I studied the game, I studied philosophy, I studied my past, all so that I could better understand, and one day finally win the answer I sought.
The next time we stopped I selected intellectual pursuits and waited confidently for my rightful reward… my heart sank as yet again emptiness stared back.
But I was not yet ready to stop because now I had three options, so I played and played, alternating each time, sure that the combination of the three would eventually deliver the prize… I spent months, years, and life-times playing this game. The more I played the more desperate I became, so the more I played.
It never crossed my mind that the man in the hat may not have the answer!
I knew there was more to life, so I played with all my passion: I played until I was broken, beaten and convinced that this game was all that there was to life, so to be closer to the game I started playing it with others. I got quite good at the game and would entertain others for hours, days, months, watching as they tried to guess for an answer I didn’t have.
One day a man named Serge Benhayon walked past my table. It was clear that this was a game he didn’t need to play.
Could it be possible that I didn’t need to play either? But I had both invested and lost so much that it felt impossible for me to step back from the table. He never asked me to leave the table, but I spoke with him from time to time and each time I could see from his eyes that there really was no need to play.
And so I started to step away, but each time the man in the hat showed me another glimpse of the ball and I would be right back, playing for my life… in reality, playing my life away.
Yet I had met someone who didn’t need to play and so knew it must be possible. Day by day I would go to the table but not stand quite as close as I had before. The further from the table I stood, the more I felt a glow within me.
The man in the hat would try to lure me back and I would still play from time to time, but I felt the glow within me would dull and would not return until I stepped away from the table.
One day, as I stepped back from the table, I saw millions of people around me, each at their own table, either playing or being played. I could see the centuries that this game had been played and the mess that surrounded all of these distracted people.
Then I really stepped back and I noticed the mess around my own table: a mess I had to clean up. This will take some time and there are days when the game is the perfect distraction from my task…
But my task is clear – clean up my mess and let others see that the glow is not hiding under a shell, but living within.
By Joel Levin