The Old Man’s Secret

A happy old man entered my life one day when I was young. He didn’t stay long. During his short visit he told me a secret. Whispering, he said,”Life is a dream.”

I heard him but I had no idea what he was trying to say. “What?”

“It’s not a metaphor. It’s what life is.”

“You aren’t making sense,” I said.

“That’s because you’re asleep. When you wake up, you will see.”

“When will I wake up?”

“When you die.”

“Then I guess I don’t want to wake up.” He laughed but I wasn’t trying to be funny.  So I said, “Why are you laughing?”

“Because I’ve woken up.”

“But you’re alive.”

“Oh yes, very much indeed. You see, my young friend, you need not experience death to wake up.”

“I’m confused.”

“You will die to life when you stop taking it so seriously, when you stop worrying about everything that happened or might happen. Since life is a dream, nothing that happens can hurt you, not even death. So, why spend so much of your life worrying?”

 “I still don’t get it.”

“You will, eventually. It’s inevitable. But why wait until you die? Enjoy life now while you live because you have so much to do and you’ll have so much fun doing it. You need to begin. The entire universe is waiting for you.”

“What is it I have to do?”

“You’ll see as soon as you wake up. You can’t discover it while you waste your time worrying about everything.”

“I don’t worry about everything.”

He laughed again. “You’ll see.” And then he left me to ponder the meaning of his words. I never saw him again. I wish I had asked him to stay. I should have opened my heart to him and his secret. I should have listened until I understood. But, I didn’t do any of that. I kept living my life in the way I had, oblivious to the Truth. Decades passed before I heard the words again. “Life is a dream.” This time, I made a different choice. I chose to listen. And I finally understood.

Now it is my turn to be an old man. I have come with a smile to tell you the secret. Please don’t be stubborn like I was. Don’t wait until you’re old. Or dead. If you learn this lesson while you’re young, you’ll enjoy life so much more. You’ll shed the worry, fear and anxiety that color your experience in ways you don’t even realize while you sleep. Wake up! Your vision will clear. Your life will be happier and more abundant. Don’t wait. Accept the secret now. It’s a gift, not from me but from that old man of my youth.