For several months I had been loving and teaching Lisa, but she was fighting me with considerable energy. She said she wanted to be happy, but with her behavior, she declared the truth—that she wanted to continue in the old and familiar patterns of fear, anger, and misery. It is not a small thing to leave your entire world behind and adopt a new life.
We Skyped, talked in person, spoke on the phone, texted, and emailed a great number of times. One day she wrote:
“I think I’m finally seeing what I’m doing. I want to change my whole life without pain, without effort, and without displeasing anybody. I want to grow and experience enormous rewards while I do nothing. All my life I’ve been taught that 2 + 2 = 5, which has screwed up every subsequent calculation or effort I’ve ever made. And although I SAY I want to learn what is true, I keep hanging on to 2 + 2 = 5, hoping it will finally make my life work. And I’ve resented you for not making it work. You keep telling me that I have to really change my beliefs before I can be happy. But why would you keep trying to teach me the truth—over and over, while I resist you like crazy—unless you really cared about me? I think it might finally be time to give up the old ways.”
We learned how the world works at a very young age. Most of us have a completely solidified world view by age four. That perspective usually doesn’t change for our entire life, which is tragic beyond words, because our beliefs are wrong. We believe that the world is painful, fear is normal, we’re inherently defective and have to work very hard to prove otherwise, people will accept us only if we do what they want, and more.
Because we truly believe these principles—how could we not, having been taught them by the people we completely trusted?—we keep trying harder and harder to implement them. But they are not true principles—they are lies we were taught unintentionally—so they cannot work.
Until we are taught the truth by people who love us, genuine happiness is impossible. Two plus two cannot equal five, no matter how hard we try to make it work.