🎧 Bedtime Story Podcast #42
Jimmy And The Being
No-one seemed to like Jimmy. He felt completely alienated from his peers, his family, his former friends. He would sit, walk and act, with a burdensome feeling that no-one seemed to like him. What could be wrong with him? He did not harm others, he was not a vicious or rude young person. Why was it that no-one seemed to be interested in him?
He could not understand it. He felt as if he and the others could never share a common wavelength. Sometimes he felt that perhaps he was an alien, because the people around him seemed to often talk so much about things that had no meaning for him. Everyone seemed to be living in their own imaginations, and believing that their imaginations were true. Jimmy was unable to do this, apart from in one area of his life, which he never felt he could talk about. The only area he really suffered from his imagination, was over the story that no-one seemed to like him.
He was walking along one day, feeling quite troubled by all of this. What was really the point of being here if no-one liked him, if he had no companions, no-one to share anything with? He felt he had been rejected by his own kind, and he was feeling low.
He was walking along, and saw someone sitting underneath a tree in the distance. He wasn’t sure if it was a man or a woman, but it looked as if the sun was shining out of their entire body. This being looked absolutely radiant, luminous, and Jimmy felt himself drawn towards this absolute stranger. He sat down at a safe distance from this being, close enough to speak, but far enough to not disturb, and to quickly get away if he had to.
This creature had its hood up, so Jimmy could only see long hair beneath its hood, and a slight smile radiating through the space in between. The light that seemed to be coming out of this being was making its clothes look like they were shimmering with light.
The being looked up, revealing its eyes to Jimmy. The eyes, quite simply, looked like galaxies. Jimmy still had no idea whether this was a man or woman, and he didn’t need to know anymore.
“What’s the trouble?” asked the hooded being, sensing the disturbance in Jimmy.
Jimmy was quiet. What if this glorious being rejected him as well? What if as soon as he started speaking, or “complaining” as his parents would say, then it would just be one more person that didn’t like him?
But, the being already knew what was wrong with Jimmy. The being had gone beyond verbal communication many years ago. It had, however, a faint recollection of what it was like to be in Jimmy’s shoes.
“Your trouble is only based on one belief,” said the being. “The belief is: that anyone should like you.”
Jimmy agreed. Surely at least some people should like him. If all people seemed to not get on with him, then surely he was where the fault lied.
“…And you also believe,” continued the being, “that if people like you, or think well of you, then that is good, and if people don’t like you or have low opinions of you, then that is bad.”
All was quiet.
“But you only believe this because you learnt it from other people. When you were a baby you were not at all concerned about any of this, but when you start to go to school and apparently grow up, you learn that to receive praise is wonderful, and to be criticised or condemned is awful. Popularity, you are told, is good, and to be rejected by people is bad.”
Jimmy started to smile.
“And so, the human being becomes enslaved,” said the being, now completely, blissfully lost in the flow of words emerging from inside him. “Enslaved to impress, enslaved to gain favour and praise, and afraid to be rejected by his fellow man. Your unhappiness is only there because you think you should be accepted by others. Why should anyone else accept you? Why should anyone else like you? Why should anyone else think highly of you? Stop expecting anyone to do any of these things for you. Then how do you feel?”
The idea of being liked or not seemed to lose all of its meaning before this power under the tree. Jimmy felt like something had been gripping his brain for some time, and now it was completely gone. It was silly of him to think anyone needs to think well of him. What difference did it make to who he was? He was not made less through rejection, and he was not made more through praise. He was always the same.
The being began to sing like a bird. It was the most beautiful sound, that at the same time didn’t seem to mean anything at all. The song of the bird grew louder, until the being, the tree and the entire scene disappeared, and Jimmy was left to wake up out of his dream, and gradually find himself in his bed. Morning had come, and the birds could be heard singing in the trees outside Jimmy’s window.
He lay in bed for a few moments, not needing the day’s approval. He could hear his mother moving around downstairs, and rather than wondering how she would greet him this morning, he decided not to take responsibility for it. He no longer felt the dread of the day ahead, and realised that everyone had a right to think whatever they liked of him.
Through releasing his hold on the minds of others, the minds of others no longer had a hold over him.
Story written and read in English by Adam Oakley, Copyright © Adam Oakley