The hardest prison to escape is in our mind.
Near the beginning of his career, the great magician Harry Houdini traveled throughout Europe visiting small towns, where he would challenge local jailers to bind him in a straitjacket and lock him in a cell. Again and again, he delighted the crowds with his quick escapes from seemingly impossible restraints.
But in one small Irish village he ran into trouble. In front of an avid group of townspeople and news reporters, Houdini easily broke free of his straitjacket, yet despite his repeated efforts to solve the puzzle of the lock, he failed to open the cell door.
After everyone had left, Houdini asked the jailer, “What kind of new lock did you have on your cell?” “Oh,” said the jailer, “It’s a very ordinary lock. I figured that you’d have no difficulty opening it….so I never bothered to lock it!”
Houdini falsely assumed that he was trapped, and his very effects to free himself had locked him in.
Houdini, like all of us, perpetually assume that life is a problem or that something is wrong and we spend a lot of our energy trying to fix it or escape from it.
Our challenge is to find the story or the belief that keeps us locked in. It’s only when this inner dialogue and story is silenced, that we finally realize that the cell door is already open and that we have always been free.