As a kid, I liked to read the novels of Robert W. Service. He wasn’t much of a writer, but he wrote something called The Roughneck which enthralled me so much I stretched the reading of it over an entire summer. The one thing I remember about the book is that the main character became a locksmith. No lock could hold him back. I’ve been fascinated with keys and locks ever since. And in some way, that’s the great metaphor. We all need the key to the lock; the world is the lock and we are the key.
Now picture the world that way, as a barrel with grooves and tumblers, and the only way to open this world is to fit something that meshes exactly with these grooves. So that wherever you go, essentially what you’re looking at is the lock with all these barrels in it. When you step into a situation, you have to be the key to match it. You have to fit into it. That’s the only way to relate to it. You must be meshed with it for the world to unlock. If you walk in blank, it can’t work. The key gets jammed in the lock.
When we’re blank, we can’t open the world. So we need to have the right relationship—those cuts and teeth and grooves—we have to be cut in a certain way to mesh with the world, so we can unlock it.
The only way to do that is not to be blank, and the only way not to be a blank is to be totally connected to your senses. It’s that connection that enables you to be the unique key in relation to the unique world. If you’re not doing that, you can’t open it; you have to be there with your senses, connected to them. You have to see what’s in front of you, hear what’s around you, taste and smell and touch. You have to do that or else nothing will open, nothing at all, you’ll be facing a blank wall all the time. It will be blank and you will be blank. A frozen state.
The only one who can open the world is the individual, each individual. There isn’t just one lock; it’s a multitude of locks in the universe. And the only one who can open it is each person, for herself. So that the master key is not what to do—the master key is to come to your senses, stop being blank, and relate to the world with the totality of your senses. Then you will see it will open for you.
The world will open in a very obvious way—you will see what’s happening and you will mesh with what’s happening in a room. And the effect of that meshing will reach very deeply into your entire being. It has to begin with the senses, and your connection to them, moment by moment.
You see what a demand that is? You’re this human key, shaped a certain way, that must relate to the world through a particular shape. And nobody can do it but that individual, that key. Connecting to the senses gives you the cuts and shapes that enable you to mesh with the world. If you can remember this one, you’ll know why things are so inexplicable when you’re blank, why nothing happens when you’re not there. And how the world opens up when you are there.
One of the most amazing things revealed in the Gospels about Jesus—he’s a very interesting character—appears when he’s walking in Jerusalem amid a great crowd, a mob, really. In the middle of this mob Jesus says, “Somebody touched me!” The apostles reply, “Of course, we’re getting pushed and touched everywhere. What do you mean?” “I felt power leave me,” he says. He looks around, and an old woman comes forward and says she was the one who did it. And all she had done was touch the fringe of his garment, in hopes that she’d be healed of a hemorrhage she’d had for 20 years.
Imagine the sensitivity of someone being pushed around in rush hour and he knows when someone has touched the fringe of his garment? We think of Jesus as being “The Christ” and all that. But what we don’t realize is he was the key—totally connected to his senses, he picked up everything, he could feel when power was leaving him through his clothing.
That’s what you call a sensitive being, someone who has his wits about him. It’s no wonder he said astonishing things. He was there in each situation. Like when the priests presented him with the tribute coin with Caesar’s profile on it. They thought they’d spring a trap, and get him at last. But he had a brilliant answer. It’s not because he was a genius. It’s just that he kept his wits about him, all the time. That’s what the senses were known as—the five wits. You see the effect that man had when he turned the lock? Two thousand years of effect. This is a graphic example of how important it is to come to your senses.
When people talk, they get lost in what they’re saying. They get lost in what they’re thinking, too. The trick is that when you speak, don’t think about your ideas. Don’t get involved in your ideas. All you have to do is listen to the sound of your voice. The mind thinks by itself. What you have to say comes right out, provided you’re listening to the sound.
From my experience, I don’t have an idea in my head when I talk. I listen to what comes out. Sometimes it’s all right, sometimes not, but I just listen to what I have to say. So listen to yourself, and you’ll find sometimes that you’ll say something worthwhile. And you won’t get lost. You’ll always be interested. And what’s more, it will help you to listen to others, which is also a valuable human ability.
One of the reasons people go on lying to themselves and others is because they’re not listening to themselves. If they would, instead of being caught in their own web they’d hear the lies, because lies have a certain sound, just as the truth has a certain sound. But the sound of a lie as it rolls off the tongue is painful, it’s unbearable. That’s the way to get free of lies, to listen to the tone, and the sound that comes out. Then you’ll stop. You’ll be acutely aware of the difference between the truth and a lie. You’ll know when it’s coming and when it isn’t. So you’ll never be caught by Pontius Pilate’s cutesy question “What is truth?” Listen, and you’ll hear.