In simplicity lies great wisdom. A wise man once told me that many great truths are hidden within children’s fairytales, if you look deeply enough to find them. Fairytales are mythological in nature and have deep esoteric meanings that are cloaked in allegory, parables and symbolism.
One such fairytale is the story of Aladdin and his magic lamp, from the Arabian Nights tales. Aladdin lived with his mother in a Chinese town, as his father has died. He was a feral child with little adult supervision. One day, an African sorcerer approached him while he was playing in the streets and claimed to be Aladdin’s uncle. He recruited Aladdin to work with him by convincing him that he would turn Aladdin into a wealthy merchant. Aladdin’s mother, also blind to the sorcerer’s true intentions, granted permission for Aladdin to work with him.
The sorcerer led Aladdin to a booby-trapped cave. He instructed Aladdin to find an oil lamp deep within the cave. The sorcerer gave Aladdin a magic ring to protect him, but didn’t explain that the cave’s spells required that only the sorcerer could receive the lamp from another.
The Conscious and Subconscious Mind
In the story above, the cave represents the conscious mind. Aladdin finds himself trapped within this cave. The conscious mind is the mental prison that you unknowingly create, not realizing that you are a slave to an uncontrolled mind. The cave being booby-trapped represents the labyrinth that you must travel to find your way in and out. Our greatest life lessons come from being trapped in a situation in which we believe there is no way out. Aladdin’s desire to escape the cave is so great that he finds his way out, removing the self-bondage.
The deeper part of the cave is the subconscious mind, the true self. Aladdin also represents our true self, the real self that is inside all of us. I’m not talking about the many different personalities or traits that your consciousness manufactures and that you identify with – that is not your real, true self. The real, true self is the person inside you, who you truly are in spirit.
The sorcerer who purports to be Aladdin’s uncle represents the false self, the trickster of our personality. In the tale, the sorcerer can’t possess the lamp because he is the false self, not the true self. The sorcerer does not tell Aladdin that the lamp must be given to him by another. This reminds me of the way in which you give away your power to someone else when that person has an influence upon your mind. It is also reminiscent of the way that you present a false self to the world, seeking its approval, hiding your true self. Presenting a false self dissipates your power because you are focused outside of yourself, trying to play a role for which you were not cast. As long as you are presenting a false self, you will never be in touch with your true power and magic.
As the tale goes on, the reader sees that there are two genies – the genie of the ring that the sorcerer gave Aladdin for protection, and the genie of the lamp. The genie of the ring represents the law of karma – also known as cause and effect, or reaping what you sow. It represents the psychological looping of thoughts and feelings which keep creating the same results over and over again. This is also known as the law of the mind, cause and effect.
The genie of the ring is a lesser genie. When you use the genie of the ring, you are working towards a mental or psychological principle. It’s much more powerful to work towards something much deeper that can help you to change. When we apply the spiritual law of letting go of the self that we have created, the genie of the lamp, the greater genie that uses this higher law, is able to come in.
Rubbing the lamp to evoke its genie represents a spiritual practice. Here, Aladdin represents our conscious mind, and the genie, our subconscious mind. The rubbing of the lamp represents prayer and meditation, and a deep desire. For Aladdin, this desire was to come out of bondage.
The Power of Creative Imagination
The second power that came from rubbing the lamp was the power to move the world in the subconscious mind. When the genie tells Aladdin, “your wish is my command,” it shows us how the creative process, the movement of consciousness and thought, begins with a specific mindset. That mindset then brings forth new thoughts, which originate as cause in the conscious mind. These thoughts then proceed to move through the subconscious mind. Rubbing the lamp sets the dominant conscious thoughts into action, which influence the genie, the subconscious mind.
When you’re trying to effect change in your life, remember that we tend to act upon whatever is our strongest, most dominant desire. For example, if you’re trying to give up drinking, you will not drink as long as your strongest desire is to not drink. You rub the lamp and set your dominant conscious thought, “I will not drink,” into action so that it influences the genie, which is the subconscious mind.
The interpretation of the tale of Aladdin’s lamp represents the intelligent utilization of our mind and thoughts and perhaps, more importantly, our creative imagination. You must make your mind the obedient slave of your true self – the real person who you are and who is found when you remove all the obstacles to the false personality and the false self. By recognizing these traits, you begin to set yourself free. That is when true creation in the subconscious mind begins. Its garden soil is now ready to have new seeds planted so it can bring forth new thoughts. The only way this will happen is if you get rid of your false thoughts about who you believe yourself to be. You release yourself from that bondage and struggle.
If you had three wishes, what would you wish? When I was asked that question, my reply was that I would wish for infinite wishes. Then it was pointed out to me that Aladdin’s lamp allegedly has only three wishes. The truth is that any wish that Aladdin makes while he is in possession of the lamp is granted. You must possess the lamp, which consists of your conscious and subconscious mind, before your wishes can be granted.