I found this 17 years ago in a book entitled “Little Zen Companion”. It immediately struck me as a great lesson on perspective. The games we play in our lives are all monopoly; they are all play money and possessions, if we maintain the proper perspective. The last line about being nothing and having nothing refers to the way in which we identify ourselves; what we are attached to. And when we are identified and attached to something, we are not free to be anything…or everything! Enjoy!
You are eight years old. It is Sunday evening. You have been granted an extra hour before bed. The family is playing Monopoly. You have been told that you are big enough to join them. You lose. You are losing continuously. Your stomach cramps with fear. Nearly all your possessions are gone. The money pile in front of you is almost gone. Your brothers are snatching all the houses from your streets. The last street is being sold. You have to give in. You have lost. And suddenly you realize that it is only a game. You jump up with joy and you knock the big lamp over. It falls on the floor and drags the teapot with it. The others are angry with you, but you laugh when you go upstairs. You know you are nothing and know you have nothing. And you know that not-to-be and not-to-have give immeasurable freedom.