What Your Secret Eats For Lunch

Close-up of Eastern Water Dragon, Brisbane, Queensland, AustraliaThroughout time, Wisdom Teachers have used the vehicle of story-telling to teach important truths. Stories capture our imagination and convey messages that we identify with and therefore remain in our consciousness long after the story has been told.

This story is set in an isolated place in a forest where a young couple, desiring to ‘escape’ from the frenetic pace of city life, settled down to live a quieter, largely self-sustaining lifestyle. At the onset of each winter, the woman would take a trip to the city to visit her sister and purchase vital supplies.

It was upon her very first sojourn to the city that the man had an unexpected visitor. A faint knock at the door drew his attention and answering it he found a tiny lizard-like creature shivering on the doorstep. “Please Mister, can I come in just for a few moments to warm myself by your fire” said the Lizard. The man hesitated as he heard his ‘house proud’ wife’s voice telling him that she disliked animals in the house, that animals ‘smelt’ and made a mess. He knew that his wife would not approve however his compassion for this vulnerable creature rose up and he invited the Lizard in. It was agreed that this would be a secret between the man and the Lizard and that the Lizard would never come to the house when the woman was home. A small voice in the man’s head speculated the repercussions of his actions if his wife found out: anger, embarrassment, apologies, possible threats and enormous stress. Fear had taken a foothold in his mind and would remain a constant companion as the stress of holding the secret increased over time.

The Lizards brief winter visit became a regular event over the following years. As time passed, the man noticed the Lizard growing; he was staying for longer periods, eating more and moving round the house. When his wife returned from her trips, he was forced to tell lies to avoid revealing his secret. Questions like, “What is that smell?” “How is it that you have eaten all that meat that I left in the freezer?” “How did those large dirty marks get on the carpet?”

His anxiety and stress increased over time and his health began to decline. Just small things at first: frequent headaches, sleeplessness, joint pain, constant colds, a nagging cough, loss of appetite. His wife was concerned for him, and wondered if he had a serious health condition, having no idea of the stress he was under by keeping his secret.

Eventually the Lizard grew into a huge Dragon and now the man could not refuse the creatures increasing demands out of fear that the Dragon would attack him and his wife, if the demands were not met. Each winter, the Dragon stayed longer, until this final winter when the Dragon refused to leave. No amount of pleading could move the Dragon who now regarded the house as his own home. So upon the return of his wife and their 2 children, she was confronted by the secret that her husband had kept for 20 years. Her horror was replaced by rage when her husband told her the story that he had kept secret for so long. She was overwhelmed by the knowledge that her husband could betray her and started to question their entire marriage relationship. She felt she could no longer trust this man who had become a stranger to her.

That day he lost his wife and their 2 children as he watched them pack their belongings to leave. He was a broken and sick man, overwhelmed by shame and regret – the secret that was once a compulsive act contained in a few moments, had become a tyrant that destroyed all that he loved and valued.

What does a secret eat for lunch?

1. Fear

  • Fear of being found out and the repercussions

2. Lies

  • In order to keep the secret you have to fabricate more lies

3. Your Health

Recent research by Dr. David Eagleman, a neuroscientist from Houston Texas, has established that secrets long-kept raise the level of stress hormones in the brain and body. The reason for this is that one part of your brain doesn’t want the stress that holding the secret produces and argues to disclose it while at the same time another part realizes how messy and complicated and even more stressful disclosing the secret might be and votes for keeping everything under wraps.

This conflict of interest within your brain produces tension, confusion of thought and stress – the high levels of stress hormones being produced compromises your immune system and literally makes you sick.

4. Your Relationships

  • Keeping secrets are a betrayal of trust
  • Secrets call in to question the entire history of your relationship “If he was lying to me about that, what else was she lying to me about?”
  • Trust once broken is difficult and sometimes impossible to repair
  • The longer you keep the secret, the less possibility of repair



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