The Genie and the Meditator

There is this fable of a guy who finds a bottle. When he opens the bottle, out pops a genie. The genie says: “Thanks for saving me. I have been in that bottle for 500 years. I will reward you by granting your every wish.” The guy says, “ That’s fantastic…….” The genie interrupts him and says, “But there is one condition. That one condition is, I will fulfil your every wish, but if you do not keep me busy, I will kill you!”

The man is a little perturbed of course but he is still incredibly excited about the opportunity and he starts issuing orders to the genie. The genie is incredibly efficient and completes his new master’s tasks quickly. He builds the man a house, he plants the gardens, he makes the man very wealthy. One day the genie comes to him and says “Master, what next?” And the guy is stuck. He has run out of tasks for the genie to complete. He is panicking inside because he realises if he can’t find something for the genie to do, the genie will kill him.

He aspires for help and a flash of inspiration hits the man and he says to the genie: “I want you to make a flagpole. Rub grease all over the flagpole. I want you to plant the flagpole in the garden over there.” The genie goes away and soon the task is complete. A nice new flagpole stands in the garden covered in grease. He returns to the man and says “what next Master”? The man replies, “Genie, I now want you to go and climb that flagpole.” As much as the genie tries, he cannot climb the flagpole. He keeps slipping back down.

The Analogy

You see the genie is an analogy for your willpower. Your willpower is a blind instrument that is there to serve. It needs to be occupied, in service, or like a double edged knife, it will cut you. It can serve your mind, it can serve your heart, it can serve other people. It can also serve the Divine. It can also easily lead you astray. Cultivating will is an important aspect of reaching your highest potential, in your daily life, as a meditator. As are seeking truth, or just simply achieving a good life for yourself.

This is why Siddhartha in the book by Herrmann Hesse is a able to achieve heightened levels of clarity and ‘sink like a stone thrown into a river’ to achieve his goal.


Having willpower does not mean that you solve all your problems. More likely you get a new set of problems but so much more interesting. That is the way of the world.

I see many people who have lots of willpower. Unfortunately they only use a small part of their willpower to achieve inane things. If only they learned to engage their will.


Make sure you complete tasks, spending the whole time meditating and not cutting your time short. Making sure saying and doing become the same thing. These are some vehicles to help you build willpower.

You need willpower when you meditate. To persevere. When your meditation gets intense, that is when you stick with it. Your genie can carry you through. The rewards for persevering with your meditation are immense. But you must go the distance to find the stillness, the silent mind, the sense of alignment, the grace.