Anna Quindlen, novelist and Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist, reminisces in Living Out Loud about summers spent at the beach searching for what the Little Prince would call a “baobab” to make her feel happy—someone to fill the emptiness she was experiencing in her life.

“My fantasies of an endless summer always ended badly,” she recalls. “I went to dances at the local firehouse, with a consuming need shining so brightly from my light eyes in my tanned face that only the boldest or blindest asked me to dance. Mostly I read and walked for miles at night along the beach, writing bad blank verse and searching endlessly for someone wonderful who would step out of the darkness and change my life.”

Quindlen finally said of her search for a person to make her happy, “It never crossed my mind that that person could be me.”

The Little Prince has sought someone to make him happy. In this he represents the way we all crave unconditional love. But no one can ever provide this for us.

The aviator exclaims, “O little prince! Gradually, this was how I came to understand your sad little life. For a long time your only entertainment was the pleasure of sunsets.”

What does the sunset represent?

On his own planet the little prince could see many sunsets a day. He used to bury himself in this part of his life that brought him a measure of happiness because he didn’t know what to do about the empty feeling that permeated his life.

Despite all the pleasure he found in sunsets, his life was tinged with a disappointment and sadness in that one area of life that matters the most–the heart.

Perhaps you have a deep emptiness you ignore as best you can by filling your life with as many “sunsets” as possible. But they always turn out to be baobabs.

When you sense something’s missing, all you know to do is focus on pleasurable experiences. You fill your days with as many of them as possible, but still the sadness doesn’t go away.

This is because a sunset, no matter how often repeated, is only one aspect of a day and therefore can’t affect our whole disposition.

The little prince tells the aviator that one day on his own planet he saw the sunset forty-four times!

He explains, “You know, when you’re feeling very sad, sunsets are wonderful.” Do you also try hard to hide the ache in your heart with life’s sunsets?

The aviator asks, “On the day of the forty-four times, were you feeling very sad?”

The little prince doesn’t answer.

In other words, you answer the question, my friend. Search your heart.

Truthfully, has sunset piled upon sunset taken away your emptiness? Have baobabs ever been able to give you what you are seeking?

No one can satisfy our longing for unconditional love. Nothing we engage in can fill this hole in our heart.

Except our own authentic self.

Because we are grounded in the divine love that pervades the universe, all the love we could ever need is within us—if we only know how to access it. And this is what the Little Prince’s story is going to teach us.

As Quindlen found, so also I discovered in my own life, the only person who can fulfill me is me.

When we become aware of the infinite love at our center, all neediness evaporates. We then bring our loving being into all our relationships and everything we do.

As I show in Lessons in Loving—A Journey into the Heart, we become unconditional love instead of seeking it.


David Robert Ord is author of Your Forgotten Self Mirrored in Jesus the Christ and the audio book Lessons in Loving–A Journey into the Heart, both from Namaste Publishing, publishers of Eckhart Tolle and other transformational authors. He writes The Compassionate Eye daily, together with his daily author blog Consciousness Rising, at Join us in the daily blog Consciousness Rising for an in-depth understanding of how we become conscious, truly present in the whole of our life.   
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