Plato wrote a gruesome outlook to life called Allegory of a Cave. The scenario he depicts is a dark cave where people, from childhood, are chained facing a wall, their heads even unable to turn. The only light comes from a fireplace behind them and the only thing they can see are the shadows that are cast upon the wall in front of them. The shadows, which they name, are the only reality they know so they are reality. Think about that. If you were raised to think a certain belief (which most of us are about religions or other races or whatever), that is your reality based on your experience of having been taught that way. Thank goodness we have access to other people and books and the Internet to help us challenge our beliefs and either stick with them or change them; but our own realities are based on our experiences.
So the Allegory of the Cave goes on to question what would happen if you released one of the men and turned him towards the light? He would feel blinded by the brightness and the pain would cause him to want to turn back; the light is not real to him, the darkness is. But what if you forced the man, now shielding his eyes, up the steps and out into the sunlight? If given the choice, he would turn back around because this feels overwhelming and hurtful. But let's assume he gets to the place where his eyes adjust and he is able to look down at the ground. And then up a little more to see people and trees and dogs. Then up a little more to see blue sky and eventually able to see the light emanates from the sun and it is all real. He begins to feel enlightened and free and happy and amazed. The chains were released from him awhile ago but he has now freed himself from the imaginary chains he bound himself with. And what should happen if he went back into the cave, trying to readjust his eyes to the darkness to free the others? Would they follow or think he was crazy? They would think he was crazy because he would be talking nonsense to them and his depictions would not be their reality.
How are you living your life in such a way that your sense of what is real may need a slight reality check (and I mean that in the kindest of ways!)?
From the book A Gift of Healing: [As you read, consider all facets of healing, those physical, spiritual and especially mental like forgiveness and letting go...]
The Decision to Heal
"The decision to heal and to be healed
is the first step toward recognizing
what you truly want.
Every attack is a step away from this,
and every healing thought
brings it closer.
To be healed is to pursue one goal,
because you have accepted only one
and want but one.
Nothing is harmful or beneficent
apart from what you wish.
It is your wish
that makes it what it is
in its effects on you.
There is no miracle
you cannot have
when you desire healing.
But there is no miracle
that can be given you
unless you want it.
Your function on earth is healing...
As long as you believe you have other functions,
so long will you need correction.
For this belief is the destruction of peace.
Healing will always stand aside
when it would be seen as threat.
The instant it is welcome it is there.
Where healing has been given
it will be received.
[I omitted next paragraph]
Suffice it, then, that you have work to do
to play your part.
The ending must remain obscure to you
until your part is done.
It does not matter.
For your part is still
what all the rest depends on."
The premise of this book is that we are all one. If you see yourself as separate from all else, you thwart the healing. We have to all heal together. From the Cave example, just because the one man found freedom and relief, don't you suppose his heart is still heavy because the others do not see it? He is pained by their pain.
I leave you with this...the very first sanskrit word in Patanjali's Yoga Sutras is atha, which means now. Open your heart and mind to healing in whatever capacity you need to but start now; it is the most purposeful thing you will do.