Thursday, June 20, 2013

Step outside your/our "cave" ...

“As long as our orientation is toward perfection or success, we will never learn about unconditional friendship with ourselves, nor will we find compassion.” 

Pema Chodron

In order to be free from our thoughts we need to let them go as only words and images created from a fabricated reality. We need to become the awareness behind them. We need to believe we're not those thoughts but instead we're something we cannot explain it's origin or it's essence. What we are is something that it's greater than our individual mind. Because we segregate from all that we think it's not us, there’s always a feeling of non-belonging, of non-fitting. We're not what society and our dearest educators said we are, we’re much more, or we’re very different.
Unfortunately, when you start creating a new language that resonates with your spirit, our mind gives us the guilt, the repression and the shame of not being like everyone else. We’ve been always told to look at what others are doing and to copy them, so when we try to think we can live Life with a different outlook, outcome, with different goals and priorities, it’s too hard not to feel like we’re outsiders, tramps, Alexander’s Supertramps (as in the movie “Into the Wild”). Not only will others repress us, but worst than that and more powerful than that is our our repression, over and over again... We believe too much that we don’t deserve to be easily happy, we believe too much that Life is hard and as a theater, has always present a judge, an audience and a victim, the poor actor.
Remember Plato’s Cave? Socrates suggests the prisoners would take the shadows to be real things and the echoes to be real sounds created by the shadows, not just reflections of reality, since they are all they had ever seen or heard. They would praise as clever, whoever could best guess which shadow would come next, as someone who understood the nature of the world, and the whole of their society would depend on the shadows on the wall. When one of the “prisoners” escapes one day, first is blinded by the big fire that illuminates those shadows, and of course we thinks - inside the cave I could see clearly, but here I’m blind!

“Socrates next asks Glaucon to consider the condition of this man. "Wouldn't he remember his first home, what passed for wisdom there, and his fellow prisoners, and consider himself happy and them pitiable? And wouldn't he disdain whatever honors, praises, and prizes were awarded there to the ones who guessed best which shadows followed which? Moreover, were he to return there, wouldn't he be rather bad at their game, no longer being accustomed to the darkness? Wouldn't it be said of him that he went up and came back with his eyes corrupted, and that it's not even worth trying to go up? And if they were somehow able to get their hands on and kill the man who attempts to release and lead them up, wouldn't they kill him?" (517a) The prisoners, ignorant of the world behind them, would see the freed man with his corrupted eyes and be afraid of anything but what they already know. Philosophers analyzing the allegory argue that the prisoners would ironically find the freed man stupid due to the current state of his eyes and temporarily not being able to see the shadows which are the world to the prisoners.”

Doesn’t this allegory says it all?
We’ve learned how to live according with everyone else’s point of view because we’re too afraid of not being good enough for others to accept us. When one of us changes course we judge them, or we punish them, or we punish our own selves. Some people can punish themselves in such degree, that even if someone else hurts them physically, they believe they deserve it...

If we want to feel better with our own nature, we need to step outside and face the bright sun. Most of the ideas we know come from school, parents, kings and kingdoms, witches and priests. When you stand alone, in nature, and you let go of what you have preconceived to be, you’re finally walking away from your cave.

So this is why books can be such comfort for the mind or enlighten us. Like Lou Reed sung “If you’re going to read, just watch your soul”. And go for long walks, just for yourself and for nothing else. Leave everyone else behind. And when you come back, have the compassion of not trying to change anyone, but instead, use that warmth of the bright sun you’re now carrying within you to brighten someone else’s life.

Thank you.

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