Navigating this trying period that I have been going through of late has needless to say not been easy. However, I do not have any regets and would choose to do it all over again if the need were to arise again. Without a shadow of a doubt I am the master of my fate in this situation and not a hapless victim of circumstance, who has been forced down this path kicking and screaming. Suffering is part and parcel of the journey of life, which I fully embrace and will never shy away from. I am keenly aware that every choice that I make inevitably has consequences. By the same token every prison I find myself confined in is but the creation of my own mind. My current predicament in fact reminds me of a parable from Dr. Wayne Dyer, the late psychologist, guru and healer. It has stuck with me ever since I first heard it a few years ago:
There was once a war in a distant land, which was invaded and conquered by a foreign power. One day the invaders came to a village in the countryside of the land and they rounded up all of the men in the village and locked them up in a prison camp, leaving only women, children and the elderly behind. The conditions in the prison were very poor and the men suffered a lot due to the cruel and harsh treatment that they received at the hands of their captors. This made the remaining villagers very sad and they decided one day that they needed to do something about this awful situation.
In the village there lived four enlightened women, who each in turn decided to take action. The first enlightened woman, who was upset that the men were sleeping on hard ground which was covered with rocks, went to the commandant of the prison and asked him if she could provide the men with soft woolen bedding on which to sleep. She had a small farm on which she reared sheep, and she would provide the wool for the bedding by shearing her sheep. The commandant carefully weighed the woman’s request before agreeing to it. The first enlightened woman went away pleased that she had fulfilled her purpose.
The second enlightened woman, was distraught that the men in the prison were being forced to drink water that was filthy and was making them sick. She went to the commandant and implored him to alllow her to drill a bore hole, which would allow the men to drink clean water. She owned a drill which she would use to make the bore hole. After thoughtful consideration, the commandant consented to her request, and the second woman went away content that she had fulfilled her enlightened purpose.
The third enlightened woman in the village, was concerned that the men in the prison were being fed poor quality food which was spoiled and unnutritious. She went to the commandment and pleaded with him to allow her provide the men in the prison with more nutritious food. She had a small farm in which grew vegetables and fruit, which should would harvest in order to feed the men. The commandant considered her request for a few monents before giving his consent. The third woman went away satisfied that she had fulfilled her enlightened purpose.
The fourth enlightened woman was the most enlightened of them all. She went in the middle of the night and stole the key to the prison from the commandant’s quarters. She then opened the prison gates and freed all of the men. She was the most enlightened of all since she recognized that what mattered most to the men was that they were deprived of their freedom. The other three enlightened women only sought to make the life of the men in the prison more comfortable, which overloooked the glaring fact that the men were not free.
Utimately, we all possess within us the key to our liberation from the prison our mind has created. Although we all yearn for freedom, we sometimes forget that the key is in our pocket, and instead we focus on making our prison more comfortable as well as on blaming others for our imprisonment. This period of discomfort and challenge that I am confronting presently has arisen because I have had the courage to use the key to open the gates of the prison of my mind. Although it has been scary and difficult in the unknown ‘wilderness’ out beyond the walls of my known ‘comfortable’ prison, I am confident that I will emerge from this experience stronger than before. Battlehardened, from overcoming adversity for the umpteenth time in my life, I will overcome. I have unwavering conviction that the path of truth that I have chosen to follow will lead me closer to the higher purpose that I seek. No weapon formed against me shall prosper! (Isaiah 54:17)
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(Image Credit: https://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/-EoAAOSw2lNj6QqT/s-l1600.jpg; Accessed: 8th August 2023)