Saturday, April 20, 2019

The Snake and the Rope

A man walks into a dark room and thinks he sees a snake coiled in the corner. Frightened, he runs to get a weapon of choice to vanquish the reptile. Upon returning with lantern and blade in hand,  the light clearly illuminates the threat. Lo and behold, it is a thick rope casually left behind by a family member. The man's heartbeat slows, his blood pressure subsides, and relief resets his alarm bells to the off position.

While this fable could be taken at face value -  a case of mistaken identity - its meaning runs deep. FEAR, or "false evidence appearing real," is the juice that runs a good part of humanity. We don't see things as they actually are. We perceive people, places and things filtered through a lens of pre-digested habits and experiences. Not understanding that we all have the basic need to be safe and to be loved, we interpret reality through a defensive, paranoid viewpoint. Given that nearly every other being is looking at life through their own skewed perceptions, a basic ignorance of reality sets the stage for intricate layers of misunderstandings. From benign to deadly, the original need of every single living being - to be safe and to be loved - gets lost in the fray of false perceptions and the stories we then tell to harden those perceptions.

Untangling this mess requires earnest self-reflection and a deep-seated motivation to connect to reality. Sadly, the number of beings willing to strip away layers of self-imposed deceit are few. Luckily, we have a few beings in this world who can shine a light on the path back to our basic good nature. When we find such a being, it is incumbent upon us to stay the course, follow directions, and take the journey back to who we really are.

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