Shadows on a wall: The message of Plato’s Cave

The great spiritual teachers taught us not to judge by appearances and to seek what is real, not what merely looks real.

The Greek philosopher Plato devised a metaphor to explain how our limited view of reality governs how we think and act. He likened us to prisoners chained to the wall of a cave unable to turn their heads. Behind them is a fire burning brightly, and between the fire and the prisoners is a raised path. Along the pathway walk puppeteers holding puppets that cast shadows on the wall. The prisoners are unable to see the puppets. All they see are shadows. They mistake the shadows for reality, knowing nothing of their real cause. Only when they are released can they can turn their heads and see the truth.

There is a reality that lies outside space and time, beyond our comprehension. We would be mistaken if we ever thought that our perceptions and beliefs were complete.

Are you content in the cave? Do you want to see and experience more?

Are you comfortable knowing that you cannot know everything? To be satisfied with not knowing is a profound act of spiritual awareness.

©David Lawrence Preston, 5.12.17

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