From Shuddering in the Shadows to Dancing in the Dark

Written By Bob Hunt

I’m going to condense a story from Plato’s work The Republic.

Several people are arrested by solders and taken into a cave. They are lined up and told to face a wall. There is a fire burning in the cave and the prisoners can hear their captor’s voices and see their shadows on the wall. They are told that if they turn around or talk they will die. The captives obey the instructions and do not turn around. They can see the solder’s shadows on the wall and the stern warning continues to ring in their ears. The fire begins to smoulder and eventually begins to go out. The prisoners remain quiet and still their faces turned to the wall. Finally one of them can’t stand it any longer and sneaks a quick look back. No one is there. The soldiers have left. The prisoners have been holding themselves captive. Then comes the realization – I am free. We are free – free to move on and leave the cave joyfully dancing in the dark.
Image of woman dancing in a dark room
Photo: Nathan O'Nions via flickr Creative Commons

How often do we keep ourselves prisoners, shuddering in the shadows long after someone or something has gone? For example, waiting for symptoms to reoccur can prevent you from enjoying the health that you have today.

Attending to our spirituality can help us to move beyond our fears and to choose to hear our own inner voice in times of crisis. When that moment comes and we can’t stand it anymore, we can choose to respond to the inner invitation to look over our shoulder and then suddenly (or slowly) find ourselves dancing in the dark.

When have you kept yourself silent by limiting your thoughts, ignoring your feelings or not asking your questions? Part of spiritual wellbeing is giving voice to your deepest wonderings.

What could you choose to see or live differently today?