There once lived a boy on a small island who always wanted to explore the world beyond. He was fascinated with the idea of what was beyond the shores of his home and the adventures that were waiting just to be revealed. But the people on the island he lived on didn’t believe that there was anything beyond their island. They believed that the outside world could offer nothing and the vast body of water was only filled with danger.
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Each time the boy tried to reason that there could be other islands like theirs with a whole new world unknown to them, the people would just shut him down by saying that it was impossible for anything else to exist because if it did, the Gods would have let the people on the island know. It seemed like the harder the boy tried to broaden the horizons of the people’s minds, the more constricted it got.
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But that didn’t discourage the boy from dreaming of one day leaving the island to see what was beyond his own little world. He had been conditioned to believe that beyond the waters were monsters and sea creatures and the only thing certain was death. But if people believed in sea monsters that they had never seen, he would rather believe in a heavenly place that could very well exist unbeknownst to them.
Each night he’d go to sleep dreaming of leaving the island soon, and during the day learn to build a boat that would take him there. After years of dreaming and toiling, the boy set out to sail one day when nobody was watching. Very soon he realized that this was not as easy as he’d thought. The waters of the ocean were rough and the menacing waves regularly tried to topple his boat over. The boy was absolutely terrified of what was happening. He had not experienced such fear in his life. To make matters worse, he could see a storm brewing in the distance. It was only a matter of time before the storm had ravaged his boat and food supply. He was drifting aimlessly miles off course on just a wooden plank, and hope seemed very bleak. During the final moments before he passed out, he thought maybe the people of the island were right. Maybe there was only death beyond the shores. Maybe this was a bad idea. But chasing the dream of an unexplored world beyond was worth the risk.
He woke up the following morning washed up on shore and thought that the waves had given him a lease of life by carrying him back to the island. Only when he started to walk towards the island did he realise it wasn’t his home. Everything looked different. He had made it to the great beyond he’d dreamed of all his life. Everything was beyond imaginable in this new world. The food was different, the people were different and he saw animals he had never seen before. It was as if he’d entered an alien world. He spent the next few years exploring this world and sharing his story with the new friends he made there.
When he finally returned to his little island one day to share everything he’d seen, nobody believed him. Despite his repeated attempts to tell people of the vast world beyond their imagination, his experience was treated with scorn. They thought dehydration and being lost at sea for days may have caused him to hallucinate. The boy, now a man, agreed to take them all to this new world if only they help him build a bigger boat. But the people of the island just weren’t ready. They said that if the man wanted to live with them peacefully again, he’d have to forget whatever he had hallucinated about the great beyond. If not, the island can’t accept a member who would disrupt their community. But the man had seen and experienced too much. He realised that his mind had stretched to unfathomable proportions and he could just not go back to his old dimensions and fit in. So, he began his voyage to the great beyond for a second time, but this time to never come back.
This analogy of the boy from the island can be seen in everyone’s life today. We live in a society that appreciates conformity. There is little room in our society today for original thinkers, pioneers, or those who break the obsolete systems of functioning and thinking. When your Spiritual awakening begins, there will be times when you will arrive at a fork on the road. One would lead back to a life of conformity and the other shatters the conventional models of thinking. When you have finally awakened to the nature of reality and the sickness within society, it would be a crime to go back to the old ways just to fit in. You were never meant to fit in.
All great philosophers of the past have encountered resistance from society at different points in time for thinking differently, but they’ve realized that awakening to the truth comes with a certain level of alienation. It is not them that’s on the wrong path, but the society that’s blind. But you will often see people around you trying to take your eyes out so that you fit in with the rest of them. By trying to make you blind, they will kill the very thing that has sparked your awareness. It is a strange bargain to live with.
In the book “Man’s Search for Himself”, existential psychologist Rollo May says, “The opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice; it is conformity.” This is what society demands: Conformity. To be, think, and act like everyone else. Rather than curing their own blindness to the truth, people will prefer staying with the majority.
Poison has destroyed people’s vision of this awareness. This poison is psychological conditioning. You are conditioned since birth to think a certain way, accept the norm and not ask questions. It is only when you start questioning and thinking for yourself does the antidote comes into effect. But most people are so hopelessly addicted to conformity that they shun the antidote. They are all comfortable in their own little islands, unwilling to explore the world that lies beyond.
To have eyes that see through the veil is a gift, but to have eyes in the sea of the blind is to be condemned, ridiculed, and crucified. It is anti-social in the eyes of society to be an awakened soul because it is the person who has awakened that disturbs your peaceful sleep and starts trying to wake you up. The one that is aware will stand against ideologies and outdated belief systems that keep you asleep. Such individuals will oppose all kinds of religious, social, and political dogmas because these dogmas want you to remain comatose so that they can exploit and enslave you.
But you’re not a system. You’re not even a part of that game. You’re an individual soul with an individual experience and you’re here to exercise your free will to explore the boundaries of your consciousness and this reality. Everybody, including you, is already an enlightened being. But the society prevents you from seeing it through systematic conditioning. You just have to step away from what doesn’t serve you and reclaim the power that you always had. It requires courage. Only the ones with the heart of a lion can dare to take that path alone into the unknown. When you leave your island, the waters will be rough and you will encounter a storm along the way. But it will be worth it in the end. And when you leave, your courage and the trail you leave behind will be the guiding light that awakens the others.