Plato’s Allegory for a Spiritual Awakening

New Zealand Rock

In an attempt to express the nature of an exploratory journey of awareness and subsequent discovery, a reference to Plato’s famous cave prisoner story seems to metaphorically describe the reality of the expansion of consciousness.

As the story goes, prisoners in a cave spent their entire lives in such a way that they could only see the cave wall in front of them. The prisoners were unable to see the fire glowing behind them, nor could they see the group of actors casting shadows on the cave walls. For these prisoners, these shadows would consist of their entire world.

One day, one of the prisoners was released and taken outside. At first, blinded by the light, his eyes then adjusted to see the brilliance and depth of the colors that make up “real” reality. Having experienced a new and expansive landscape, his former ideas about the world were shattered. He then excitedly returned to the cave to explain to the other prisoners that the shadows were just an illusion. There was a richer, intensely luminous world just beyond the cave walls. But regardless of what he said, or arguments that he used to try to convince the other prisoners that the reality of the cave was a pale cartoon in comparison to real reality, the other prisoners thought he had gone mad.

Plato’s use of this allegory was to reference the difference between the everyday appearance of the world, shaped by everyday language, concepts, and beliefs, and the true nature of the world. Common sense provides a poor device for knowing the true nature of reality.

To progress toward the knowledge and inner-standing of this ultimate nature, we must suspend our disbelief, if only to allow for a subtle metamorphosis to occur. That which does not fit into our preconceived notion of the nature of reality is not necessarily of falsehood, or “woo woo.” By releasing attachments to ideologies and opening up to see, clairvoyantly, the value that exists in recognizing the nature of a thought itself, will serve to catalyze the opening of the doors of perception. By way of experience, our awareness expands its bandwidth to comprehend, more thoroughly, the nature of our existence. Just like the prisoner who experiences the outside world just beyond the cave walls, this experience resides right under our noses and its gift is an expansion of unconditional love for all of life*