the way out
This story came to me while I was wasting time meditating one day…
She is sitting in the most beautifully decorated jail cell.
Psst. A stranger whispers. You know, you don’t have to stay here. There’s a way out. You can choose to go out there and be free.
The stranger points to a tunnel, tight and twisted, with rough walls.
She thinks for a moment. She’s heard this whisper before. The invitation has come many times in her life.
She takes one look at her cell. It feels like home. It’s so pretty here, even though sometimes the walls shake, the lights flicker and the cell goes dark. But sometimes, it’s really nice in here, too, even though here she is a slave. Plus, all her stuff is here.
Ugh, she thinks, turning away from the tunnel. It looks like so much work. The walls are rough and who knows how long it might take to get to the other side. What a waste of time.
Anyway, the people out there are weird. They smile too much and their gaze lingers too long.
No, she thinks. I’m too busy in here. I don’t have time for that.
One day she wakes up after a long storm. The room shook so much, she is lying next to the tunnel, her arm near its mouth. The stranger is out of sight, but she can hear the whisper. The invitation is still there.
She reaches out, into the unknown.
She doesn’t have to stay here. She doesn’t have to do anything.
This prison, this busyness, is all made up.
So she takes a deep breath, takes one last look at her cell, and starts to crawl through the tunnel. It’s dark at first and difficult to follow. But with every step, there is more space, and a little more light.
She is not completely out yet. She is still crawling, her skin is scratched, knees dirty.
Her cell seems less pretty now. Her stuff is less important. She can’t tell who the weird people are anymore.
Now, she’s gotten too many glimpses of sunlight, a taste for freedom.
And now, there’s no turning back.