There once was a man who was sentenced to die. He was blindfolded and put in a pitch dark cave. The cave was 100 yards by 100 yards. He was told that there was a way out of the cave, and if he could find it, he was a free man.
After a rock was secured at the entrance to the cave, the prisoner was allowed to take his blindfold off and roam freely in the darkness. He was to be fed only bread and water for the first 30 days and nothing thereafter. The bread and water were lowered from a small hole in the roof at the south end of the cave. The ceiling was about 18 feet high. The opening was about one foot in diameter. The prisoner could see a faint light up above, but no light came into the cave.
As the prisoner roamed and crawled around the cave, he bumped into rocks. Some were rather large. He thought that if he could build a mound of rocks and dirt that was high enough, he could reach the opening and enlarge it enough to crawl through and escape. Since he was 5'9", and his reach was another two feet, the mound had to be at least 10 feet high.
So the prisoner spent his waking hours picking up rocks and digging up dirt. At the end of two weeks, he had built a mound of about six feet. He thought that if he could duplicate that in the next two weeks, he could make it before his food ran out. But as he had already used most of the rocks in the cave, he had to dig harder and harder. He had to do the digging with his bare hands. After a month had passed, the mound was 9-1/2 feet high and he could almost reach the opening if he jumped. He was almost exhausted and extremely weak.
One day just as he thought he could touch the opening, he fell. He was simply too weak to get up, and in two days he died. His captors came to get his body. They rolled away the huge rock that covered the entrance. As the light flooded into the cave, it illuminated an opening in the wall of the cave about three feet in circumference.
The opening was the beginning of a tunnel which led to the other side of the mountain. This was the passage to freedom the prisoner had been told about. It was in the south wall directly under the opening in the ceiling. All the prisoner had to do was crawl about 200 feet and he would have found freedom. He had so completely focused on the opening of light that it never occurred to him to look for freedom in the darkness. Liberation was there all the time, right next to the mound he was building, but it was in the darkness!
Moral: Whatever you think it is!
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About The Author
John Bradshaw is a well-known counselor, lecturer, and author. He is the author of five New York Times bestsellers, Bradshaw On: The Family, Healing the Shame That Binds You, Homecoming, Creating Love, and Family Secrets. He created and hosted four nationally broadcast PBS television series based on his best-selling books. John pioneered the concept of the "Inner Child" and brought the term "dysfunctional family" into the mainstream. He has touched and changed millions of lives through his books, television series, and his lectures and workshops around the country. For more info, visit http://www.bradshawcassettes.com