I was having a conversation recently with a very dear friend of mine. We were talking in general about changing things and my friend said she needed to be rid of a certain aspect of her appearance so that she could be rid of the cage which has kept her locked up and which has restricted her life choices and decisions.
From an outside perspective, it is easy to see that there is no cage, and that the thing she sees as her prison isn’t a prison at all; but from the inside it can look so very different. Of course, we can’t see a cage around us, and yet our minds can create cages from thoughts that look so solid, so impenetrable and inescapable that we believe we are imprisoned.
Has your mind ever created cages for you? I know my mind has. Sometimes the bars seem rigid and immovable and sometimes they may be a bit more bendy and we can see the possibilities of escape. Sometimes it is our innocent belief in the thoughts and opinions of others and of society which builds cages around us.
Of course, we have some limitations as humans. Some of us may have more limitations than others – they may be physical limitations and disabilities within our bodies or limitations created by the environment we are in. However, whether those limitations become our prisons is much more dependant on our mindset than the limitations themselves.
The cages our minds create can look so real that our lives become smaller and restricted, and we stop doing the things outside of the cage because they look inaccessible to us. We might even get so used to being in the cage that we become afraid to leave it even if the bars are removed. Our minds convince us after a time we are safe in the cage, that stepping out risks fear or hurt, even if we are miserable in the cage.
Imagine if we could know that our cages are not solid. They are made up of some very rigid-seeming thoughts which, undoubtedly look very powerful and real; but thoughts can only have power if we give them power. If we can learn to notice thoughts without allowing them to drive our actions, their power dissipates and our cages melt away.
As Sydney Banks said:
“Your thoughts are like the artist’s brush. They create a personal picture of the reality you live in.”
What picture are your thoughts painting? Are they painting cages or open meadows – or a bit of both? Whatever they are painting, I hope you know that there are an infinite number of pictures to be painted and repainted. You can paint over your cage bars to create wide expanses to be explored, and I hope you do.
With love. Sarah x