Let me show in a story how the human race is unenlightened. Imagine you are born into a building with no windows. You and your family have a room in this building, but your parents never take you outside of the building. They take you to many parts of this building like other rooms or other floors and as you get older you meet others that become your friends. You go into the rooms of your friends to meet their families, but they also never leave this building. One of the doors on the front of this building is locked. There are rumors that it is bad place and the landlord keeps it locked for our safety. You goto school with your friends in a big room and memorize things that will help you keep the building up and running. All the books were written or overseen by the landlord himself, so this is how everyone knows the information is correct.
Throughout the building there are televisions in every room. The televisions are playing news broadcast that keep telling everyone about the evils on the other side of the locked door. It keeps repeating about how there are other buildings with other people who want to hurt us and how they are not like us. The people outside of the building hurt each other and once they are done hurting each other they will hurt us. It has stories of how the people in other building are constantly trying to destroy our building, but the landlord is doing everything he can to keep us safe.
Your family takes you to a place called a faith room once a week. You see some people going in and out of the room everyday, but your family only goes once a week. Here you are taught about Manu. He is an ancestor of the landlord and he had special powers. He could walk on water, fly through the air, walk through walls and he could see everything that everyone does. If you are good he will give you all the riches and comforts this building has to offer, but if you are bad he will throw you in a pit full of fire. One day you ask the priest how you were suppose to believe in a person who you could not see or touch. The priest replied by saying that if you have faith in Manu he will be everywhere, he will give you a good life and shelter you from harm. All you have to do is believe and he will take care of the rest. The priest sees the confusion in your face, so he ushers you along telling you he has a group of special little boys and girls that are waiting for him touch them with the power of Manu.
On the walls throughout the building in every room is pictures of trees, animals, plants, insects of all kinds. The rooms and walls are all lit with fluorescent lights. Floors are all tiled or carpeted. There are stairs that go up, but only a few people are allowed to use them. You get curious one day and decide to try to go up the steps. Once you get close a man stops you and tells you that only friends and family of the landlord are allowed up the stairs. You realize you are not related to the landlord, so you ask the man how you can become his friend. The man tells you the number one thing is to be a good citizen, don’t cause any trouble. He thinks about it for a second and tells you to get good grades so you can become a leader of one of our companies, go into acting and become a good actor, get really good at sports, become a leader of the military or police force that protects us, become a newscaster, become a priest of the faith or the closest people are his building masters. He tells you the building masters are elected every couple of years, but he often sees them getting advice from the landlord. Then it dawns on the man that all the building masters have been family members of the landlord, so don’t try to become a master. The man sees the disgruntled look and your face and tells you to run along and don’t forget to be good.
One day as you are walking past the lock door you hear someone on the other side knocking. You look to see if anyone else notices, but you quickly see they are all caught up in whatever it is they are doing. You grab the door knob and notice it is unlocked. Twisting the knob you slowly crack open the door and peek out. Through the bright light you see a the figure of a woman holding her hand out to you. With squinted eyes you reach for her hand. She pulls you outside and closes the door. The sun to you is blinding and it dazzles your eyes. It is like the sun has sent an army of light down blinding you. The woman tells you to give your eyes time to adjust as she takes your hand and leads you to a field. As you walk trying to get your sight, you smell fresh air, you feel the suns warmth, you hear the sounds of nature singing without words and as your sight returns you can’t believe the beauty of this otherworldly environment. Flowers dazzle your senses, the trees are alive with squirrels and birds, the suns rays fall as a blanket of light on everyone and everything and you hear the winds voice rustling through the leaves. A strange sense of calm comes over you, for the first time in your life you feel harmony.
You turn to take a look at the woman who you could not see before and you see she is pure natural beauty. She speaks in a very soft loving voice. She explains to you that your whole life has been an illusion. She explains how the sun is what gives this planet life, seasons and years. If it weren’t for the sun nothing would exist on this planet. You hear the roar of a waterfall and she leads you to the water so you can get in. As you wade in, you think of all the other people and ask her how great it would be to show them too. Then she turns you towards the building you exited. You not only see the concrete building you were in but several others. She explains that every building has a different group of people. Each building has a different landlord, but all landlords are related. They make the people inside each building hate all the other people in the other buildings. By doing this it keeps the people in fear and makes them easily controlled. When one building gets over populated, the landlord will wage war on another landlord. All the people fight each other, but the landlords are safely kept at a distance. She explains the biggest way they keep each building hating the other is through their gods. Each building has a god, but the gods are all ancient family members of the landlords. Every landlord in every building is not only related to each other, but they are all related to the ancient gods everyone is worshipping. The beautiful woman tries to warn you that most are not ready to leave the prison of the building and they will fight till death to keep that prison intact.
Wouldn’t you feel blessed for the woman showing you the freedom and wisdom of nature? For the voice of beauty speaks softly and only to fully awakened souls. Would you not pity the people inside the buildings? Wouldn’t you rather live in freedom outside of the building then to go back in and live and think as they do? Would you not decide to go back in to the building and try to explain to your friends your new-found wisdom? When you go back in through the door, the building looks dull and dreary. Everything now looks very fake to you including the people themselves. You see a group of your friends and decide to try to talk with them, but everything they talk about is now meaningless to you. Those same friends try to include you on the conversation, but rumors and gossip have no room in your mind now. Your friends all try to ridicule you and laugh at you for not fitting in. You try to explain what is outside the building and they ridicule you even more. One of your good friends tells you to keep silent because if word gets around that you have been outside the building they will imprison you are put you to death.
It is a heavy burden for the enlightened to be able to learn the wisdom and see the truth, then have to go back into the unenlightened buildings of every day life. To be in the building is to live the fake inauthentic life, but have all the companionship you could desire. To live outside the building you are free but very lonely. It is not your responsibility to awaken other people, but it is nice for someone to be there when an individual actually wakes up. Do not mistake desperation for ignorance. When a mind is struggling they can appear very similar. Be patient. If they are awakening, they will need a friend after being shunned for trying to live authentically. Once a person is truly awake, there is no going back. They are awake for eternity.
5 thoughts on “The Building”
A wonderful, and wonderfully written, parable.
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Reblogged this on Paths I Walk.
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“Follow your bliss and the universe will
open doors where there were only walls.”
Nicely written. I believe we were all born with the ability to be great internal explorers, and though we may not change the world as a whole, we have the unconscious ability to change our own. Knock, Knock!
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Thanks, Sunshamar. Changing ourselves will change the world. 😉
Love Joseph Campbell. Thanks for the great quote and great comment.