Disillusionment – The Dream Eater


No other monster has slain more valiant questers than disillusionment. No matter what the aim of your quest, if you are ever going to reach your goal you have to face this one. I remember with absolute clarity my first encounter with disillusionment, the place, what I was leaning against, and what was in the immediate environment, everything. I was shocked into brilliant clarity.

Where I grew up there weren’t any girls my age. So, my friends were the local boys. One had an elder sister who would sometimes come and talk to me. One day she asked me;” You do not believe in Father Christmas anymore do you?” “Yes” I said, “One year Father Christmas had normal pants and shoes on that I knew belonged my father; I then realised that there was no Father Christmas.” “Yes ” she said, ” Then you also know that there are no Easter Bunnies and no Tooth Mouse…” I promptly burst out in tears. “Is there really no Tooth Mouse…

I really believed there was a Tooth Mouse. Perhaps it was a happy coincidence, I don’t know, but one day the mouse did not come in the night. As soo as I checked my slipper and found my tooth still there, I ran to my parents room to tell them. They just smiled and said maybe the mouse was late. At that moment the cat jumped from the window sill and my parents said, “Ah, that must be the mouse now.” I raced back to my room and there were silver pieces shinning in my slipper. That single incident made me a true believer.”

My friend’s sister, seeing how devastated I was, apologised to me and said she was so sorry to bring me disillusionment.  Still, I was devastated. Is there no magic in this world; is everything just what it seems to be? I withdrew for a long time to deal with that one.

I deal with disillusionment by withdrawing for a while to my “cave” to contemplate things. If I lived another time another place I would have been a hermit living in a cave somewhere. Though, on second thoughts my curiosity would have drawn me out. Anyway, since then I had to face the Dream Eater on many more occasions.

There is no way that you can avoid disillusionment if you want to find the truth. For disillusionment clears away the fog of illusions. It stops you dead in your tracks and forces you to face the truth. It is vital for the process of maturation. Maturing as a person, maturing in physical goals, maturing in spiritual aspirations and not least in relationships. What one has to do is not to take it personally. This is however much easier said than done. For it is certainly not easy, not to take it personally when you are knocked flat. You were going so well, confident in your progress when wham, the wind is knocked right of your sails. At this point it is very easy just to give up completely.

You often see this happening when people go on a self-help course. First they are all fired up from the inspirational message but as time goes by reality sets in. They give up and try something else. It is not difficult to see this happening in relationships. What do you do when the honeymoon is over? In my country the initial euphoria of our union as a people was replaced with a general depression. Things did not meet our expectations. There was increasing violent crime, unemployment soared, the social conditions of the poorest of poor did not improve and some even felt they were worse off than before Apartheid ended. Many emigrated fearing for their children’s future. 

 In evolution there is always a progression and regression. It is like watching the incoming tide.  Every progress moving further forward and every regress receding less far backward. We can say that each regress is making the foundation for the the next progress. Thus, nothing gained in the former progress is lost in the process of a regress – the potential and ground of the progress is maintained, though hidden by the appearance of a regression. Each regression is a secret operation of the next progression working itself out. Likewise each apparent failure is nothing more than the limit to which we can succeed in a given cycle of progress, and represents the regress necessary before the next progress. Each success is likewise the manifestation of the work accomplished during previous failures and regressions.

 When next you encounter the Dream Eater, gracefully pick yourself up from the ground, wipe the dust from yourself and ask your wiser self; ” Do I still believe this dream is possible. Is it worth the price I have to pay? ” Remember that nothing worthwhile comes cheap, otherwise you would not put a high value on it would you?

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