• eric aspen marley

The Puppeteer: A Parable

A man was invited to attend a shadow puppet show. It started out well enough, but before long he became upset with the shape of the shadows. They didn't suit his tastes and he wanted to change them.

Three choices came to mind.

He could destroy the source of the light. This would stop the objectionable shadows from being projected to the screen. However, as not all the shadows were disturbing to him, he would be deprived of beauty as well. He knew there was a better way.

The next option was to gain consensus among the theatergoers. As he observed their reactions to the images on the screen, he realized that some cheered at images that he thought were mundane, or even repulsive, while others seemed to agree with his own assessment. Consensus would be difficult to get in the time he had. Besides that, it may not agree with what he felt in his heart.

The third option was in some ways the most attractive. He could take a bat to the images themselves and destroy them. This was desirable because he could demonstrate his rage and righteous indignation as his temper was gratified for all to see. Considering this, it was apparent that this would not be very effective, either. Not only would the pictures continue, but as he went to war with them, the images would be displayed upon himself. This was a horrifying thought.

The man sat in the theater, feeling hopeless. There were beautiful scenes mixed with those so terrible he wondered if he wanted to be there at all. And then another option came to his mind.

He could change the one making the images.

Just as that thought entered his mind, the man looked at his hands. They were bathed in light. A light projector ran silently behind him, beaming a pure but indifferent radiance. A large, white screen was in front of him.

And there he sat, alone in a large and ornate theater.


Friends, the best way to change the world is to change our perceptions and projections. This is deep, internal work. There are real issues "out there," to be sure. No doubt about that. No amount of burying our heads in soft, comfortable, dark sand will change this fact. And sometimes the most effective method definitely is to work on the issue as it presents. But these issues do not materialize out of thin air; they are the results of our own perceptions, ideals, and beliefs about the nature of reality.

These are what need to change before meaningful shifts are made to the scenes we observe on the screen. The saying goes, "as within, so without." I believe this is accurate and applies to each of us. No amount of yelling at the news, protesting at large gatherings or asking God or government to rescue us will significantly change anything.

My hope is that you will join with me in the work of continuing to shift our perceptions, which ultimately means healing our wounds and traumas, so we can create the world our hearts know is possible.

(Credit to Jim "Redtail" Collins for relating the story. Photographer unknown.)

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