I did not want to get off the bus. It was awful; the ground was infested with bugs that looked like big black cockroaches. We had decided to take a two day trip to San Agustin to visit ‘Valle de la luna’ (Moon Valley). A guide from the hostel would be meeting us at the bus station and take us to our room.
We arrived at around 11:00pm and as soon as we got off the bus we were surrounded by a river of cockroaches. Those things can move pretty fast, they had me dancing around trying to avoid them.
OMG! The guide was going to lead us to the hostel by foot. I ran straight back into the bus station, I was going to turn back. The next bus back to San Juan was at 1:00pm the following day. There were no taxis, nothing! The only way out was to walk through the plaza of cockroaches to get to the hostel.
I danced my whole way there. I created a new yabba dabba doo Fred Flintstone dance. Who knew I could do the tango! There were people sitting in the plaza, talking, eating ice cream, going for a walk. Could they not see the bugs? They were all over!
When we finally got to the hostel, I couldn’t sleep, what if one was caught inside my suitcase? What if they were crawling in the bed sheets? I heard voices coming from the rest area. The other visitors were hanging out together. I got up to join them, there was no way I would fall asleep.
I met a few Europeans and two other North Americans. Someone commented on how disgusting it was to live with all these bugs.”How did the people of San Agustin do it!” A girl from Germany answered in a polite tone, “this is what they know, it is not unusual for them, it is part of their society, therefore, are accustomed to the nature of their village.” It made me think. She was absolutely right! I was taught to believe that what I know is real and normal from the surroundings of my society. It does not mean that what I know is better.
I am reminded of the parable of Plato’s Cave (Allegory of the Cave). A group of people were raised chained in a cave facing a blank wall. They watched shadows of things passing in front of a fire behind them. This was the only reality they knew. One of the prisoners was freed from the cave; he comes to understand how the shadows do not make up reality. When he comes back to tell the others, they don’t believe him, the shadows on the wall were the only reality they had ever known, to them, that was the only reality that would ever exist…
In Canada, our winters are cold, hard and long. The temperature can get as low as -20 degrees below zero and it can snow up to twenty cm at a time. For the people in the village of San Agustin, those conditions are a lot worse than living with bugs everywhere. They could not even imagine how anyone could live through that kind of weather.
There is so much out there we do not know, when we open ourselves up to discover new things, we may find that we have been cheating ourselves. We limit ourselves to the beliefs that are engraved in our minds through outside influences. What we believe is so much stronger than the truth of what is out there. This has an impact on our life choices.You may have always dreamed of being a painter, an artist, a dancer, a photographer… However, we are raised to believe that these are not real jobs, they don’t pay the bills. Your beliefs have lead you to where you are today. Beliefs however, can be re-learned. Take the time to ask yourself why do you believe in something? Who made you believe it? What impact does it have on your life? You will probably realize that you are limited by your beliefs. You have the power to decide to change your beliefs and your life.
How do you know that what you know is real? And why? How do you see others whose reality is not like yours? Let me know your response to these questions, looking forward to reading them.
I have included a link to a post by Paulo Coelho. It is brilliant! Let me know how you interpret his message. I would love to hear your insight!
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