Author Emmett Fox tells a story of a man who became a prisoner for some misdeed that angered the King of his particular country. He was arrested and shut up in a dungeon beneath the castle. A ferocious-looking jailer carrying a long key escorted the man down a dark stairway. The door of the cell was opened, and the man was thrust into a dark hole. The door shut with a bang, and there he was.
He lay in that dark dungeon for twenty years. Each day the jailer would come, the big door would be opened with a great creaking and groaning, a pitcher of water and a loaf of bread would be thrust into the cell and the door closed again.
After twenty years the prisoner decided that he could not stand it any longer. He wanted to die but he did not want to commit suicide, so he decided that the next day when the jailer came he would attack him. The jailer would then kill him in self-defense, and thus his misery would be at an end.
To prepare for the next day, he decided to examine the door carefully. When the prisoner went to the door, he caught the handle and turned it. To his amazement the door opened, and upon investigation he found that there was no lock and never had been. For those twenty years he had not been locked in ... except in belief.
At any time during that period, he could have opened the door and been free. He thought it was locked, but it was not. He groped along the corridor and felt his way upstairs. At the top of the stairs two soldiers were chatting, and they made no attempt to stop him. He crossed the great yard without attracting attention. The armed guard on the drawbridge at the great gate paid no attention to him, and he walked out a free man.
He went home untouched and lived happily ever after. He realized that he could have left at any time throughout those long years since his arrest if he had known enough, but he did not. He was a captive, not of stone and iron, but of false belief. He was not locked in; he only thought he was imprisoned.
In may be safe to say that we all are prisoners, to some extent, of own making. We may find ourselves imprisoned by anger, resentment, remorse, or the belief that there are no other options for us in our lives and jobs -- that we are locked into doing what we are currently doing.
What kind of prison might you be living in that you would like to get out of? Remember, the prison is in our thoughts and the key to our release is the desire to be freed from limiting thoughts.
"Today I am reaching out and pushing the door open, and escaping from my own prison into a new day and new life."
By Mary Rau-Foster
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