By Katie Ammon
In our “Winning in the Game of Life” class at Earthsong we have been talking about the subject of reconnecting with our divine essence or soul. In the discussion we learned that we all begin life with a strong tie to soul, which seems to loosen and appears lost after years of being acclimated to society. When we reach a certain stage of life or have a crisis, we may start to have trouble finding meaning in our lives. That is when the search for connection to spirit begins. To do this we have to work to heal our wounds. Due to our many wounds, we have set up patterns of avoidance and denial. So healing involves being honest with ourselves about our pain, revisiting the past and the excess baggage we are still carrying in our emotional and mental bodies. Then we can journal or talk to someone about our issues, and maybe resolve them. Through this process, we will hopefully develop the wisdom to heal enough to reunite with our soul.
While sitting in class, I found myself thinking how strikingly similar our journey through this process is to the story of “The Lion King”. As in all of our stories, the story of the young lion starts when Simba was born. Like all new infants, he was inherently linked to his soul light that attracted much attention. He grew and in his innocence was easily duped into believing whatever he was told. In a similar manner, being young, we had no concept of separateness and trusted what we learned from the grownups around us. Just like us, once Simba began to explore his environment, he found the world wasn’t always such a pleasant place.
Although his father, Mufasa tried to explain to Simba that as the king’s son he needed to follow certain rules, Simba enjoyed exploring his world and taking risks which put him and his friends in danger. As young people, we too, throwing “caution to the wind” believe we have unlimited power and knowledge, engaging in risky behavior and sometimes putting ourselves and others in danger. In the story, these beliefs caused a tragedy. Through a misadventure, Simba and his father got caught up in a stampede, and Mufasa died trying to rescue Simba. While our own lives may not have as harsh a crisis as Simba’s, things happen that we too lose our sense of innocence, knowing and indestructibility.
When we are very young, we are sent into schools and into other environments where we are trained to fit into society. Sometimes we can fit in with this agenda but there always seems to be something we failed to succeed at. In Simba’s case, his Uncle Scar, hoping to take over the Prideland, blamed Simba for his father’s death. Simba, being too young and inexperienced, believed his uncle and withdrew in guilt and pain. We, too, with life crises, feel inadequacy, guilt or sorrow as we begin to doubt ourselves and start to lose our soul connection. Simba, feeling burdened by his uncle’s accusations, retreated into the desert from his life in the Prideland. We also have withdrawn our soul light, either through our own actions or those of others, as we get too caught up in our pain and guilt, forgetting the source we came from.
Simba was found by Pumbaa, the warthog, and Timon, the meerkat, who decided to take him to their home in the jungle. Since these two also had trouble fitting in with others, they teach Simba to leave his troubles behind him and not to spend time worrying about the past. Like Simba, we also search for a place to fit in as we deny our past and begin the struggle to maintain or daily lives, just surviving. During the time Simba stayed with Pumbaa and Timon he focused on his day to day life, forgetting where he came from. Unfortunately for us, being engrossed in our daily struggles and survival does not fill our need for a fulfilling life. We, too, forget where we came from.
Meanwhile, with Simba gone, his Uncle Scar mismanaged the Prideland so badly that it became a wasteland, with no game or foliage. The Prideland had become void of life and color. The inhabitants were having difficulties surviving. It is like our lives when we do not seek to fulfill our lives with challenges, time to connect with nature and other things that spark our interest. Soon our lives start to feel empty and meaningless, like a wasteland.
Simba grew and matured, living day to day in the jungle. While out hunting one day, he crossed paths with his childhood friend, Nala. She told him of the devastation of the Prideland and the rule of his uncle. Nala tried to get Simba to return to his kingdom. But Simba, still living in guilt and fear, refused to return home. We, also, come to a time in our lives when we are no longer entangled by the daily highs and lows of drama, or the need to fit in, but are still fearful of facing our past. Not knowing how to resolve the pain we also remain in our daily rut. Similarly, we may be triggered by another person, our inner self, a loss, a sudden realization or a life crisis of some sort. This is when we begin our search for a soul connection.
After his time with Nala, Simba went walking in the grassland when Rafiki the baboon came to him. Rafiki, the court wizard, showed great wisdom when he challenged Simba. He told Simba that he was confused and called him a baboon. Simba told Rafiki he was not a baboon. Then Rafiki said, “I know you, your Mufasa’s boy.”
Simba told him, “My father died a long time ago.” Rafiki told him, “He is alive. I’ll take you to him.” Rafiki took him to a lake and showed him his own reflection. Simba looked at it and said, “It is just my reflection.” “Look closer…you see…He lives, he lives in you.” Suddenly, Simba saw an image of his father in the stars and heard this message from his dead father: “…You have forgotten who you are, so you have forgotten me. Look inside yourself, you are more than what you have become. Remember you are the son of the one true king…you must take your place in the circle of life. Remember who you are…remember… remember…remember.”
Rafiki told Simba to go back to his rightful place. Simba argued that if he went back he would have to face his past and his pain. Rafiki replied “Yes, the past can hurt. But you can run from it, or learn from it.”
The story ended when Simba returned to his home. There he challenged his uncle in a battle and won. He finally regained his kingdom.
Similarly, in our own lives we have to revisit the initial problems and reassess our thoughts and feelings about what or who caused our pain from a more mature standpoint. From that more adult view, we may see what caused us pain was only part of life or related to someone else’s lack of understanding or judgment. By finding the wisdom in ourselves and finally resolving past issues, we find it easier to connect to our soul light.
Like Simba, it takes us a little time before we find our own wisdom. For Simba, it came to him in the form of the court wizard, Rafiki, the baboon. For us it may take longer, as we try to acquire more knowledge and learn to apply that knowledge to our lives until it becomes natural wisdom. Eventually, we learn to accept that we are part of the divine source and can take our own place “in the circle of life.”