When I am miserable, nothing, not riches, nor prestige nor a change in
circumstances,nothing can change my interior unhappiness.
Ah, we love to make fun of those in love, the young and the naive who view the world through rose-coloured glasses but what about the rest of us, those of us who wear dung-coloured glasses? We should chuckle just as loudly when we realize this tendency to see darkly. When I am miserable, nothing, not riches, nor prestige or a change in circumstances, nothing can change my interior unhappiness.
There is a scene at the end of C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narniathat has stayed with me for decades. The fictitious characterization of the grumpy, miserable dwarves taught me about my own dung-coloured glasses because their perception of reality was so obviously skewed, their behaviour hilariously outrageous. This scene is an example of what cognitive therapy tries to teach us about the power of our presumptions to imprison us in misery. Our paradigms prevent us from experiencing a new life when it is offered to us.
The enemies of Aslan have imprisoned the children, a few animals, Prince Caspian, as well as disgruntled dwarves in a shed that is dank and dark, filled with putrid straw, stale water and rotten cabbages to eat. A war against the evil forces rages outside. Outwardly, it seems that all is lost, yet the children, Prince and animals hold on to the belief that Aslan, who is a Christ figure, will come and save Narnia. Of course the dwarves mock their ridiculous faith.
Suddenly Aslan appears, vanquishes the enemy and the back of the prison crumbles revealing a glorious sight. It is Narnia, but more resplendent, filled with a radiant light. Everything is more colourful, beautiful, fragrant. It is a resurrected Narnia. Heaven has come to earth. A table, covered with a white cloth and laden with delicacies, beckons them.
Everyone celebrates by feasting on the delicious food laid out before them as they delight in the beauty all around. The dwarves, hang back suspicious and mistrustful. When they finally venture a nibble of a delicacy they spit it out in disgust. All they taste is stale water and rotten cabbages . All they see is the dark, dank prison.The grumpy dwarves refuse this new life that the other characters are enjoying right beside them.