The Monster In The Closet

When I was boy I was convinced there were monsters in my closet. It didn’t matter that they were not there when the lights were on or that Mom and Dad assured me that there were no monsters there. What, were they kidding? I saw them! If I neglected to close the closet door before getting into bed they would appear, all sorts of creatures in the shadows of clothing. It would take an enormous amount of effort to build up the courage to jump out of bed and run to the light switch before they got me. Monsters never appear in the light! Making it safely to the switch I would close the door and go to sleep peacefully.No monster is the equal of a hollow core, sliding door.

Childish fantasy right? Well… maybe.

If you have ever done any reading about how the eyes and the brain actually work you would have been as amazed as I to have found that what the eye sees is actually quite a fuzzy, pixelated image. The detail that we so love is actually filled in by the brain. The image we “see” is actually a creation in the brain as a response to the limited information it is receiving from the eye.

Hmmm, an image generated in the brain based on incomplete information. Of course, we insist that it is really there as we see it. The fact that is overlooked for children is that they really do see those monsters, as well as imaginary friends, angels. and others. Their little brains are actually creating the image, given the incomplete information that it receives from the shadowy shape of clothes in a dark closet and its incomplete belief system to “tell” it what to see.

We disregard the child’s experience because we as adults “know better”. Which only means our belief systems are thoroughly in place and we have been conditioned to discard certain information in preference for other information. In other words, we have conditioned the brain to present the picture we have as a group decided is “real”.

So how much of my world is made up? How much of it appears the way it does simply because I expect it to? What are the rules that the brain is applyng to create the detailed picture I “see” out of the undetailed fragments the eye actually does see. If what I “see” as the world is actually just an image in my brain, generated from these foregone conclusions, based on very incomplete information then what am I actually seeing? People used to see gods in the sky, in the mountains, in plants and animals. Now we say rubbish to that and instead see systems, patterns and laws. Is it really all that different?

Is that image telling us the truth or are we just experiencing the adult equivalent of monsters in the closet?


About GP Walsh

GP Walsh is a spiritual teacher, life coach, personal growth facilitator, speaker, author and workshop leader.
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One Response to The Monster In The Closet

  1. Warren Smith says:

    This reminds me of the principle metaphor in one of my favourite books, Monsters & Magical Sticks by the late Steven Heller. Heller told of his young son who was convinced there was a monster lurking in the closet. Heller was a former student of Milton Erikson and had learned from Erikson the art of changing people’s belief systems through the use of metaphor and stories. Heller found a baseball bat and decorated it material such as crepe paper and glitter dust and he attached a star cut from cardboard and covered in silver foil. He told his son he had bought a magical stick or wand. He took his son to the bedroom and proceeded to zap the monster in closet with the magical stick and his son watched on. He told his young son to keep the magical stick next to the to bed, just in case the monster came back. It never did.

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