I recently visited an amazing site north of Dublin, Ireland known as the Belvedere House. The House was built in the early 1700’s by Lord Robert Belvedere, known as the Wicked Earl. The theme of the experience of the visit was jealousy, because Belvedere House is most famous for a “folly” named The Jealousy Wall. A “folly” is a structure that has no practical benefit and exists solely for decoration. The Jealousy Wall was built so the Lord didn’t have to look at his brother George’s house nearby that was bigger and grander than the Lord’s House. To spice things up, George resented Robert because George had courted the Lady Belvedere before her marriage to Robert.
The Lord was known as the Wicked Earl because he imposed house arrest on his wife, not allowing her any visitors for a total of 31 years. He believed that she had an affair with his third brother Arthur that had produced the Lord’s third son. The fact that Robert and the Lady Belvedere had black hair while Arthur had blond hair was a concern for Robert and when George wrote Robert that the Lady Belvedere had been seen on numerous occasions with brother Arthur (which was untrue), Robert believed the worst and imprisoned his wife. So we have a jealous brother, a jealous husband and a victimized wife and child. And we wonder where romantic Victorian novels come from.
After 31 years of isolating his wife, the Wicked Earl went on to meet his maker and the son went to free his mother, who he hadn’t seen in 17 years. The mother did not recognize her son and had to be convinced by family and friends that she was free to leave her house. The mother asked “Is the tyrant dead?” It is ironic that she would ask this question because the real tyrant that imprisons us all is the mind.
Ancient wisdom known as “the teachings” states that we create our reality for our own enlightenment. Most people would look at this story and instantly feel animosity for the Earl and sympathy for the wife. Some would buy into the melodrama of the story and not look for the truth of the story, which has nothing to do with the surface themes of abuse, false imprisonment and victimhood.
There are spiritual metaphors running all through this story. Betrayal, abandonment, rejection, guilt, shame, blame and jealousy as well as the imprisoning nature of wealth are obvious. The Lady had three children who did nothing to help her. The reason for this is that they were afraid that the Wicked Earl would disinherit them. However, this story is not about the corrupting power of money although it is certainly present. This is about the illusions of life and how our attachment to melodrama causes suffering. In other words, the “Tyrant” is metaphorically our minds that imprison us with our false beliefs and suffering. Thus, the question “Is the Tyrant dead?” takes on a greater importance to our well-being and blissful existence.
After touring the house and grounds, I went to take a nap overlooking the lake at Belvedere House. As I dozed, I had a vision about a conversation between two stars shining brightly above the planet Earth. Let’s us call them X and Y, their real names are unpronounceable. These stars were divine beings who come to Earth over and over to bring us enlightenment. They take the form of humans to play roles for their own enlightenment as well as roles for others.
X said to Y, “Wow, that was a stellar performance as Lady Belvedere. I bet you get a divine award for that role.” Y replied, “X, you were absolutely brilliant as Lord Belvedere. I haven’t seen you do so well since you played Cleopatra and I played Julius Caesar.”
At that moment, a comet went speeding by and X called out: “Hailey! I haven’t seen you in ages! How are you?” Hailey replied: “Well, you know us comets, what goes around comes around!” Y said, “really funny Hailey, your karmic humor is getting really good!” Hailey said: “Thanks Y! You know God really liked your Lord and Lady Belvedere…I hear he is going to send you back as Adolf Hitler and a young Jewish girl who survives the concentration camps. God wants the humans to wake up and heal this victim consciousness that has infected planet Earth. Did you know that humans are still buying into the illusion that you acted out for them?”
X said: “Surely not, I thought Y’s performance would have brought them to their senses.” Hailey said:”Nope, in fact, X, everybody thinks you were wicked and Y was so victimized.” “Oh for Chrissake ,” said X. A far off start started winking. “I wasn’t calling you, JC,” said X. The far off star steadied. “You would think somebody would have seen through the illusion”, said Y. “Well, SGB, JC and DO’N know what it was all about, but unfortunately it went over a lot of people’s heads. They think it was all the Lord’s fault”, said Hailey. “When will people understand that jealousy, greed, money, blame and shame are all illusions for their enlightenment?” said Y. “Someday,” said Hailey and it sped off again.
X turned to Y and said, “When will those humans quit feeling sorry for each other and realize that they are actually stars like us?” Y twinkled and said, “I hope not soon, we would then have to stop coming to Earth and having so much fun being victims. I can’t wait to be Adolf Hitler, everyone will really hate him!” X twinkled back, “I know, I know, you get all the good victim roles, although this Jewish woman who survives the Holocost ought to wake people up about the illusion of victimhood! Although sometimes I think these humans are attached to their suffering, they cling to it so hard! If only they would look up to us sometimes and remember who they really are…”
I woke up and smiled, then got back on the bus….