Through clouds and fire and storms we see into the depths of our souls. Any slightest upset can make us feel as if those ancient words “There be dragons” have come alive inside us. We want what we want and if we don’t get it, our inner dragons roar. We demand to be given what we don’t have. We often don’t need the things we crave. Sometimes it causes us to pull out our emotional spears and poke away. We go at the beast inside until we are either exhausted or think we have achieved the goal we wanted.
Not that the dragons are dead. As long as we give into our desires and want what we do not need, the dragons are alive.
All too easily we find ourselves in the state of sweet hostility. There is a smile on our face and anger in our gut. Our petulance continues to demand that we get what we want. Unaware of the fact that what we want may be the worst thing for us. We refuse to accept life as it is until our wants are satisfied.
Sometimes we get lucky. Rather than getting what we want, someone comes along who holds up a mirror to our eyes. They show us what they see. That we have permitted ourselves to become moody and childish.
We have slipped away from spiritual and emotional sanity.
Most people think of dragons as looking something akin to dinosaurs. Only mythical. Like the fire-breathing creatures than devastate cities and countryside alike of medieval romances. Much as we think of dragons as they are depicted in the West. Much as our dragons of desire devour our souls.
When we see dragons in movies or television shows, they are the devouring creatures from ancient European mythologies. The murderous dragons of Beowulf. Ajatar, the mother of Satan and serpents, who brings disease and pestilence.
In Asia dragons are symbols of power, strength and good luck. Dragons in ancient China were the symbol of the emperor’s power. Imagine one Westerner telling another that they wished that person’s child “will become a dragon”. It is yet another concept that does not easily translate. The meaning is that we hope for strength and good fortune for that young life.
It is a concept which leads me to think how wonderful it would have been had people wished that upon my parents. What a compliment!
How many of us would wish to have the strength, beauty and nobility seen in Asian depictions of dragons? And, rather than have pestering natures, to be calm and wise?
Listening to our better angels — as opposed to listening to our inner demons — our spiritual shackles fall away. All that is required of us is to take actions opposite to those we’ve chosen in the past. Prior choices did us no favors. Our wants and desires shackled us. They put us in handcuffs and irons, tossing us into spiritual prisons of our own making.
Stop going after the big things you don’t need. When you listen to your better angels, it doesn’t mean you have to make huge global changes in a hurry. None of us can do more than make incremental changes.
Take one small step. When that is successful, take another. Move forward in your spiritual life with all deliberate speed. Nobody ever promised any external goal.
The point is precisely that. There is no external goal. The spiritual Olympics are not the Olympics. In the Olympics people from across the world compete against each other for medals made of earth and dust.
There is no one to compete against in the spiritual Olympics. We do not even compete against ourselves.
We move forward bit by bit. There are others around us who, when we become aware of the fact, have been there all along. Human and angel, they urge us forward. They lift us, support us and are our greatest cheerleaders.
They are the ones us who lead us to inner calm and sanity. They are the ones who teach us to stop pestering our inner dragons. To relieve ourselves of our discomforts, our unhappiness.
Our spiritual companions are the ones who, even in the middle of the night, point us to spiritual light.