3.3 Mastering Inner Demons
Since we discussed Fear as the limiter of our actions, what about actions that serve the wrong purpose entirely? For instance, what makes you wake up and embark on a sunrise job and resist the temptation of a lazy ice cream breakfast? Every choice has immediate and long term consequences and the highest pursuit of morality is choosing that which creates the most good over the spectrum of its consequences. This does not prohibit the occasional rush of ice cream for breakfast, but it forces us to look harder at why we’re making the choices that we are.
I’ll offer an example that happened to me while writing this.
After a few days of great progress, I took a step back to admire my handiwork. That night, I thought of a new innovation to the story that would be even more brilliant! I spent all night reworking my outline, spinning threads to wrap my story around this new axle. After obsessing over this for a full day, I realized with grievance that I was cannibalizing my entire work to make room for this spontaneous suggestion. I suddenly recognized this disappointing episode as the symptoms of an old habit of mine.
I’ve learned that when it feels like I’m chasing something and it seems beyond reach, when pushing harder just leads to more frustration, is when I need to let go and re-center. After that, I usually find what I’m looking for right in front of me. I was listening to one of my old demons, the paternal judgement seat of Saturn, telling me that what I had wasn’t good enough, that I had to push harder.
The act of putting my work on a pedestal created a thought loop that gave one of my familiar demons a foothold to hijack my perspective. One small break in flow-consciousness and the egoistic mind took over.
So how are we supposed to survive if these demons can disguise themselves as our own desires? How can we know pain from pleasure when so many promises of reward leave us empty? How can we distinguish right from wrong when doing the right thing can be so hard and humiliating? Our mind gets confused trying to settle these esoteric issues with pure logic. For moral issues have many dimensions and are slippery to pin down, we’d drive ourselves crazy in the process
These are hard distinctions and can only be weighed with the divine intuition that comes from an open heart and mind. Safe-guarded from the murmur of inner demons springing up from the ego.
The work of our religious practice is identifying and neutralizing the demons that would hijack our sense of purpose in ways that are not self-serving. Early on in my pursuit, after I had rejected the dogma of my Christian upbringing, I went to the other side of the fence to claim there was no god, no supernatural, no soul. In my mind, I was the genuine truth-seeker and felt justified attacking anyone who would challenge me with their watery black and white. Just as I thought I had reached the paramount of liberation, someone shocked me with an incisive observation, “You know, you haven’t changed, you’re still dogmatic but just for the other side.” They were right, I had made the same mistake twice, it was a response of fear, clinging to absolutes while the real issue slipped right out of my hand.
Whenever we feel ourselves abandoning our intuition, slipping into the abusive dogma of these demons, we must pause to consider: are we still the master of our free will? Or are we serving our greed, our shame, or another egoic phantom?
“Much that passes as idealism is disguised hatred or disguised love of power.”
As we strive to stay unified with source and work to align our universe with it, what dragons must we slay, what remedies must we carry, what alliances must we forge to sojourn on? Spoken more plainly, our spiritual practice must follow the mantras, symbols and rituals to defend against these inner demons.
It must be customized to our spiritual identity, and the icons we meditate on compensatory to our weaknesses. You must constantly be aware of who you really are, your motivations, and the thoughts you wish to serve and the deities can you call on to bring them to life. We can invoke these archetypes to ground us specifically where we need anchoring.
Posts related to this section
Pursuing Perspective – Manifest
- Chapter I – Purpose
- Chapter II – Wisdom
- Chapter III – Clarity