How about those tales when a hero is sent off on a quest?
You know the ones – in order to achieve his aim (and it’s usually a ‘him’), the hero has to go through all types of struggles.
Maybe he has to fight a dragon.
Or find his way through an inhospitable landscape.
Or out-wit an evil witch.
All of which he does, often with the help of a side-kick he picks up along the way, or a mentor that he meets.
Usually he’s got some tools that make his tasks easier too – things like enchanted swords or invisible cloaks.
Have you ever wondered what quest you’re on? Or who’s there to help you out? And what tools you’ve got at your disposal?
After all, we’re all the heros of our own lives.
Which means we’re all on a quest, with dragons to fight and inhospitable landscapes to traverse.
It means that none of us is alone and we’ve all got the tools necessary to do the job.
All that’s required is that we work out what our aim is, and then go for it.
If your aim is enlightenment, then be prepared to traverse your internal world because enlightenment is not something you find ‘out there’.
It’s not found in the writings of other people, or in the presence of gurus or teachers – although their words and actions may offer signposts along the way.
No, enlightenment is within you.
And when you go within, you’ll discover it’s a scary, scary place to be, because inside is where the devil lurks.
He lives in the darkness of your being – those places you’ve never explored and those places you don’t think exist.
He feeds on your fear, and delights in your denials.
But don’t get hung up on his name, or the images that name conjures up in your mind, for the devil wears many disguises.
Every culture and every religion has dressed the devil in their own image. No, see past the differing frames of reference. See past the connotations the word calls to mind. See past the box language forces concepts into.
Instead, go within and see what your darkness contains.
And remember that you are a hero on a quest.
Remember what happens when the hero confronts the darkness.
He does not deny it’s presence.
“Dragon? What dragon? I don’t see a dragon!”
Nor does he seek out comfort to make him forget.
“Is that the shining light of the Golden Arches? Maybe I’ll stop for dinner before heading across that swamp.”
The hero does not whine, or blame, or wriggle, or run.
He may be afraid. He may be very afraid. But the hero stands firm and faces what must be faced, owning his quest and his life.
What is it that you must face?
What lies within your darkness?
There are clues scattered all around. You can find them in the morning papers. Or the evening news. You can hear them on talk back radio. Or in the judgements you make of other people.
All that we see before us… all that humanity has ever done… and all that humanity will ever do… the seeds of those actions lie deep within each and every one of us.
So turn around and look within.
Venture into the darkness and dare to dance with the devil.
What are you afraid of?
For the only thing within you, is You. All of You.
And until you can go within and see Your All, how can you look without and truly see it All?
When another makes you angry. Look within.
When another makes you sad. Look within.
When another makes you insecure. Look within.
When another makes you righteous. Look within.
When another makes you mad. Look within.
Look within at the emotion.
Look under the emotion.
Look deeper, and deeper, and deeper.
For it is only in diving into the depths will you come face to face with yourself.
Devil and all.