It is futile to save the starving millions if a generation later the food resources of the planet are insufficient to save the children of those originally rescued. The real problem is overpopulation or population growth in the areas of the world least able to support it.
The possibility of nuclear weapons being used has loomed over the heads of the world’s population for some time with no solution in sight as more nations join the nuclear “club.” The real problem is human beings seeing other human beings in some way different; they “appear” to be the other and therefore a threat.
Threats to the environment on which humanity is totally dependent are understandably alarming. The real problem is large populations in the “emerging nations” which are insisting on the same standard of living as those in the most prosperous nations.
There are other serious problems but the point we want to make is that we are failing to distinguish symptoms from problems, and even when we do, the solutions advocated for that problem are only short term and hence no solution at all in the long run. There is an underlying mega-problem that gives rise to all of the relative problems that we find so frightening and which we find ourselves incapable of addressing in a realistic and rational way. Or maybe I’m not seeing this whole picture correctly. Maybe it’s just me!
Given the myriad problems facing us, with their seeming complexity and enormity, should we shrink and flee from the dragon of the human condition and our own suffering? That would be premature until we see how we are armed. The dragon’s terrifying weapons are plain enough for many of us to see but nothing compared to the power that each of us will find in our arsenal. Take heart my friends we are about to unveil the formidable strengths of the human dragon slayers.
First, we will survey the field of battle, the lay of the land and possible tactics and strategies. Secondly, and equally important, acknowledge the mistakes that have been made in previous and alas disastrous encounters with the wily lizard (our own false self).
The history of human battlefield catastrophes has revealed an essentially remedial approach to victory, that is to say, trying to correct problems too late in the campaign; closing the barn door, as it were, as we watch the rear end of the horse fade from view. These “back end” solutions have not worked so now we will use the “front end” approach. How will we head off the problems before they become problems, slay the dragon before he knows what hit him? We will do this with what are called “insights.”
Insights are penetrating and elucidating glimpses into the nature of reality, which can include how to slay a dragon. Having glimpsed the enormity of the dragon, some of us will doubt our ability to overcome such a foe. How do we discern the true nature of the challenge that we face? There seems to be little room for error. It’s true that we may not be sufficiently in touch with our own insights as of yet. So luckily, we have access to the wisdom of other dragon slayers who can be our allies until we become skillful enough to fight our own battle with our own unique wizardry.
Like troops lining up on both our right and left ready to be deployed, we can take stock of our talented friends sparkling with insights. They include mystics, poets, seers and trumpeted wisdom from the Implicate Order. These battle-tested warriors have never been defeated and left in their wake a vast graveyard of dragons with their ghosts fading into the moaning mist.
Buddha, himself, the son of a great warrior teaches us how to head off the aggressive onslaughts of the dragon. When we stop surrendering prematurely to our cravings and aversions we deprive the enemy of the ability to sap our confidence. Insight (Vipassana) meditation makes us invisible to the enemy as we refuse to react to his weapons associated with our body, mind and emotions. The dragon ends up on a foggy battlefield flailing at imaginary images.
Jesus reveals for us in his parables our True self which is pure compassion. His heartfelt teaching of love thyself, love thy neighbor and love Creation (God) shows the absence of any separation among all of the elements of a beautiful and shimmering tapestry that we too often see as separate and threatening fragments. A unified Creation is a flawless defense against illusion.
The clairvoyant, Edgar Cayce, also champions the worldview of Oneness as an indispensable principle in achieving a victory over human ignorance that gives the dragon of our fears an edge on the battlefield promoting darkness over light. In his advice that we “watch the self go by,” he is urging a separation between a false self and a True self identity. Once the True self is fully brought into consciousness, there is no longer room for the old delusional identity.
J. Krishnamurti in a single cogent sentence sums up the secret of always eluding the enemy. “I don’t mind what’s happening,” means that by choosing response over reaction, we always remain one step ahead of the dragon. We never engage the enemy on his terms but lead him on a wild goose chase until he is utterly exhausted and defeated.
Nisargadatta Maharaj has three potent and deadly weapons hanging on his warrior’s belt. “Have nothing. Do Nothing. Know nothing.” By refusing to fight where, when and how the dragon chooses we leave the enemy lost and bewildered. Our enigmatic behaviors reveal our refusal to accept the beliefs, attitudes and values of the old P-B story. We have shifted location to a place beyond the reach of the enemy. We will no longer be seduced into using the dragon’s tactics of materialism, competition and intellectual achievements as the survival strategy for our lives.
The wisdom of our next two allies arrived via “automatic writing.” Seth who was channeled by Jane Roberts, makes clear that we must understand that we “create our own reality.” We are in charge of the battlefield where we are currently suffering so many ignominious defeats. We simply have not been deploying our full battlefield capacities. If we lose the fight against the dragon emerging from our own shadow, it will be because we lacked the will and courage to take the field.
A Course in Miracles was channeled by research psychologist Helen Schucman. From the perspective of the Course, the dragon is the human mind. “These deeper regions of the mind are filled with tumultuous forces, churning with buried pain [our shadow] and hidden motives [the energy centers of the false-self survival strategy].”
The purpose of the Course is to keep us from being swallowed by the dragon of our own self-destructive tendencies by training the mind. The Course could be thought of as a DI, a drill instructor, to train and discipline our troops before we take the field. We could all use a little discipline and motivation.
We lay waste our power
Getting and spending
Little we see in nature that is ours
We have given our hearts away. Wordsworth
Wordsworth reminds us that the dragon is a heartless beast bereft of wisdom and the ability to understand tactics and strategy. Unable to read a battlefield map, the dragon, although appearing otherwise to our senses, is powerless. For eons humanity has been impotent and paralyzed with fear because we have depended on the intellect in our struggle against the dragon. The warrior who takes the field, strengthened by the power that flows from the present moment, cannot fail to win. Such a warrior will find only a shrinking mirage of a dragon, starving and emaciated after he has withdrawn all nourishment from the beast that he had created but now abandons. We have taken our hearts back.
And finally, we include a modern, mainstream, conventional therapist telling us how to vanquish our personal dragons just to remind us that the wisdom of Simple Reality is everywhere and present within everyone. Dr. William Glasser (1925-2013) in his more than 24 books taught that mental health was a matter of personal choice. “By avoiding the urge to blame others [creating the non-existent other], or to relive past hurts, Dr. Glasser asserted, people could find happiness essentially by choosing behaviors that improved their relationships, and increased their chances for happiness.” Psychology would today call those choices “behavior modification.”
How are our dragons vanquished? We simply stop feeding them, stop acknowledging what doesn’t exist. Just let them starve to death on the battlefield. Without our constantly keeping the old narrative and the old identity alive by choosing to continue to react, the whole illusion will gradually fade away and we will gradually wake up. The battlefield will be transformed into a field of flowers.
The Simple Reality Project will eventually include 10 books with hundreds of articles and essays intended to support any committed person in their process of dragon (false self) slaying and Self-transformation. It is our belief and our experience that we are all capable of creating for ourselves a heaven on earth and in doing so contributing to the creation of a sustainable human community. But, on the other hand, maybe it’s just me.
References and notes are available for this essay.
Find a much more in-depth discussion in books by Roy Charles Henry:
Who Am I? The Second Great Question Concerning the Nature of Reality
Where Am I? The First Great Question Concerning the Nature of Reality
Simple Reality: The Key to Serenity and Survival