Posted on Jan 23, 2012
According to the Chinese calendar, this week heralds the coming of the Year of the Dragon. The Oriental Dragon is regarded as a divine beast. It is said to be a symbol of good fortune and a bringer of health and wealth.
As we move into the year of the Dragon (23rd January, the 4709th year according to Chinese mythology) Chinese communities and many others around the world will be celebrating – and the dancing red dragon will make its appearance as the main feature of the carnival parades.
The Chinese Dragon is much revered as a wise protector, noble and powerful. It is the imperial symbol, an image of vitality, power and wealth.
Yet this mythical creature when it appears in western stories is a fearsome, terrifying beast that needs to be either pacified (by feeding it a sacrifice) or by conquering or killing it. The dragon of these fables is sometimes seen as a symbol for Satan.
The Patron Saint of England, Saint George, another mythical figure, who is invariably depicted on his horse wielding his sword in the act of slaying the dragon.
In fact this myth is thought to have emerged from the ancient Middle East, with its roots going back even further to Greek legend. Saint George, so the story goes, heroically rescued a princess in distress who was about to be devoured by the dragon, and also saved a whole town from the terror of the monster that no-one else could overcome.
It is interesting to note that the same beast (which never actually existed in the real world as far as we know) should have two very opposing sets of attributes.
Could it be that this imaginary beast at its worst reflects what is in each of us? Do we not each have a fire-breathing dragon within, lurking in the shadows, ready to pounce (and punch) at any moment? Is not the human ego capable of producing the same destructive results as a dragon on a rampage? Perhaps the malevolent, evil and hateful elements of human nature have been given a shape, name and form so that we can ‘demonise’ these attributes without having to admit that they are in fact a part of us!
Lust, anger, violence, greed, attachment and ego are very definitely characteristics of human nature today, but are they really part of our original ‘true’ nature? Do we secretly enjoy our inner dragon, and let it loose, breathing fire on unsuspecting others, just to show them who’s boss and who’s in control? Does it sometimes emerge from us when we are not expecting it, or even when we don’t want it to? Our inner dragon certainly seems to have a mind of its own!
It’s not easy coming to terms with our inner ferocious self. Mostly the dragon of the fables shows its head when its need is not met, like food or water. Likewise, we can become irritable, angry and even cruel when we have not fed ourselves the diet of good, positive, peaceful and fulfilling thoughts. Because if we continue to keep this dragon well fed on a diet of criticism, judgement and blame then the stronger and more piercing the fire that will emerge from our mouth and our eyes, the damage which we will often later regret.
St George killed the dragon by piercing it under its wing, where there were no hard scales to protect it. Likewise, it’s only when we let down our own ego-defences that we have a chance to kill the inner dragon. Although others may try and ‘kill’ or ‘tame’ that ego of ours, yet this genuine inner work is something only I can do for myself. And when that moment comes, it is a triumph – no fear, only freedom. We will then have the dragon follow like a meek beast on our leash of victory.
Continue to focus on your gentler and noble self – stop the masquerade. Better than fighting the devil within, is to emerge the magnificent, wise, confident, strong and free-spirited dragon. After all, it is the dragon that you choose to feed that will grow stronger. Like the dancing dragon in the street, be spiritually attractive, flamboyant and one full of life and joy – this aspect of the dragon is also within us. People will not fear you because of your uncontrollable vices, but instead respect you for the command of your virtues.
It’s time… to be strong, courageous and to slay the negative dragon within, that ruthless, demanding, egocentric, defensive, power-mad, foolhardy and pompous inner self and to emerge that dancing spirit, vibrant, magnanimous, charismatic, principled, noble-hearted, healthy and shrewd. Then you can really celebrate!
Share these thoughts! ‘It’s Time…’ is spreading far and wide! Feel free to forward this wisdom, but to avoid any karmic rebound, please acknowledge its source –
‘It’s Time…’ by Aruna Ladva, BK Publications London