Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Living with Angels and Demons

We all know that humans have the capacity to act in ways somewhere between the extremes of good and evil and even the non-believers among us recognize that at best we get only mixed reviews for the way we conduct ourselves in the social domain. Even the steadiest of believers if they are at all honest will tell you that they have to fight King Demon day in and day out in between the periodic showers of blessings so that they often feel both forces pulling their frail corporeal frames apart in the battle. Their tired faces are everywhere, in doctors' offices, at work, on the war-front, and in the grips of cruelty and poverty. We acknowledge their existence and ask, why? And growing out from this disconsolation are the businesses that tap into huge markets of folks ready for the pickin' by enterprising individuals touting their latest natural or pharmaceutical remedies or the latest religious twist on how to get and keep blessings coming fast and strong. People wallow in their inability to earn a decent income, to lose weight, to gain weight, (haven't heard much from this camp) to get healthier or feel less stressed through their days which is something like catching a butterfly or a sunbeam that frustratingly becomes more and more tiring and elusive. We remind ourselves of our blessings and give thanks for what we have but we also feel the fear of losing them. As we age we tend to contemplate death more and either try to avoid the subject or try to face it head on as we watch ourselves and those we care for slowly getting a bit less physically able to do the things which used to be done without having as much as a pinch of pain. Passion begins to slip a little further from our awareness and the reality of life's impermanence moves a little further forward.

If the Angels and Demons couldn't traverse through our mind's eye we just might be in a sorry state indeed. They remind us that beyond the physical world there is also another, more subtle reality than consciousness assumes and we learn to trust that which is hidden and not easily observable. We learn to ignore the Demons that rage in our heads and put up shields to counter what they whisper in our ears and then overly rely on our Angels to get us through but it is acceptance that is the great lesson for our lives and we strive to attain the peace it offers because the alternative is blatant despair. It is a state we grow into when we become less hard on others and on ourselves, more tolerant of our neighbors' foibles and more patient in finding some inner balance and peace with all the conflicting traits that make us who we are. When we are young we struggle with things like our identities, how we measure up as potential friends and mates and how we rank within the social and economic order, our parents and our bosses' expectations, and sometimes, just how we are going to make it to survive the next day and after all that we start with the guilt trips about how others have it so much worse than we do and that we have no right being such complainers.

Now that I'm a bit older and roughly halfway through my semi-psychotic journey through this earthly plane I find I have no real solid answers for myself concerning the vagaries of life let alone having them for others who might happen to ask me. A few people and their words have had more of a positive impression on me than others but maybe that's just because I haven't run into a situation yet which would have brought them to mind. I have felt neither great love or great hate for anything or anybody and have tried to be open-minded to the ideas and idiosyncrasies of others and seek neither to curse or bless the Demons or the Angels because they seem to have come along with the package when we came into this world. If it gets too hot in the kitchen, I figure it's just better to leave it due to my usually non-confrontational temperament and that mindset seems to have served me well.

So follow your own road, take some time along the way to gather your strength and breath and keep a moderate distance between both the Angels and the Demons. They're there to make us human, just don't let either one of them take over and run your life because life will be complicated either with or without them. You'll probably have enough on your plate trying to take care of yourself and your own anyway without having to worry about taking care of either of them.

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