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Facing our own inner ‘demons’

Discussion in 'Spiritual Formation & Disciplines' started by Mark Dohle, Aug 8, 2020.

  1. Mark Dohle

    Mark Dohle Well-Known Member

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    innerdemons.jpg
    Facing our own inner ‘demons’

    Life is in reality a marathon for us. There are unexpected pressures that arise. Today you can say that many are being asked to face their own inner darkness so that a conscious choice can be made to allow in the light. This world is not a kind place to live, though there is much beauty as well. It is only in the human heart that kindness and compassion can be experienced that overflows from those who seek to become more loving towards themselves as well as others.

    There is much that we read about, or watch on the internet that can evoke reactions that may shock us. Or should I say, that causes pain and inner struggle.

    The other day I read a story, with pictures, of a group of rioters who surrounded a house and were tormenting a woman at her front door. The injustice of it made me aware of what I am capable of when I feel intense emotions over injustice or bullying. It was a powerful emotion of wanting those tormenting, to be tormented not in equal measure, but seven-fold.

    When people become very angry, like this group was, or like I was, it can lead to a great deal of trouble and even destruction. As is being seen at this time in the United States. If compassion dies in the heart, there is nowhere else to experience it.

    For me, as painful as it is to see my own inner darkness is not overly disturbing, but painful. For me, it is a call to deep prayer, to making a conscious, willing choice to open up to grace. One way I do that is to reenter the scene and to make a conscious attempt to pray for those I had feelings of hatred towards based on emotion. I can’t repress the emotions, or if I do, it could be harmful, but I can open up myself to the penetrating gaze of God in trust.|

    Watching violence on YouTube is almost like watching an action film that many men and some women love to watch. Lots of violence, shooting, not much blood, and in the end, everyone knows that it is fantasy. It is not fantasy on YouTube, we are seeing violence and hatred and destruction on a massive scale.

    For me, as painful as it is to see my own inner darkness is not overly disturbing, but painful. For me, it is a call to deep prayer, to making a conscious, willing choice to open up to grace. One way I do that is to reenter the scene and to make a conscious attempt to pray for those I had feelings of hatred towards based on emotion. I can’t repress the emotions, or if I do, it could be harmful, but I can open up myself to the penetrating gaze of God in trust.|

    The other night, I woke up around midnight and these images, along with my desire for revenge were strong. As I was praying, the intuition came to me to seek to enter the life of those I am angry with. Not to excuse, but to grow in understanding. I can’t say I got very far, but as I tried to go deeper into the inner working of the rioters, I began to understand myself on a deeper level.

    What is going on with the BLM riots has a virus-like effect on people. So when I watch the news, I pick up the anger and frustration and it sticks. It sticks because I have wounds that respond to it and I can enter into the mob experience of out of control rage.

    Prayer allows me to enter into the humanity of others, and as I pray for them, I see the same kinds of seeds in me as well. This is a spiritual battle on many levels. How do I respond? Well, I can become like those I wish to attack, losing any real sense of my own tendency towards such things as well, for when angry and out of control, I am always right and have good reasons for my acts of injustice. I do become what I hate, we can become the enemy, doing what we put on them. When we judge, we are looking into a mirror. I may be easy for me to see that in others, but a bit more complicated to see it in myself.

    Whatever happens, I pray that I may continue to depend on the grace to keep my heart open, and when I feel like I am drowning, to be blunt, to grasp hold of Jesus and never let go.

    When we look at groups it is easy to stereotype. When seeking to understand the one in front of me, well stereotypes seldom hold, though it is harder than it sounds.

    Prayer allows me to enter into the humanity of others, and as I pray for them, I see the same kinds of seeds in me as well. This is a spiritual battle on many levels. How do I respond? Well, I can become like those I wish to attack, losing any real sense of my own tendency towards such things as well, for when angry and out of control, I am always right and have good reasons for my acts of injustice. I do become what I hate, we can become the enemy, doing what we put on them. When we judge, we are looking into a mirror. It may be easy for me to see that in others, but a bit more complicated to see it in myself.

    Christians I believe should seek to be peacemakers. Not by being afraid to speak the truth, but to treat others as we wish to be treated. I believe that none of us wishes to be yelled at or shamed. Nor does it lead to any kind of real communication.

    The most loving thing to do, can, in reality, be the hardest.—Br.MD
     
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