You’ve meditated, prayed, and read spiritual texts for years. You’ve worked hard your whole life. You’ve done your absolute best to be a good parent. You’ve exercised and tried to eat right.
Yet, every now and again you are besieged. Your heart is stricken with fear and your head hangs with sadness. This, you suppose, means that all these efforts have been in vain. This, you suppose, means that you need to recover yourself through a spree of gluttony, through a long vacation, through any number of distracting calls into oblivion like television, alcohol, or drugs.
Ah, but take heart when the battle comes. Because it is not purely a battle of you against yourself; just as the whole world is in you, so too the things that are in you are in the world. Society mocks the idea of external evil, yet… where is the line between internal and external?
The sun was now directly overhead, and there were no shadows at all. No shadows. Noon. The Noonday Demon – was this what they meant? “Thou shalt not be afraid of the Noonday Devil,” the scripture said. This feeling of utter despair, of defeat, of knowing that all attempts were worse than pitiful, did not even exist – could this be the Noonday Demon? But it was so different from the other ones, so subtle and ill-defined. It did not seem alien at all, but part of her very own mind.
The Noonday Demon: striking at the very heart of life and action, draining it away, telling her to end her life. It sounded so reasonable when it suggested that she throw herself off the cliff.
And now she could almost see it, could visualize the demon of the hours of highest activity: it was a worm that entered into the heart of effort, a chancre that rotted existence from within, that sapped the very spirit of life at its source.
Mary, Called Magdalene, by Margaret George
Ah, foul beast of dejection! Seeing the worm, let us ready for the fight.
Let us start by securing our fortresses.
Let us seal the cracks in the walls, expel the allies of the Noonday Demon, and fortify ourselves.
Let us get enough sleep each night, so that we might come fresh to the fight. Let us make sure that we drink adequate water, for to be parched in the desert causes the buzzards to circle overhead. Let us eliminate all meat and chemical foods from our diets, reverting to the garden, so that we don’t consume industrialized pain.
Let us repurpose sexual and bodily energy into physical work and creative endeavor. Let us find positive outlets for the physical energy that arises as we recover wellness.
Let us be aware of the emotional blockages that are released as we delve into ourselves in meditation or shed physical weight. For recurring thoughts and excess weight have much in common; they come from that which we have not allowed passage through us. Let us grant all such houseguests passage through our house, that they be on their way.
Let us next seek strength in numbers.
Too often, we romanticize the notion of the independent warrior taking on a great battle by himself or herself. Jesus overcame the devil, Buddha denied Mara. Yet, let us not insist on such power for purely private victory – these are our champions, but we have perhaps not yet practiced enough to do as they.
Let us seek the counsel of friends and family. Let us join forces with the professional therapists and psychiatrists, and let us find comfort in our religious leaders and counselors. There is no shame in needing mortal help – we are the Children of God, and our brotherhood (and sisterhood) is a holy gift.
Let us forever stand firm in faith.
Though these collections of dust – our minds and bodies – may crumble before the onslaught of the Noonday Demon, let us prefer that to acquiescence to the darkness. No matter the depth of the void, let us repeatedly affirm that we will not allow ourselves to become obedient to despair.
For there is always light beyond the veil. There is always the Kingdom of love beyond the corruption of empire. There is always Heaven beyond the shifting sands of the mortal frame. If we submit here, in this battle, we will not be released from the war. But if we endure with constancy, we will emerge victorious in both the battle and the war. For we are not alone – if we but ask, we are aided by illuminated avatars of the light that far exceed the power of any creeping despondency and distorted reflection.
“None but the brave will conquer them
To gain bliss by the victory…
Better I die in battle now
Than choose to live on in defeat…
I sally forth to fight, that I
May not be driven forth from my post.”
Buddha (as quoted on accesstoinsight.org)
“You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.”
Psalm 91:5-6 KJV
We, the Children of God, are certain to overcome if we abide in faith. We shall not be driven from our posts. We shall not fear the pestilence.
May your journeys abound in grace and blessings, dear hearts.