Anger is such a terrifying emotion. Every now and then I become aware of feeling furious about something. It may be triggered by a seemingly inconsequential event such as an interaction with a rude customer service person, or more seriously by a random act of cruelty. Those reactive flashes of engagement with the world are still manageable, although unpleasant.
Sometimes, however, the thing that happens resonates at the core level of myself, reminding of a violation that occurred before I could fend for myself. And then, with the surge of a volcanic eruption, I become subsumed by the primitive ferocity of a threatened wild animal, and I pity those who stand in my way. It is only later that I understand the dislocation in time and space, but by then the damage is done.
I liked the symbolism in the film “How to train you dragon”. The basic story line is as follows: The Vikings regard dragons as enemies, because the dragons steal their sheep. A chief’s son injures a dragon without the knowledge of the village, but over time gradually heals and befriends the creature, coming to understand that the dragons are not evil, but are simply also trying to survive. In the process, the boy becomes disabled, but survives and wins the approval of his father and the village, resulting in a transformed relationship between Vikings and dragons.
I watched this film a while ago, but I often think about its story. As I mentioned previously, I have just published a book called Beneath – Exploring the Unconscious in Individuals which describes the arduous, painstaking and epic journey of integrating our unconsciously stored experiences into our conscious minds on an ongoing basis. I am continually asked what the simple message in my book is – in other words – what enlightening but easy-to-implement wisdom will transform people’s lives if they read my book? The answer is none. There are few easy answers to life’s problems and I do not include any in my book.
In a way, my book describes how to train our dragons. Training dragons is as difficult as it sounds and it may even mean learning to live with some disability of our own. Despite that, the process of training our inner dragons is transformative and likely to be deeply fulfilling. But it does require courage, stamina and perseverance.
I think many of us live lives of quiet desperation amidst a plethora of quick fix homilies and abundant, yet simplistic self help advice which does not work for us. I think we should be allowed to appreciate exactly how hard it is to break the destructive patterns handed to us by the generations before us (and magnificently refined through our own efforts in our own lives) and then be compassionately helped to keep going even when it’s tough.