Our hero climbs yet another mountain and stands at the top looking back from where they came. It has been quite an adventure since they were called forward and took up the mantle of hero… Since they decided it was within their power to control their own fate. This new life of adventure has not been all ease and comfort. There have been bumps and bruises along the way but every hero has bumps and bruises and any quest of significance is worth receiving them.
You are that hero. You have taken up the quest and have become a hero in your own life. You have left so much of what used to be familiar. Truth be told, though, you doubt that those things would give you any comfort now. They just don’t offer the same draw that they once did. New things have you put in their place.
You walk along a path on your quest. Suddenly, the path opens up into a clearing and at the far end of the clearing is a dark cave. You know, deep inside, that the cave holds powers that may threaten to undo you if you don’t face them well. You draw your sword and enter the cave… one cautious step at a time. Your torch provides little light against the inky black that surrounds you. As you turn the corner, though, it provides all the light that you need to see a colossal figure in front of you. Scales glisten in the firelight. It stands before you, ancient and powerful. It is a dragon.
What is your response? I guess, like a great many things in life, your response depends on how you perceive this mighty beast. Even dragons can mean different things to different people and how we were trained to view them has a huge impact on what we will do next.
You see, different cultures have different views on dragons. European dragons, for example, were malevolent and destructive. They were an evil menace. Stories told of how they used their ancient wisdom to manipulate, slaughter villages, eat livestock and steal treasure. Most of the dragons in these legends cared nothing for others and these stories typically ended with the hero killing the dragon so that it could no longer terrorize the land.
The Chinese dragon, however, is viewed entirely differently. This dragon was seen as a very good omen. They were seen as a symbol of power, strength and good luck for those worthy of them. Much of the Chinese art depicting dragons also shows the dragon with a flaming pearl which was a symbol of spiritual power and wisdom.
How do you choose to see dragons? This is important because we use dragon as a metaphor for the dire challenges that we face in life. So much depends on our perceptions. When you face a challenge, which type of dragon do you see. Do you see a powerful, malevolent force that is bent on your destruction? Do you see an attacker whose wrath you hope to merely survive? Or do you see a keeper of wisdom which will teach you during your encounter, even if bumps and bruises are part of the exchange? These dragons can be your tormentor or your teacher. Your paralysis or your awakening. Your end or your true beginning.
How you view a challenge in life will determine what mindset you bring into that challenge. Consequently, the mindset that you bring into the challenge will determine what you will take away from it.
As Og states in Scroll IV:
I have been given eyes to see and a mind to think and now I know a great secret of life for I perceive, at last, that all my problems, discouragements, and heartaches are, in truth, great opportunities in disguise. I am no longer fooled by the garments they wear for mine eyes are open. I look beyond the cloth and I am not deceived.
Here’s to you, my hero… Bumps, bruises and all.
~Cheers, Daniel Hanscom