Confronting that which tempts us away from our original nature of peace.
As much as I believe that Jesus came to realize the truth of Oneness and then sought to teach this to his disciples, including Mary Magdalene who went on to establish her own mystery school teaching the way to love; I am reminded today of the value of perceived separation – especially when it comes to those things outside of us which seek to keep us from the path of our truth.
Satan, meaning adversary, is the representation and embodiment of all that wants to keep us from our original nature as One in love – whether we perceive it as within us or outside of us.
Outside of us, Satan shows up in:
- Societal expectations.
- Tribal customs and rules.
- Worldly ideals which place value on externals – money, power, status, fame, material possessions, etc. etc. etc. over the place of real value which is within.
- People who are threatened by our decision to step outside the tiny little box that our religions, communities, political parties, race, gender, orientation, etc. etc. etc. etc. seek to prison us within.
- Any individual or structure which seeks to have power and control over another.
- People who reject us or our gifts.
- Feeling thwarted in the fulfillment of our gifts.
Every single thing which resides outside of us and tempts us to step away from our original inner state of contentment and joy is The Devil and when doing battle with Satan, it is helpful to think of it in this way.
I know, I know….this is the complete polar opposite of what all the new age/new thought/manifestation/secret and abundance people say. They would say, “Everything that is happening outside of you is simply a reflection of what is happening within.” But here’s the deal…..when I think of my own struggles in this way, it makes me feel TERRIBLE. I feel shame. I feel guilty. I feel as if I am a failure and that I have done something wrong. Believing in the idea that the difficulties happening outside of me are because I thought the wrong thoughts or didn’t believe hard enough or didn’t trust God enough or surrender enough, simply triggers my fear of not being perfect. When this fear is triggered, the downward spiral of self-loathing begins. You mean my anxiety is my fault because I don’t trust enough? My fears over money are my fault because I’m not trusting in God? I haven’t found “the one” because I’m not holding my vibration high enough to attract him? Ignatius of Loyola would have had something to say about these so-called theories of “right thought.”
St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491 – 1556) was a pioneer in and became one of the foremost authorities on the process of discernment. In his writings on discernment, he describes two distinct energies – one that reflects the Divine path for us and the other that reflects “the devil.” He calls these energies, respectively, consolation and desolation. If I apply Ignatius’ guidelines for discernment to the idea that what is outside of me is a reflection of the energy I am holding within, I find I have to call it desolation – the energy that represents the mark of Satan. Those things outside of me that are tempting me (which I experience as fear, anxiety, worry, self-loathing, depression) away from my Oneness with God (which I experience as peace and contentment) are the Devil and when I think of them in this way, instead of feeling powerless or despairing, I feel strong, confident and empowered because I know what to do with the Devil outside.
When I know that Satan is hard at work trying to keep me from my path, I know how to respond. I have learned that calling temptation what it is, giving it a name and a face, deprives it of its power. I stand toe to toe with Satan. I look him in the eye. I name him for whom and what he is. I call on Michael the Archangel, Jesus, Mary Magdalene, Archangels Kamael and Tzafkiel, all my ancestors and the communion of saints to surround me and I then proclaim Jesus’ own words when facing his own Satan, “Get behind me Satan.” In this I feel strengthened and am able to return to the path of my truth – the path where I feel fulfilled and where I am at peace.
What tools are you using to confront that which tempts you away from your own natural state of inner peace?