I had a strange experience this week, which brought to mind the story of St. George and the Dragon.
It all began with a very strong reaction, involving my famous explosive temper. This temper runs like the proverbial wooden leg back through the generations. I distinctly remember my grandfather telling me as a child – and even then I sensed a certain pride in him concerning it – that ‘we’ have a very slow-burning fuse, but that nevertheless, when flame, in the fullness of time, touches powder, watch out!
Roughly translated, this would read as follows: the process begins by allowing irritation to manifest. Irritation is the scratching of my pride, which provides the ignition. Resentment provides for slow burning, justification drives it on. Pride provides the power for the explosion.
I went to sleep the night of the ‘explosion’, acknowledging that it had been a reaction, and nothing else. Something in me simply would not tolerate any lies or justification. Something independent, which seemed outside me and above me, yet speaking in me, directed my thoughts. It was extraordinarily calm, clear and uncompromising.
I was suddenly wide awake at 5.00 am the following morning, my mind curiously blank. Some confused sense of duty obliged me to attempt to do my usual meditation. It was useless. A single, dominant urge was instructing me, wordlessly, what to do. There were damaged relations to be repaired, simple words to be said. I got off the stool, had breakfast, and bided my time. When the moment was right, I did precisely as instructed.
The result was truly impressive, truly positive. I got up and walked away, as might be said in the best Hollywood tradition, a ‘free man’. That is quite simply how I felt. It was as if a dead dragon was left lying on the floor in my wake. Because my ‘saint’, who watches for/over me, is mounted on the horse, from which position he thrusts a lance through the heart of the beast below.
The mystery of the icon above is that St. George and the dragon are caught in a moment of intense communication – in eye to eye contact with each other – seen, as it were, from another level, traditionally depicted in the top right hand corner by the hand of God.