Your Personal “Dragon Power”
Giving a hard and fast meaning to any symbol would (in my opinion) be mistake and that is especially true in the case of the dragon. In Western religious mythology, the dragon has come to symbolize something evil and in many instances is considered synonymous with the devil. Yet many Eastern cultures revere the dragon. The symbol is extremely popular in our modern culture as evidenced by its wide appearance in film, art and even on people’s bodies as a sought-after image for tattoos.
My research on the dragon as a symbol has led me to bottom line its meaning as power, pure and simple. Power is an interesting thing; in and of itself power is neutral. Yet its expression can have a helpful or harmful effect on the world, depending on how it is used. For example, electricity is an extremely helpful energy for humanity, yet when electrical wiring becomes faulty, it can cause a house to burst into flames, destroying the house and everything in it.
In my book, “Dancing with your Dragon: The Art of Loving your Unlovable Self,” the dragon symbolizes our personal power. Just like electricity can be helpful or harmful, our personal power can also be used to benefit ourselves and the world, or it can be used in a way that leads to destruction.
Each and every one of us has a degree of personal power. We use this power every day: to get out of bed, go to work, communicate and share with those around us, and to do all that we do from morning to night.
How do you use your Power?
In order to use our power in a way that benefits both others and ourselves, we must become conscious of our motives. We must become aware of why we “do what we do” in any given moment. When we act out of personal need or self-interest, with no thought as to how our actions might affect the well being of others or ourselves, we are operating out of what I call the unconscious dragon. This can easily happen due to the deep personal needs that all of us carry. Our needs for money, sex, love, attention, approval, or even just for a thrill, can drive us to behave in ways that are not for our highest good. Clearly, lying, cheating, misleading, stealing, and destructive forms of violent behavior are actions of an unconscious dragon. But other more subtle types of behavior are reflective of the unconscious dragon as well.
Examples include the following: Choosing to spread a rumor about someone because it gives us a moment in the spotlight with our friends. Making fun of someone at a party or social gathering in order to get a laugh. As women, we might use our sexual energy to manipulate a man into giving us attention, when we clearly know that we don’t intend to sleep with him. Or as a man, we might shower a woman with affection in order to get her into bed, even though we know that it’s just about sex and not about love. And in today’s world, these roles may very well be reversed.
Are you Caught Up in “Giving-to-Get”?
Sometimes our unconscious dragon leads us toward behavior that seems “caring” on the surface, but is actually a means of “giving to get.” In this scenario, instead of taking from people, we give to them. We care for them, or do things for them, all with a hidden motivation of receiving something in return. Although this scenario is not necessarily harmful to the other, it can be difficult for the giver, because many times there is no return on the investment. When we give a lot without getting anything back, it can lead to anger, hurt and resentment–emotional states that are harmful to one’s self.
In “Dancing with your Dragon” the secret to uncovering these deep inner motivations begins with tracking our feelings. Feelings can serve as an “emotional alarm clock” that will wake us up to our unconscious motivations.
Practice Noticing your Feelings
Begin by really paying attention to what’s happening in your feeling world . If you notice that you are feeling angry or hurt, look inside and review the situation that triggered the feelings. Did you give something with an expectation of a return? Was the expectation clearly stated to the other, or something that you believe they should “just know”? Can you let go of the expectation and give without expecting anything in return? If not, you may want to reconsider your decision to “give” to this particular person and simply stop. Or you can choose to practice giving “freely” to them without expectation, which will result in more inner relaxation and peace.
For many of us, emotional challenges arise because we are “unaware” of what’s happening in our own emotional world. Much of what goes on there is subconscious and beneath our level of awareness. At the same time the unconscious behaviors of our “Inner Dragon” have a huge impact on our daily lives and how we experience the world around us. The work I call, “Dancing with your Dragon” is designed to bring this shadow material into the light of understanding where it can be consciously seen, compassionately embraced and lovingly released. With awareness, transformation soon follows leading to new empowered and fulfilling ways of living.