How can we Slay our Suffering for Good?

Updated: Feb 19

This depiction of St George slaying a dragon may not have much meaning to most. It is because these types of legends have been chiefly long forgotten. However, I happen to find a picture of Raphael's painting of St George slaying the Dragon in a book, and I sketched it in my sketchbook for no real reason. Later, I thought I should research into it, as I felt that it had a lesson to teach me.

If you are like me, you want to get straight to the lesson, am I right? Time is too precious to be reading other peoples random musings on blogs! But let me give respects to George before we learn from his life. Here is the gist of what happened, from Wikipedia:

The legend of Saint George and the Dragon tells of Saint George taming and slaying a dragon that demanded human sacrifices. The story goes that the Dragon originally exhorted tribute from the villagers. However, when they ran out of livestock and trinkets for the Dragon, they started giving up a human tribute once a year. This was acceptable to the villagers until a well-loved princess was chosen as the next offering. The saint thereupon rescues the princess chosen as the next offering.

Having learnt about the legend of St George, I found what the Bible had said about him, and this is what I found. It said,

" God raised you as his own gardener, O George, for you have gathered for yourself the sheaves of virtue. Having sown in tears, you now reap with joy; you shed your blood in combat and won Christ as your crown. Through your intercessions, forgiveness of sins is granted to all."

To me, this psalm holds a compelling message that I can directly relate to. Recently, I have experienced many challenges within my family and friends. I have witnessed many loved ones suffer because of personal slights and grudges they hold against one another; others suffer because they are too ashamed or afraid to speak of their truth or do not want to be truthful. Then others are reluctant to be authentic or vulnerable and cannot form heartfelt connections with others or ask for help. I have cried over family and friends who self-sabotage their own life because of the pain of negative thought patterns. If negativity is allowed to attack your true essence which is essentially loving, peaceful and joyful then ones true essence is destroyed, as would have the beauty and innocence of the princess be lost to the dragon had George not intervened on time.

This is where the iconic symbolism of St George is especially useful for me. He serves as a reminder of all that is virtuous in this world. So what are the virtues, actually?

Here are some virtues and how they may relate to someones every day,

  • Discipline that enables a person to achieve the goal of setting up their own business.

  • Kindness towards someone having a bad day with a DM can make him or her smile and build rapport.

  • Creativity can result in an idea that changes how people relate to one another, such as through social media or a blog.

  • Trust in a relationship, even through social media, can foster dependability and intimacy, creating valuable, meaningful relationships.

  • Gratitude in loss of work and income due to COVID-19 can shift the focus from feeling low to having a more fulfilling change of career.

  • Service to others through sharing positivity and creating a conscious business can change lives, build better neighbourhoods and create stronger nations.

I found this graph below especially good. It shows the danger of losing your virtues to excess or deficiency. For example, someone who is a "people pleaser" could easily lose their benevolent nature to the point of self-sacrifice. If then the virtuous simply get hurt each time they are not reciprocated for their kindness they may grow to resent those they proclaim to love and simply become mean with their help. So balance is the key here.

St George had "reaped as a gardner" by 'sowing the seeds" of his many virtues to paraphrase the analogy. However, those virtues had come with him shedding many tears. I had despaired due to having been a witness to a lot of suffering within my circle of family and friends myself. I can say that their suffering resulted in me gathering many virtues. For example, I have learnt to live in moderation because I have witnessed the suffering that comes as a result of living in excess; I have learnt to be brave and look at my own shadows because I have seen others live a small and ignorant life by not challenging their beliefs and attitudes. I have learnt to be truthful because I have seen the lack of growth that result from hiding the truth. I have learnt to be industrious and disciplined because I have seen the lack of beauty in one's life when being too lazy to create or unsupportive in others creative endeavours. The list can keep going.

The hard lesson that I did not learn sooner was that the tears shed wishing that I could help the world be free of suffering was done in vain. But for George, it was his joy that freed others from their suffering. This is an essential revelation for my own life. You see, I understand now that the very thing that would slay my "dragon", in other words my own and others suffering, was my joy. As the psalm claims, "you shed your blood in combat and won Christ as your crown". I interpret this prize to be Christ consciousness or the state of enlightenment. I believe that with conscientious fostering of virtues in your daily life has the remarkable effect of raising your frequency to more joy, peace and love in daily life. Once you maintain that with time and trials you will reap the harvest that had come from sowing the seeds of your virtues, freedom from suffering.

I can tell you that now, as a result of fostering my virtues and slaying the dragon, I do not see the world as broken. Even though I have not found the magic wand that free myself and others from their suffering, I am okay with it. Still, I can forbear my suffering and those of others by letting go, my suffering and those of others has given rise to more love and compassion within my heart, I am better able to serve others because of my suffering and I am overcome with joy when I see others battle through their suffering with dignity and courage. I am grateful for the lesson I learnt from George which I am very happy to have happened upon as a result of my creativity, one of my virtues that has saved my life!

Thank you for visiting my blog; I hope that your stay was a good one!