beloved life practices 34: fight dragons, with humility


REFLECTION: ‘We are conditioned, it seems, to imagine that our position (whatever position we are in) is always under some kind of threat. The fear of dragons both describes and fuels this experience. This sense of threat may have its roots in our age-old learning how to survive as early humans. So to break out of this way of thinking will take determination. Nevertheless sometimes, here and there, be dragons. So what is to be done? How can we resist them? Returning fire with fire may occasionally have its place, but the fire of dragons is often best not fought with fire. We want to suggest – with the desert monastics – the possibility of humility as a stance with which to engage the dragons we face…’

beloved life: fight dragons, with humility
beloved life: fight dragons, with humility

PRACTICE: ‘So how do we practice humility? Fighting Dragons, with Humility is a stance, a way of being that we need to learn and to which we commit ourselves until it becomes once again a natural element of our being. But there are some physical actions that we can take to help us find this path and keep on it. A gesture of humility when we meet people can be really important. You’ll need to find your own, but it will be the opposite of the many gestures of power that people make all the time with or without knowing it…’

©Ian Adams 2013 ‘Running Over Rocks: spiritual practices to transform tough times’ (Canterbury Press)

Look out for short daily posts around the week’s theme on Facebook and Twitter. We’ll be doing the practices wherever we are, and we’ll look forward to hearing how you get on – do let us know!


  1. Kate Posted on July 19, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    hmmm, this is so hard to integrate into my being… I know that it can be true, that it works well as a stance that creates community and a place in which the dragon no longer feels the need to breathe fire all over you, but i find it very hard to make this my considered consistent response… I scare too easily, I defend my own cause too quickly, I put up my guard and man my watch towers… how do I dissemble these? how do I find the still quiet calm within, that looks through the flames of the dragons breath to listen to the words it speaks and to have the respect and compassion to see how it’s point of view counts and the lonely rejection it endures because of it’s burning flames?

    Humility yes. Yes, I want to become one who has this… but I have, as you say, been trained in power… but if I look more closely I have been trained in fear… perhaps true power lies in understanding the vulnerability of ones self and not being afraid of vulnerability… so being able to stand in the humility of ones vulnerability, before a dragon, knowing it could destroy you with a breath and yet, still offering some friendship or some token, that chooses to risk ones life in the offering. Perhaps this is true humility and if it is perhaps having humility is actually truly brave.

    High ideals… but ones to be sought for. 🙂 K

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