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How to slay your dragon

/ 07:41 PM October 30, 2011

While fire-breathing, tailed and winged creatures are more fiction than fact, in a way we can say that dragons do exist in our midst. Worse, we find them inside us.

Who can deny the dragon of resentment that wells up inside leading to anger and snowballing to hatred? Who is free from insecurity that turns into envy and bitter jealousy? Who is spared of proud thoughts that gnaw at the soul? And what son of Adam and Eve can say he does not feel the lust of the flesh?

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Left loose, these dragons not only destroy us but our families and our society as well. Great evils like widespread corruption can be traced to individual selfishness, or worse, greed. Poverty can be explained by injustice.

Facing up to these dragons is the first step to slaying them. The new interactive portal www.dragons.ph is an attempt to give a venue for slaying them. It can be a very good teaching resource for subjects that have to do with value formation or civics.

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The portal was set up to support the message of the film “There Be Dragons,” from Oscar award-nominated director Roland Joffé, whose previous works include “The Killing Fields” and “The Mission.” The film opens on November 9 at SM North Edsa, Trinoma, SM Megamall, Glorietta 4, Festival Mall and SM Southmall.

A period movie set in the Spanish civil war of the 1930s, “There Be Dragons” tells the story of two childhood friends, Manolo Torres and Josemaría Escrivá, whose lives take on radically different directions that come to a head during the war.

Escrivá followed the path of faith, while Torres was swept into the turbulence of the conflict. But each had to face his own dragons: Escrivá, fear and doubt; Torres, envy, jealousy and hatred.

Joffé says, “How we respond to hatred and rejection, or the desire for revenge and justice—all those dilemmas are heightened in wartime. Those dilemmas are, in a sense, the ‘dragons’ of the film—turning points in our lives where we’re faced with potent choices, choices that are going to affect our future.

“The film is about the very different choices that people take at those turning points—temptations, if you like—and how hard it is, and yet how necessary, to escape cycles of hatred and resentment and violence.”

“There be Dragons” is partly based on the life of St. Josemaría Escrivá, founder of Opus Dei, whose deep faith in God amid the civil war inspired Joffé. His character is a contrast to the fictional Torres.

Putting them together is Joffé’s way of showing that “even saints have a past and even sinners have a future.”

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Dragon-slaying and healing

To allow many people to join the conversation, www.dragons.ph placed a Slayer Speak portion inviting people to share dragon-slaying tips—nuggets of wisdom to help others discover and overcome dragons in their lives.

Since its inception early this month, dragon slayers have contributed many tips, some serious, others wacky, but all of them, useful.

From June, on guilt: Say sorry.

From Sheep28, also on guilt: It must not be allowed to fester in the silence of the soul, poisoning it from within, speak up.

Nenette, on doubt: One should not decide things when in doubt. Consult with a person who knows how to clarify the doubts. Then decide with a clear mind.

Cox, on envy: Slay the green-eyed dragon with gratitude. There is calm and contentment in a life filled with gratitude and appreciation for what one has.

Ilya, on anger: Take a deep breath and pause for as long as necessary for the fit to pass. Best to keep silent.

Hemlock, on pride: All I know is that I know nothing.

Sebastian, on fear: Think that you are not alone in anything.

CD, on fear: I believe what Master Yoda said about fear, that “it’s the path to the Dark Side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” Whenever you feel afraid, whisper a favorite prayer from childhood.

Dragon-slaying is something we badly need today, as individuals and even as a nation. There is too much hurt and resentment we can hardly afford at this moment in our history when the task of nation-building is pressing.

“There be Dragons” is very timely. As Joffé puts it: “When people see it, I think they will realize that essentially we’ve all got a choice about whether to hang on to our resentment or find a way of conquering it. You can see your life as a series of injustices, of rejections and hurts, and remain shut up in those, or you can see all those events as opportunities—as chances to conquer those dragons and bring love.”

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TAGS: Film, personal development, There Be Dragons
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