What is SATAN?


I’m asking the question: WHAT IS SATAN?

It may seem like a strange question — one that few people would ever think of asking — but, then again, if I know one thing it is: leaving shadows untended lets them grow.

It’s easy to say Lah-dee-dah to life — especially because LIFE IS SO AWESOME — however, if in doing so we lose sight of the darkness then really what have we achieved?

My adviser, good friend, and person mentor Dallas Willard once said to me during a meeting:


I was a little taken aback by this — especially coming from such a humble man in respect to the proposal of my 4 year (now 6 years and counting) Magnum Opus — especially after having a rich conversation regarding Keat’s Negative Dialectic [what can I say? My spirit is with Whitman]….

but he was telling me: fine, focus on your strengths, but if you forget about your weaknesses they may destroy you.

Guru Prem was always fond of saying something like “Devil… the devil is nothing but the antithesis of will: De-Will. We make resolves… and either keep them or become de-willed.” To him, Satan, the Devil, our shadows were the force that took us astray from our true selves, our dharma… and at the very least our sadhana.

It is said: every time man makes a plan, God laughs. Why is this? Because our understanding is so myopic and finite (Checkhov says: it would take a god to know the difference between failure and success. Often what seems like the former can resolve into the latter and vice-versa). Or maybe it’s because the thought of us bearing the arm of committed will against an onslaught of change seems like an ant tackling the entire dung heap.

For those of you who are religious… the more terrifying this question seems to answer, the more important! If the devil does grab us by our weaknesses — then we are all the more vulnerable by not looking while we’re dragged. But, then again, it’s probably a mistake to be AFRAID of this force — this energy — for in fear is manifest avoidance.

This question comes from a conversation I had the other day. We were talking about sheep… both literally and figuratively (the sheep of the masses). I had brought up a story where the spiritual teacher Gurdijieff says to his disciple Bennet in regard to why we should have a vital spiritual practice: why does the farmer tend to these sheep? Because he wants their wool and mutton. Do you not think that the spirits who sustain us also desire something as well?

Then the man I was speaking to said: who protects a flock of sheep from the wolves who come to devour them?

I don’t know, I replied….  A ram, he replied: cleft feet and horns… Looks an awfully lot like Satan.

It was strange to me — because I had never thought of Satan as a protector against the wolves before… but then again the grueling figure is similar in archetype to an acala (the buddhist god who protects the gates to enlightenment). The man said: it takes some gnarly figures to protect the light.

In an interview I posted, Angel said: the entire world is in divine conspiracy for our enlightenment. I wonder how this conversation relates….. I know that it has made me think in some unusual and profound ways… and I am excited to know what you think!