personal demons

W. H. Auden noted, “We wage the war we are.” He recognized and fought his own personal demons and recognized that fighting these subjective battles is an essential part of the human experience.

In days of yesteryear, our only weapons in these battles were the passing of time and perhaps an occasional “casting out of demons.” Today we have various forms of therapy and, of course, psychotropic medications. But ultimately we are left alone to battle our haunts.

Shakespeare, the greatest therapist and spiritual teacher in the history of mankind, put it this way:

Macbeth:
Canst thou not minister to a mind diseas’d,
Pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow,
Raze out the written troubles of the brain,
And with some sweet oblivious antidote
Cleanse the stuff’d bosom of that perilous stuff
Which weighs upon the heart?

Doctor:
Therein the patient
Must minister to himself.

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