Spiritual Warfare: A Battle for Reality
There I was, staring at my hands and my reflection in the mirror dumbfounded; I had no idea who I was. Sure, I had my memories of the past and recognized the reflection as my own, but that was only a shell… Who was I really?
I began to panic amidst one of the most profound existential crisis I’ve ever been in my life. As water began to cover mine eyes I began to lose my grasp on what is real and suddenly, I could not distinguish the whole thing from a dream. Was I dreaming or was I living? To find out I went outside, the distinction was still blurry, but then… a tree; as I contemplated the complex dance of its leaves with the wind I knew I was no longer lost, I was… alive.
This really happened to me, I later found out I had an episode of what could have been a depersonalization disorder. Luckily, my friend Gustavo was there to save the day as a caring and active listener. And, it was through this experience that I found out how deteriorating isolation can be for mental health and, how true are the words uttered by God in Eden: “It is not good that the man should be alone…” (Gen 2:18).
Is just amazing for me to see today how cold this world is becoming despite all the show we give in social media. In one side I see the popular discourses on self love and tolerance, on the other… high divorce rates and increasing suicide rates. This, we will examine more in depth on my next topic: “The Forever Alone” (lol I know…). But now, let us just recall how everything started, with our fall, back on Eden.
The first battles
In a book that christian author John Eldredge wrote with his wife Stasi called: “Captivating”, Eldredge showcases the woman as the “meet help” of man in a context of war. This is not the girl that is there to make you a sandwich (although that can be nice… if done with love. Sandwiches are great.). This is the girl that fights with you (alongside, not against you) to make sure you make it out alive. The best portrayal of this role I’ve seen in recent years comes from Mera in the just released film of Aquaman (2018). In it, Arthur Curry (the Aquaman) clearly is a badass and a hero on its own, but it is also clear in the story that he would have not made it as far (not very far in deed) without the intervention and skills of the brave and beautiful princess. Conor Mcgregor and Dee Devlin can also be seen as a real life example of this.
Now, what does all of this has to do with a “spiritual warfare” and reality? –You may ask-. Well, it is interesting to notice how important relationships are in the biblical context of the war between good and evil. It all began in heaven with the enmity between Lucifer and God, and on earth in the moment that Eve wonders alone and betrays God with open disobedience. Making then her husband participant of the first play of Romeo & Juliet (Adam choses to die after her).
Notice that Lucifer, as the “light bearer” was closer than the other angels to God. His relationship with God gave him the highest ranking and his role was probably to inform other angels about the truth and the will of God. Ironically, it was this very position what gave him the needed influence to drag one third of the angels on his side of the conflict. Similarly Eve –the meet help of Adam- ended up losing the war against evil when she ventured to “fight” alone and then, because of what her relationship meant for Adam, turned from being a kind of savior for man to his ultimate perdition.
What about reality?
Now, when it comes to reality, relationships are just as important; maybe not in an emotional level, obviously; the matters of the heart are not the matters of physics (matter can’t fall in love even when it does “falls” for gravity, eh?). But, relationships are important for reality in the sense of interaction, for reality happens in tandem.
The dual nature of particles, entanglement, electromagnetism, gravity, space-time, time alone is a construct of interactions! But how does reality mingle with spirituality? Here, is where I would like to make a proposition: truth and reality are two sides of the same coin (like electricity and magnetism), but not the same face. Truth is absolute and is the outcome of an intention; but reality… reality is relative and the outcome of an observation (as discussed in article “What is faith”).
Now, let me give you a case as an example: Let us say you have a love interest (girlfriend/boyfriend/wife/husband) and she/he says that she/he loves you. As this happens, the intention of that declaration is the truth, however, the way you interact with that declaration (your observation) is your reality.
A battle for each day
I believe intentions and values are matters of the spiritual realm, while interactions are matters of reality. The spiritual shapes the real. This is probably what inspired Plato’s sensible world (real) and world of forms (spiritual); Carl Jung’s archetypes (spiritual); Charles Darwin’s evolution (the “intention” of survival [spiritual] drives de development of biological processes [real]). And, this is why, I believe, God in Scripture is often more concerned about manifesting himself as truthful rather than real. Because God is absolute, not relative.
In conclusion, under this perspective, we can think about the war between good and evil as a daily battle for how we experience (observe) the truth of God. This is the battle that Eve fought and lost in the Garden of Eden, and it is the battle we will fight every day until the end of times. Sometimes truth may seem blurry like my sense of reality that lonesome day I saw myself in the mirror, but you must then understand that it is your perception and not truth itself what is faulty. Only then, you might look in the right direction and find out what is “truly real”.
We will examine all of this further; the work of the Holy Spirit (as implied in the video above) and many other things pertaining faith and reality in future articles. But for right now, just think about that quote/verse at the beginning of this article.