The Gift of Our Mirror: Threshold Guardian

Here is an article from a previous The Heroic Journal May 2010 by guest writer, Terri Schanks.

The Threshold Guardian is always a mirror for us, a mirror which speaks to us our greatest fears, and therefore the thing for which we can hold the most hope.  If your fear is of failure, the Guardian will speak to you of failure.  If it is of success, the Guardian will speak to you of success.  The Guardian is the Illusion in your life, the proverbial Satan in Christian terms, Mara in the Buddhist.  If you trace the word “satan” back to the Greek, it literally translates not as “evil,” but as “The Accuser.”  If you trace it back further to the Aramaic, the language of Jesus, the word literally translates as “crazy thoughts.”  I have seen other translations as “the one who whispers lies.”

The TG is such a part of our society and thought process that we miss it.  We personify it, we curse it when directed at us and sometime delight when we see it directed toward others.  We rage against it, we are beaten down by it, we are inspired by it.  Like the story of Job, who represents all of humankind, we all have a similar human experience but at times fail to see ourselves in the tragedies, good fortunes, successes or failures of another.  The TG always holds a mirror for us to see our shadow, for the thing we are most afraid to hear is probably the thing we need to hear the most.  In doing this, the TG becomes our greatest ally and teacher, even if we may not like the message (or the messenger, as the case may be).

The TG embodies the concept that life can make you bitter or better.  The TG is always there to help us release our resistance to continuing on the path and always gives us the opportunity to see ourselves in another, to reach a bit more deeply within to find our true center.  The TG, like any good spiritual teacher, can help us find the deeper aspects of the Divine within, so we can see the deeper aspects of the Divine in others.  The TG helps us get in touch with our capacity—or perceived lack thereof—for hope, for life, for resilience, our capacity for being transformed by the fire that has come upon us if the TG has made an appearance. 

Jesus was tempted in the desert.  Buddha was tempted under the Bodhi tree.  Both, in the languages of their day, faced their demons, which are always our temptations, fears and illusions.  The ancients understood that demons were not evil forces outside of us but our own inner demons—our addictions, our fears, the old beliefs that no longer serve us or God or others.  Going to the desert to face the demons is what always brings one closer to the Divine, because in facing our deepest fear we will find our deepest strength.  Thus the major religions of the book all employed these techniques for spiritual growth.   When the TG arrives, s/he can open the door to your demons, so it is tempting to blame the messenger, rather than listen to the inner message. 

If the TG has arrived in your life, as much as possible practice non-attachment for a moment.  Is the message accurate but you are just offended by the delivery and choice of the messenger?  Like Job’s friends, is your messenger pointing out a speck in your eye when there is a log in his own?  Can you find a place in you for strength, compassion and wisdom?  If not, can you ask for that, or seek out wise and compassionate counsel?  Are you willing to trust the process of life and know that you are good, that we all have the power to create the changes we choose?  The TG will help you get in touch with your own victim consciousness, your own love, creativity, peace, faith and integrity.  Bless your TG, but then move on into the deeper places you know are your own.  Find the friends and people who can and will support you.  Practice patience and dwell in gratitude and you will inevitably find yourself further down the path.  Hike on, you heroes….