July 7

Once upon a time there was a boy called Little Michael. He lived a long, long time ago right now in a faraway land just here. He was a son of a great knight who fought the dragons of the world all through his life. Dragon slaying was all that Michael’s father ever thought of – he killed many of those ferocious beasts – and appropriately enough he was eventually killed in the claws of a mighty dragon.

On that fateful day Father met a dragon who was too big and too powerful for him, a real Pendragon. After a long and bloody battle Father was torn into pieces, shredded and eaten up. Only battered pieces of his once shining armor together with his beautiful sword were left behind.

For Little Michael this was a desolate day, the grief for his Father’s sudden death was overwhelming. Father had been Michael’s greatest hero and ideal, and now he was gone, gone forever. Michael was left alone with his grief. Only Father’s sword had miraculously been left intact in the ferocious attack of the dragon. Michael would get this precious weapon when he comes of age; he would be knighted with it.

Little Michael swore upon his dead Father’s sword that one day – when he is big enough – he will avenge Father’s death and kill the beastly dragon. This oath set the tone for his days, and grew to be the focus of his life. The death of Pendragon was all that he ever dreamt of, all that he ever prepared himself for. He was always fighting for his life, slaying dragons in his dreams and in his games with other children. Most every day Little Michael proudly carried his sword, shield and dagger – all made of wood –  dreaming of the day when he would be old enough to be knighted and to carry his Father’s shining sword.

The very day Michael came of age and knighted with his Father’s sword he set out into the world to find and kill Pendragon. Nothing could hold Michael the Knight at home anymore, not even his Mother’s urgent pleas: “Please, don’t go Michael. I couldn’t stand it if Pendragon killed you too, my dear son. Don’t go, it’s too dangerous!” All her pleas were in vain, Michael had already made up his mind a long time ago.

Michael the Knight started his quest; he was going to slay Pendragon. There was nothing that could ever stop him, not even his dear Mother.

Michael was not stupid, he knew that he was not yet strong and skillful enough to slay Pendragon. To prepare himself for that fateful encounter he sought the service of other famous dragon slayers. He became an apprentice, and served with many masters. Michael learned the tricks of the trade and became both a dragon slayer and a great swordsman.

Michael had seen how his masters had slain their dragons and he had seen some of them be slain by the same beasts. However cunning, skillful and strong they were they eventually came upon a dragon that was greater and fiercer than them.

Pendragon, the dragon that had killed Michael’s Father was the most notoriously fierce and strong of all dragons. How could Michael ever slay such a beast? How could he ever survive its ferocious attacks?

One day the knight that Michael served with was terribly wounded and maimed by a dragon. He would never lift his sword against dragons anymore; his own quest was now over. The knight had no more need for Michael’s services.

So Michael the Knight was free to wander further towards his dream of slaying Pendragon. Michael walked along a dusty road carrying his Father’s sword as his only treasure.

When Michael came to a crossroads he stood still and looked in turn at all possible directions feeling in his heart which of them beckoned him to follow it. He had learned from one of his masters that his own heart would lead him towards the fulfillment of his dream. There was always only one of the roads that felt like an opening or lightness in his breast. That was the one he should follow, all the others were empty and hollow.

Thus listening to his heart Michael came upon a little village in the middle of a great lush forest. When he arrived there he was hungry and thirsty after having wandered a whole long day.

Sun was just setting behind the tops of the huge trees. In the descending twilight Michael could see a sign of an inn; it beckoned him nearer. The sign hanging above the entrance of the Lizard Inn was strange. It depicted a huge armored man calmly beckoning a tiny dragon, and a text under it that said: “I am not afraid of you”.

“What the heck! Who would be afraid of such a tiny beast?” wondered Michael as he stepped into the Lizard Inn. Once in he just couldn’t help asking the innkeeper about the sign hanging outside.

The innkeeper was a big ageless man with a friendly smile flickering on his lips. He told Michael that the sign carried his motto, his treasured wisdom from the days when he used to be a dragon slayer.

Michael’s interest was awakened. He wanted to know more. So while he ate and drank he listened to the innkeeper telling the story of his life. The story culminated in a fateful meeting with one of the most notorious dragons.

The innkeeper had been the most skilled dragon slayer of his time, but even for him this mighty beast seemed to be more than he could handle. He had already fought it the whole day; he was dead tired, too tired to run away anymore, too tired to slay the beast. He was ready to give up and die in the claws of the dragon when there suddenly was a quiet moment amidst the ferocious battle. In that lull he heard a voice saying: “I am not afraid of you”. Just calmly saying: “I am not afraid of you.” Again and again it was repeated.

Where did the words come from? Who said them? Was it the dragon, or what? And what did they mean?

There was no time to ponder about these questions that flashed through his mind. The innkeeper had been ready to die in the claws of the dragon. Was there still something he could do? Were those words a final straw of hope to clutch? What if he was not afraid of the dragon? What if?

Gathering his last shreds of strength the innkeeper stood up in front of the fiery dragon approaching him. He stood still, fixed his gaze on those vicious bloodthirsty eyes and said calmly: “I am not afraid of you.” First a little hesitantly, but as the dragon soon stopped and also stood still he became more confident and repeated the words again, again and again, each time with more conviction: “I am not afraid of you.”

The innkeeper felt strange. As if the whole world had stopped, and started to change. Every time he said “I am not afraid of you” the dragon seemed to get smaller and smaller. Or was he himself getting bigger and bigger?
There was magic in those simple words. His whole world was changing while he repeated them focusing upon the dragon’s fierce eyes. Suddenly he knew  that he was no longer afraid of this creature nor of death that was so near. He was free, he was creating something extraordinary.

Whenever the innkeeper lost his focused knowingness – even for a moment – fear crept back into his mind and body, and the dragon began to grow again. In that moment of vital importance he reined in his emotion, and surrendered to a deeper consciousness where he truly had nothing to be afraid of. “I am not afraid of you”.

Eventually after a short eternity of fearlessness the dragon had shrunk to the size of a tiny lizard. There truly was nothing to be afraid of anymore. When the lizard was just barely visible it turned around and slunk away vanishing into the jungle of the tall green grasses and myriad of colorful flowers filling the lush meadow where this battle took place.

“The battle was over,” said the innkeeper and turned to serve the next customer beckoning for his attention. Michael the Knight was left alone to ponder about the story he had just heard while more and more people turned up in the Lizard Inn.

Can it be true that this man had transformed a mighty dragon into a tiny lizard just by deciding not to be afraid of it ? Merely by repeating those simple words: “I am not afraid of you”? Sounds crazy! How could it ever be true? It must be just one of those tall stories.

How could he ever not be afraid of something that had devoured his dear Father? How could he ever forgive? There was a lot to think of for Michael that night in the Lizard Inn.

Next morning Michael continued his journey. On his way out he once again looked at the sign of the Lizard Inn hanging above the entrance and decided for himself that the story he had heard was nothing but a good yarn. That’s what innkeepers are famous for.

So Michael traveled onwards. He met many dragons on his journeys; he slew some, was wounded by others and ran away from some that were too big for him.

One day after years of wandering Michael felt that he was now ready to face Pendragon, the beast that had killed his Father. He knew that he was as powerful and as skillful as he would ever be, and that his body and his mind were now both thoroughly trained for that fated encounter.

It was finally the time to fulfill the holy oath and promise Michael the Knight had once sworn upon the sword of his dead father. He would kill the dragon that had taken his dear Father away from him.

In those days Michael rode a beautiful stallion, a trusted companion with whom he had slain many dragons. He now rode him towards the high and jagged Dragon Mountains where Pendragon was known to be living.

Michael didn’t have to climb all the way to the summit. He saw the beast as he was about to come out of a forest into a calm and beautiful valley settled between magnificent snowcapped mountains. It was an idyllic setting for this decisive battle.

Pendragon was huge as it lay there basking in the afternoon sun. It seemed to be asleep. On the spur of the moment Michael decided for a surprise attack. He spurred his horse into a wild gallop right towards the beast and raised his lance for attack. When Pendragon heard the thundering hooves it got up and turned to face Michael the Knight on his high horse.

Michael galloped straight towards the dreadful dragon with his lance aimed right at heart of the beast. He was riding to meet his fate, and he was deadly afraid; he had never met such a huge dragon. But he rode on; turning back was not an option.

The lance was just about to sink into the heart of the dragon, when the beast side-stepped nimbly and kicked with its enormous hind legs, hitting the side of Michael’s dear horse and instantly killing this noble friend. Michael himself was slung away from the saddle. He tumbled down in the grass shaken but unscathed.

Michael was taken aback by the nimble movements of the beast. His horse lay dead in the grass, his lance was useless, and he was left with only his Father’s sword to defend himself. All alone in the middle of a huge green valley having his fated encounter with Pendragon, who was truly the fastest and the biggest dragon he had ever met.

Michael rose up. He stood visibly shaken holding the sword with which his Father had fought his final battle. There was nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.

Pendragon spewed fire and brimstone. It fumed ferociously staring at this little wimp who had dared to awaken it from its sweet dreams. The beast started towards Michael, it was the time to finish him off.

Michael was wholly alone facing both the greatest dream and the greatest fear of his life, the mighty beast that had once killed his Father. He understood now that his Father’s sword would be useless against this dragon; there were lots of similar weapons lying in the thick grass around him. All rusted and broken, all left by others who had already faced their destiny in these green fields.

The beast walked calmly nearer. It knew that it had already won, that this man had nothing to set against it. It was closing in for another easy kill.

Michael knew that his end was nigh, he had no weapons to match the might of this beast. Following his Father’s path would lead him to share his Father’s fate, to die carrying the very same beautiful sword.

He raised the sword and decided to give battle. His honor would not allow him to surrender, to be crushed and devoured just like that. As he took his first step towards his fate, he heard the words “I am not afraid of you” echoing in his mind.

Right then and there Michael remembered his visit to the Lizard Inn, a long time ago. What if the words of the innkeeper were true after all?

Michael had nothing more to loose. He had already lost everything, and was about to die. He might as well rid himself of his fear for this beast.

Michael stood up, fixed his stare on the glaring eyes of the beast and said slowly and calmly – mainly to himself: “I am not afraid of you”. The dragon came nearer, it was about to make a kill.

“I am not afraid of you” Michael slowly repeated more forcefully as Pendragon approached him. The pressure of fear in his chest was almost unbearable as he stood there face to face with death itself. A moment of eternity, and a question: “What if I were not afraid?”

Suddenly Michael was filled with deep knowingness, the fear had evaporated. There was nothing more to be afraid of while staring death right into its cruel eyes.

Michael stood there knowing that nothing could ever threaten him, not even this beast just about to devour him.

Pendragon slowed down. It had never met anything like this, never encountered this kind of behavior. This little wimp of a man was not playing fair, he was not afraid as he should be. He should be screaming and yelling and running away. What the heck is taking place?

The dragon came to a standstill just a few steps from Michael. It just could not get nearer; there was something that held it back. And it couldn’t go backwards either. The beast was getting stiff, it felt paralyzed. It could not handle a man who was not afraid of it, a man who was free from all that fear could ever be.

Michael himself was equally amazed. He had started by meeting and accepting his fear and his fate. Then he had remembered the words “I am not afraid of you”. As his last chance he had started to repeat those words. After some repetition their meaning suddenly sunk into his mind and body, becoming a living part of him and he immediately felt a huge surge of feeling arising within his breast.

What was happening? “I am not afraid of you.” All the locked emotions of his past – his fears and sorrows, his doubts and hates – were released as an avalanche of new found energy within his breast. What was this? What was taking place?

Suddenly Michael realized that he was just standing there in front of his greatest fear with a friendly smile flickering on his face. With benevolent and loving eyes he was looking at this ferocious beast in front of him. Michael the Knight had conquered his own fear.

This enormous power, this creative consciousness beyond fear was love. It was the sacred source of all life, in whatever form it was ever expressed. Love was the great treasure that had remained hidden behind Michael’s need to avenge his dear Father’s death. He had unconsciously wanted to kill the beast in order to unearth the love that he had lost when his dear Father had died.

Only after Michael had lost all that he could ever lose, all that he had believed himself to be, had he finally conquered his fiercest enemy, his own fear. Michael the Knight had won the greatest battle of life; he had beaten his own history.

Michael the Knight was now fully empowered, fully in love with life itself, with life that had faithfully carried him through all the possible fears, sorrows and other dark emotions of illusion. Michael the Knight was now one with love, one with life itself, facing his most ferocious adversary with the deepest of deep compassion. The battle was over.