Angels & Devils

Assuming God exists, what actually is He? My curiosity is dying to find out, as long as He doesn’t think I’m being too blasphemous or disrespectful.

I’ve speculated before that He really could be the divine being who created the Universe, lives in the clouds and intervenes in our day-to-day lives. Or He might be something much more blind and mechanistic, like Destiny or Fate. He might be Nature or Gaia…

Recently I’ve been wondering if God might be the good part of our unconscious mind, trying to guide our conscious mind. Maybe He is a bit like an angel on our shoulder.

I like to think of our conscious awareness as the tip of the iceberg of our minds. The unconscious seems to me to be way deeper, bigger and more powerful. Or maybe it just feels a bit scary because it’s unknown and mysterious.

This morning I feel like shit. Again.

I’m in the kind of mood where if I don’t actively address how I’m feeling, I run the risk of feeling depressed for the rest of today… and possibly longer.

I don’t want to be here. I feel awful. I just want to go back to sleep. I want to cancel everything I’m scheduled to do today, not see anybody, and ignore the world.

That’s what my mind was thinking this morning in bed. But who, or what, was thinking those thoughts?

Maybe it was the devil on my shoulder. Maybe it was the voice of depression. This voice is extremely dangerous because it sounds so reasonable and rational. It sounds like me.

Through my experiences of mindfulness and tackling depression, I know that I don’t have to believe everything I think. Sometimes my brain spits out random nonsense – I don’t have to accept it as true.

Instead, I can choose just to acknowledge the devil’s voice on my shoulder, but not pay it any particular attention.

It might seem childish to imagine there’s actually a devil and an angel sat on my shoulders, trying to influence me. But enough of us experience something like this on a regular basis that it completely makes sense to us when we see it in cartoon form, like Homer in the image above.

No, I don’t believe there’s literally an angel or a devil on my shoulder. But it’s a fantastic way to think about how our mind works.

It makes it much easier for me to ignore unhelpful thoughts if I just tell myself, “Ah, it’s that pesky Devil trying to fuck me up again.”

I can’t ever kill the devil. He will always be with me. If I kill him, I’ll be killing a part of myself.

But I can choose to ignore the devil…

… and instead, try to tune in to the quiet, calm voice of the angel on my other shoulder.

That’s the voice that wants the best for me. And maybe it’s the voice of God.

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