Spiritual Warfare – The Awful Enemy

Spiritual Warfare is all in your Head

Let us begin with this – Spiritual warfare is OUR maladaptive reaction to the world and is a reality for all of us until find reasons to lay down our arms. It is the mess in our heads that turns peace of mind into chaos. But if we live in a world of horrible, selfish people, how can we possibly NOT suffer? Let’s find ourselves a wise person. Maybe they can help.

To get some answers, many wise figures are available, but something tells you the answer is to be found in Rome.

“It is madness to expect bad men to do no wrong: that is asking for the impossible.”

Marcus Aurelius – Emperor of Rome

spiritual warfare
Seneca – Not exactly photogenic, but boy is he clever!

Spiritual Warfare – Awful people ruin Everything

So, off you go to Seneca, the great Roman philosopher, looking for advice. He opens the door of his little apartment and welcomes you inside. You sit on a lumpy sofa while Seneca searches for the remote control. He turns down the music and sits politely waiting for you to speak.

You tell him about how everywhere you look there are awful people. “I call it Spiritual Warfare” you explain, “How do I find peace when surrounded by such deplorable people.” He scratches his short beard and lets out a long “Hmmmm”. Squeezing his eyes tight shut as if in intense concentration he finally says, “I think… you are going to have to forgive the entire human race… Every single one of us.” He sees your disappointed expression. You had expected more depth from this guy. I mean, he has one heck of a rep.

spiritual warfare
Humans; unforgiving and unforgivable.

“You seriously think that letting people off the hook for evils is going to end my Spiritual warfare?” you say.

Seneca calmly takes a deep breath and with a soft tone he asks, “Is it sane to blame children… for being childish?”. With a pensive tone you respond with “No, I suppose not… but…” and your voice trails away. “I don’t have a problem with kids. Adults have no excuse, though.”

spiritual warfare
Children are easy to forgive, but they grow up into the unforgivable.

Spiritual Warfare – Born Bad

Seneca hops to his bookshelf and climbs a ladder. He reaches the very top with the agility of a much younger man… and then produces a Bible. He flicks through it for a moment and opens it and places his finger on a line. It read “Jesus wept”. That’s all. “Now tell me why he wept?” Seneca comes carefully down the ladder to re-join you. “I’m listening” he says.

“Easy” you say “because he saw that the human race was evil.” 

Seneca ponders your answer, and sighs “Men’s intellects are confused, and they not only cannot help going wrong, but love to go wrong”

“Sounds like evil to me” you say.

“The man whom you call a criminal is also in pursuit of happiness”.


Seneca shakes his head slowly. “No, not really evil.” (Long pause) ” More like silly, spoiled, mean little kids who are hurting themselves and each other”

You nod and add “No man is born wise”” to which Seneca responds with a smile.

“Good” he says.

spiritual warfare
Nobody is born wise, but you can BECOME wise.

Spiritual Warfare – Truth and Tea

“Cup of tea?” says Seneca with a kindly smile.

“Yeah, thanks” you respond. So, Seneca nips of to the kitchen, and you hear him clattering around for a while.

You start looking around Seneca’s office. You realise how comfortable you feel there. Nice guy, this Seneca. He opens the door slowly and pops a cup of tea into your hands. “Thoughts?” he asks.

“About the tea?” you respond, and Seneca rolls his eyes. “Oh… you mean about the fact that the human race is incorrigibly selfish and stupid and how that is supposed to make me feel better?”

Seneca lets out a big laugh at your snappy tone “We are that, indeed. We are also wonderful. Our nature is simply what it is.”

The man who loves himself and loves other people, loves nature too


You frown. “It sounds like an excuse”

“Not an excuse, just the truth. No sane man is angry with nature.”

Spiritual Warfare – The Long Walk Home

spiritual warfare
Enjoying the silence.

It occurs to you that you had better be going. Seneca accompanies you to the door and offers you his hand. “Anger is not good for you, you know?” he says with a smile, and you step out into the lamplit outside world. You wander home through foggy streets under a dark night sky. Just as you start to appreciate the silence, you hear a raucous group of drunk people making an absolute racket with something that resembles singing. It also sounds like one of them is kicking a tin can down the street too.  The yelling and clattering slowly fades into the distance. You shake your head and say “Humans” with a sigh.

Brendan C. Clarke

(Reference: Seneca – The Dialogues – Letter ten)

Whats New