In this week's gospel we hear the story of Jesus casting out the "legion" of demons that were possessing a man from the town of Gennesaret along the Sea of Galilee. In the story we are told that because the demons would make his behavior erratic he would often be bound and shackled and left out amongst the tombs on the outskirts of town. He had been left for dead among the dead. This is where Jesus finds him, and after a conversation with the legion of demons, allows the demons to leave the man and go into a herd of pigs grazing on a nearby cliff. When the demons are gone the man collapses in front of Jesus, and wakes up at his feet, "clothed and in his right mind."
There are many ways to interpret stories of demonic possession, especially one as well known as this. One way is to interpret this story and how it unfolds through the lens of our experience. While we may not have experience with the "evil demons" often associated with such stories, we have all in one way or another felt bound, unsafe, and alienated by external and/or internal "demonic" voices. These are the voices that tell us we are incompetent, unworthy of relationship, and beyond redemption. When we encounter these voices, even if there are a "legion" of them in our communities or in our heads, we see in this story that it just takes one relationship, one person who sees us, knows us, loves us, to help us feel protected, unbound, and back in our right mind, where we can hear the voice of our inner wisdom telling us what is true about who we are and what we are capable of.
This week, pay attention to where these negative messages are showing up in your life, either coming from those around you or from within yourself. Who are the people that help you return to your right mind amidst this chorus of negative/demonic voices? What are the practices that help you return to that quiet, centered, grounded sense of self?