In November 1960, the Twilight Zone released an episode entitled, The Howling Man. In the episode a man named David Ellington stumbles upon an old monastery in during a storm in the night. Ellington goes to the building to seek sanctuary from the storm and finds that it is run by the order of the Brothers; a group of men with long hair, long beards and white robes. He asks for shelter from the storm and is brought inside to meet with Brother Jerome, who is the highest ranking brother. While waiting to meet Brother Jerome. Ellington hears a loud wolf like howl throughout the halls. He is brought to Brother Jerome who tells him that unfortunately they cannot help him and that he must leave at once. Sick and tired from the storm, Ellington faints as he is leaving and is allowed to stay the night as he recovers.
Upon waking in the monastery, Ellington once again hears the howling and decides to investigate. He secretly roams the halls following the sound when he finds an older disheveled man locked away in a cell. The man claims to be a prisoner of the Brothers and that Brother Jerome is essentially an insane cult leader who keeps him locked up and beats him with his staff.
Ellington is seen speaking with the man and is once again taken to Brother Jerome. Ellington tells Brother Jerome that he spoke to the man they are holding prisoner but Brother Jerome insists, “That is no man.” Ellington threatens to tell the police everything unless he gets further explanation as to who the man is and why is locked away.
Brother Jerome begrudgingly agrees to tell him the truth and proceeds to tell Ellington that the man in the call is the devil himself. He explains that after World War One the devil had come to the village and that Brother Jerome saw him for what he truly was. He managed to capture him with his staff of Truth and has kept him there locked away for years since. Ellington now believes Brother Jerome is insane, just as the prisoner said, but pretends to believe him. Brother Jerome catches on to Ellington and assigns him a guide to keep watch over him through the rest of the night until he must leave in the morning.
Ellington waits for his guard to fall asleep and sneaks back to the prisoner. Upon seeing Ellington the man pleads for him to let him out. Ellington rushes to the cage and sees that the door is held shut by only the staff and no actual lock. He asks the man why he doesn’t just free himself but the man urges Ellington repeatedly to let him out before it is too late. Ellington quickly removes the staff and is immediately thrown to the floor as the man is released from the cell. He then walks away and transforms back into his true appearance, which is of course in fact, the devil.
The ego is our howling man. It will take any appearance or form that will garner it sympathy or pardon. To the naked eye, we generally do not see anything but surface appearances just as Ellington saw a disheveled man being held hostage when the reality was that the man was the devil and Brother Jerome saw his true appearance. Mastery means seeing behind surface appearances and seeing the bigger picture. Things are never as they seem in our mind, and they are never as we think. There is always something greater at work and at play. If we see things as they appear, we get caught up in the worldly appearance and not the truth.
The one thing that could keep “the devil” held prisoner was the staff of Truth. Not a key, not a specialized weapon, but the truth. Our greatest weapon against our ego is the truth of God. When we know the truth, and understand our authority to exercise the truth, we gain unwavering power over our ego. If we sit and listen to it’s stories, it’s thoughts, or it’s lies, we risk letting it out into our consciousness. If the ego is released into our consciousness, it runs freely into our lives until we recapture it with the truth and lock it back into its place, and keeping the ego at bay is always easier than recapturing it after we have let it loose.
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