There is a book called Feeding Your Demons, which came into my life about four years ago, and has been one of the most helpful books I have read. The book was written by an American Buddhist teacher, named Tsultrim Allione, who describes a spiritual practice that she learned in Tibet over 20 years ago. Originally the practice came from a woman Buddhist teacher, Machig Labdron, who was a spiritual master in the 11th century.
There are five steps to the practice, which basically involve recognizing our "demons," giving them form, asking them three questions, and then feeding them. This practice of feeding the demons takes the power out of whatever the issue is that we are faced with. It could be depression, anxiety, chronic illnesses, an eating disorder, addictions, relationship problems, fear, etc.
The monks in Tibet who know this practice are able to go into the villages where there are diseases such as smallpox, and teach the people how to do the practice so as to wipe out the disease. The monks are even able to handle the dead bodies without getting sick themselves.
I do this practice when I am bothered by an issue or when I am sick or in pain. Sometimes it takes several attempts, but often the results of the practice are immediately evident.
Lately, I have been troubled by the anger and hatred that is going on in our country. It seems to me that the biggest prejudice at this time is the Republicans against the Democrats, and the Democrats against the Republicans so much so that neither is listening to the other and not much is getting resolved. So this morning I decided to do the practice to see what would evolve.
I could feel the energy of sadness surrounding my heart as I thought about those who want to ban the seven Muslim countries from traveling to the United States, and those who do not want the travel ban. I realized that none of us want terrorists in our country, and felt that if only the two sides could come together and hear each other out, perhaps they could find a solution.
Feeling the energy in my body, I asked the “demon” to show itself. I see in my minds eye a huge angry demon with fierce red eyes ready to strike out at everyone around him. I asked him what he wanted and he said he wants to cause division and confusion.
The demon was so aggressive that I saw Jesus, Mary and Joseph standing in front of him to keep him from striking out. I then asked him what he needed from me.
Trading places with him and looking out of his eyes, I realize that what he needs from me is to be truly listened to with an open mind, and to have compassion for his position without losing my own.
Changing my body into nectar my spirit gives this nectar to him to drink. As he drinks it to his satisfaction, I watch him soften and melt to the ground. I am surprised to see Jesus, Mary, and Joseph also soften and melt to the ground. As they blend together they change into a gigantic heart, and I understand it to be the heart of America.
Doing this practice may have opened the dialog in America a tiny bit more, I don't know, but it has helped me to become more aware of my part in the conflict. I am more at peace with it, and I am listening to others a little more.
I want to share with you the process of this practice of Feeding Your Demons, but I encourage you to purchase the book or audiotapes yourselves to get a fuller understanding of how it is done, and how it has benefited others.
Feeding Your Demons is based on the principle of Chod, which is a five-step Buddhist practice that basically goes like this:
1. We notice in our body where we are holding the emotional or physical pain, or energy. The “demons” can be anything that we fear, or they can be any thought or feeling that blocks peace, love, and complete inner freedom.
2. We then allow the energy to be personified as a demon with a head, and a body with arms and legs. See the eyes and notice what they look like. Do they look fierce and angry, sad, hurt, or disappointed?
3. To find out what the demon wants, and what he/she needs we put ourselves in the demon’s place and become the demon, enabling us to see the perspective of the demon more clearly. We also ask the demon “How will you feel once you get what you need?” and answer the question through the eyes of the demon.
4. We then come back to ourselves, and dissolve our body into nectar that has the quality of the feeling that the demon would have if these needs were satisfied. We can give the nectar to him/her to drink, or let it flow into the demon in some other way, nurturing and feeding the demon until it is completely satisfied. The demon usually disappears or changes in some way. The energy that was tied up with the demon may actually turn into an ally and offer protection and support. If an ally doesn't appear spontaneously you can ask for one.
5. We then return to our original position and feel the help and protection coming from the ally to us, and imagining that the ally is dissolving into us, we can relax and rest in that awareness.
Feeding Your Demons is a very powerful practice that can integrate emotional difficulties, lessen or eliminate physical ailments, and help heal relationships. If you try this practice and would like to share your experience with us please leave a comment below. We would love to hear from you.
Love and Peace,
Mary Mohs LVN, MA, RYT,