Feeding your demons

I’ve long wondered if fighting off your demons, waging battle after battle against your problems, is the best approach. It’s energy intensive and often feels like you’re fighting the tide.

As someone with complex post traumatic stress disorder, I felt exhaustion in the marrow of my bones after wading into some of these battles. Maybe I beat back something or achieved some small victory, but it felt like a losing proposition that came at great cost.

As one who strives for non-violence in communication and other parts of life, I felt the need to see if a similar strategy existed for healing spiritual wounds. One that is a little more introspective and could perhaps redirect energy instead of directly countering it.

After all, these demons exist for a reason, why not see if you can understand them and their motivations? How’d they get there, what’s their purpose? Why are they so difficult to get past?

It was a few weeks ago that book called Feeding Your Demons came across my screen that articulates such a concept. It’s by a Tibetan yogi, Milarepa (1052–1135), and it’s exactly what I was seeking. She describes the idea like this:

The malignant […] demons Who create myriad troubles and obstructions Seem real before one has reached enlightenment. But when one realizes their true nature, They become Protectors, And through their help and assistance One attains numerous accomplishments.

The alternative to feeding our demons is to engage in a conflict we can never win: our unfed demons only become more and more powerful and monstrous as we either openly battle them or remain ignorant of their undercover operations.

If you’re wondering, these demons aren’t little imps with pitchforks. Turns out around 1200 CE they took on a different meaning as the Church began to gain more influence around the world. Machig describes them like this:

“What we call demons are not materially existing individuals with huge black forms, frightening and terrifying anyone who sees them. A demon means anything which hinders liberation.”

I’ll be curious to see what the rest of the book offers. It’s off to an incredible start.