While we traverse the present landscape of many planets in Pisces where sensitivity is pervasive and our tendency toward self criticism may cause anxiety, our deepest fears leap to the surface to be extinguished, swept away in a torrent of water that threatens to drown or liberate. The drowning part? Been there done that!
Into the demon’s mouth…
Milarepa, who lived in the eleventh century, is one of the heroes of Tibetan Buddhism, one of the brave ones. He was also a rather unusual fellow. He was a loner who lived in caves by himself and meditated whole heartedly for years. He was extremely stubborn and determined. If he couldn’t find anything to eat for a couple of years, he just ate nettles and turned green, but he would never stop practicing.
The story goes that one evening Milarepa returned to his cave after gathering firewood, only to find it filled with demons. They were cooking his food, reading his books, sleeping in his bed. They had taken over the joint. He knew about the teaching of the nonduality between self and other, but he still didn’t quite know how to get these guys out of his cave. Even though he had the sense that they were a projection of his own mind- all the unwanted parts of himself- he didn’t know how to get rid of them.
So first he taught them the dharma. He sat on this seat that was higher than they were and said things to them about how we all are one. He talked about compassion and emptiness and other key Buddhist teachings. Nothing happened. The demons were still there. Then he lost his patience and got angry and ran at them. They just laughed at him. Finally he gave up and just sat down on the floor saying, “I’m not going away and it looks like you’re not either, so let’s just live here together.”
At that point, all of them left except one. Milarepa said “This one is particularly vicious.” (We all know that one. Sometimes we have lots of them like that. Sometimes we feel that’s all we’ve got.) He didn’t know what to do, so he surrendered himself even further. He walked over and put himself right into the mouth of the demon and said, “Just eat me up if you want to.” Then that demon left too. The moral of the story is, when the resistance is gone, so are the demons.–The Pocket Pema Chondron (Author and teacher in Shambala Buddhist lineage)