This is a practice I really value, developed by Lama Tsultrim Allione… Try it for meeting those recurrent obstacles (or demons) and rather than the habitual fighting them in one form or another, see what happens when you feed them instead. Based on the powerful Tibetan Buddhist practice of Chod, offered in a very accessible form with the potential of true transformation.
For a practice session guided by Lama Tsultrim Allione herself, click here. For more info on this process, please click here. The following description of the practice comes from the Tara Mandala website.
An Abbreviated Version of the Five Steps of the Feeding Your Demons Process
Nine Relaxation Breaths
Take nine deep relaxation breaths with long exhalations: for the first three breaths, breathe in and bring the breath to any tension in the body releasing it with the exhalation. For the second three breaths, inhale into any emotional tension, feel where you hold it in your body and release it with the exhalation. And lastly, breathe into any mental tension. Feel where you hold nervousness, worries or mental blockages in your body and release them with the exhalation
Motivation:Generate a heartfelt motivation to practice for the benefit of one’s self and all beings.
Step 1. Find the Demon
Decide which demon, god or god-demon you are going to work with.
Locate where you hold it most strongly in your body.
Become aware of the qualities of the sensations in your body including:
Intensify the sensation.
Step 2. Personify the Demon and Find Out What It Needs
Personify this sensation as a figure with arms legs, and eyes and see it facing you. If an inanimate object appears imagine what it would look like if it were personified as some kind of being.
- skin surface
- its character
- its emotional state
- the look in its eyes
Notice something about the demon you didn’t see before.
Ask the demon what it wants.
What is it that you want from me?
Ask the demon what it needs.
What need do you have that is behind what you want?
Ask the demon how it would feel if it gets what it needs.
If you get what you need how will you feel?
Having asked the questions, immediately change places with the demon.
Step 3. Become the Demon
Face the chair or cushion you were seated on and become the demon, allowing yourself a little time to “sit in its shoes.”
Notice how your normal self looks from the demon’s point of view.
Now answer these three questions:
What I want from you is…
What I need from you is…
What I would feel if I got what I need is…
Step 4. Feed the Demon and Meet the Ally
Feed the demon
Come back to your original position. Take a moment to settle in and see the demon in front of you.
Dissolve your body into nectar that has the quality of the feeling that the demon would have if its need was satisfied (this is the answer to the third question in step 3)
Feed the demon to its complete satisfaction, imagining the nectar entering the demon any way you wish. Keep feeding until complete satisfaction is reached (if the demon seems to be insatiable, then imagine how it would look if it were completely satisfied). At this point you can go directly to step 5 or meet your ally.
Meet the ally
If there is a being present in place of the demon when you end the fourth step, ask this being if it is the ally. If it is not, invite an ally to appear. If the demon has dissolved completely then simply invite an ally to appear.
Notice all the details of the ally: its color, its size, and the look in its eyes.
Ask it one or all of these questions:
How will you help me?
How will you protect me?
What pledge do you make to me?
Change places, becoming the ally, and answer the question(s) above.
Return to your original position, then take a moment and feel the help and protection coming from the ally to you and then imagine the ally is dissolving into you. You and the ally dissolve into emptiness, which naturally takes you to the fifth step.
Step 5. Rest
Rest in the state that is present when the ally dissolves into you and you dissolve into emptiness. Let your mind relax without creating any particular experience. Rest as long as you like without filling the space, trying not to make anything happen or rushing to finish.