“Feeding Your Demons” – For JUNO, 2013
On the 19th December 2012 something changed my life. I had been told several weeks before about an upcoming workshop entitled ‘Feeding Your Demons’ and at the time my gut instinct had been to book onto to it immediately. That was unusual for me as I am not a workshop junkie but I had been engaged with some deep personal process work of my own in recent years and I knew something was still missing. I felt so drawn to understand the combination of those three words used together which felt so inherently estranged from each other. Why on earth would anyone want to feed their Demons?
With my basic understanding of the complex ideas originating from Tibetan Buddhism, I also recognised that from a Buddhist perspective the representation of Demons and their ‘realms’ refers more to the workings of the human Mind and our own consciousness than it does to any kind of ‘Being’ outside of us. This idea really spoke to me as I had always been captivated by the dance of polarity; the right and wrong, good and bad, light and dark oppositions and judgements that we apply in an attempt to make sense of our world. It seems that one extreme only exists in contrast to the other and that their relationship in some way creates a necessary environment for life to unfold.
My fascination was about the human struggle to define oneself and the world along this narrow axis of opposites. In order to shift from this possibly two dimensional vision into a three dimensional one of wholeness, my feeling was that I needed to go deeper into whatever I had ‘demonized’ in myself and then somehow to integrate this.
Have you ever heard the phrase “What you resist persists”? Well I knew this to be more than true and I had already learned certain methods to effectively reduce my resistance to things in life but there was something else; something out of my reach that I couldn’t name, a part of me that was not whole and it would intermittently leap out from my unconscious in the form of uneasiness and self-sabotage.
It was a Demon. An aspect of my psyche that was too difficult to get close to and therefore I couldn’t really manage it. I just kept closing the door, but my turning away made it much more powerful.
On that first encounter with the Feeding Your Demons process I not only experienced one of the most transformative healing techniques I have ever known but I also received the gift of understanding why it works and why our Demons so desperately need ‘feeding’.
The FYD process begins with a breath exercise to help us drop into a more relaxed state and then it introduces body-scanning using awareness to find physical sensations which arise in the presence of the issue being worked on. It continues as a guided visualisation where we are invited to envisage this issue or bodily-sensation in the form of a physical being or ‘Demon’, and then to get to know it and to see things from its perspective. When we have recognised what its deeper needs are, we can cultivate compassion for this part of ourselves and the process of ‘feeding’ begins.
During the session we did on that workshop my demon finally had the space to rise up in glorious Technicolor, basking at last in the attention it so desperately needed and as it was ‘fed’ with my compassion through this process, it ‘transformed’ into a most profound and close ally to me.
What became so clear was that in order to feed our Demons, we must abandon the instinct to fight or flee from them which in itself presents a powerful healing; it allows ‘surrender’ and a softening within us. This cultivation of acceptance in the face of aversion is just like the approach that a parent must sometimes take with their child for the greater good of them both. And when we can work in this way with our own core issues, we bring to ourselves the valuable gift of self-love that we actually require to free them.
Then not only are our issues given breathing space but so is the energy that they were occupying in our lives and in this way the Feeding Your Demons technique reveals that when a negative, draining or stagnant energy dissipates it can and does easily change into a very supportive and positive one, or an ‘Ally’. It is as if our true life-force is given full permission to flow without the blocks or restrictions that this issue may have previously bound us to.
This huge yet simple transformation occurred for me in the space of about forty minutes. And that is not to say it’s over and now I am enlightened, because I am not; but I have continued to Feed my many Demons regularly and often daily for nearly two years to date and the impact this meditation has had on every aspect of my life is sometimes beguiling. My relationship with myself has moved from one of judgement and criticism to one of compassion and this has deeply influenced my relationships with those around me and my general outlook on life.
This description of the shift that happened for me will perhaps not make sense until you have experienced the work for yourself. It is an experiential process that operates at the level of our unconscious thoughts and emotions to bring powerful resolution and healing of inner-conflict. And it might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but everyone I have worked with as part of my practitioners training has been either surprised or amazed by the extent to which they have benefitted from it. Many, like myself are in awe of its swift, incisive clarity and wholeness as a healing modality which incorporates body, mind, heart and spirit.
And because Feeding Your demons works with the archetypal imagery of ‘good’ and ‘bad’, therefore using a universal language which everyone can relate to, it can engage children, adults and people of any culture, faith or belief-system.
So if this story triggers even an ounce of curiosity in you, please know that those closed doors in ourselves are only asking to be unlocked and that this very special tool can help us to discover all the keys we hold.
The Feeding Your Demons guided meditation was created by a female American Tibetan Buddhist Lama called Tsultrim Allione. She teaches this technique in both America and Europe and her fascinating book ‘Feeding Your Demons’, published by Hay House, can be easily bought online or at bookshops.