How to tame your inner demons
Religion is for people who are afraid to go to hell.
Spirituality is for people who have already been there.
If you're reading this...
I will bet that you've already wrangled (or currently wrangling) your own share of inner demons, and chances are also high that you have taken a muddy stroll or two through hell yourself.
If not, like my boy Seneca once said, I feel sorry for you:
—Seneca, Stoic philosopher
In today's edition of NSP, I want to tell you a story about another weirdo (like most NSP readers) that lived way back in the day, around the eleventh century.
The weirdo I am referring to is non-other than the Great Tibetan Yogi Milarepa.
He was a true non-conformist and a loner who lived alone in literal caves and meditated for years all by himself.
The dude was also very stubborn & determined and at one point even ate nettles and turned green because he couldn't find anything to eat — and despite all of that, he never let life's challenges stop him from continuing his meditation practice.
The story goes that one day when Milarepa returned to his cave after gathering firewood; he found it filled with demons 👹
Not only did they crash into his crib, but they were cooking & eating his food, going through his books, and snoozing in his bed.
Pretty rude... even by demon standards, if you ask me.
Because of his extensive study & being an experienced meditator and all, he was fully aware of the teaching of the non-duality of self and other — but he still did not know how to rid of these demons from his beloved cave.
He had a sense that these demons were just a projection of his own mind — all those unwanted parts of himself — but he didn't know how to rid of them.
Even though he had the sense that they were purely a projection of his own mind—all the unwanted parts of himself—he didn’t know how to get rid of them.
So first, Milarepa taught these demons the dharma — by sitting on an elevated seat and prognosticating to them about how we are all one.
He talked about the causes of suffering, and all about compassion and emptiness — along with other pivotal Buddhist teachings.
Those pesky demons were gobbling up Milarepa's hot Cheetos — or nettles — or whatever he was snacking on back in the day, with no interest in his teachings.
The demons were still there.
Then, he finally lost a gasket... and his patience, and got angry and ran at them.
The demons just sat there and 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 the demons left except one.
Milarepa said, “This one is particularly vicious.” — I mean, we all know that one... and some of us have lots of them like that... and sometimes you might even feel like that's all you 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'd like to.”
Then that demon left, too.
The moral of the story is: when the resistance is gone, so are your demons.
The intention of this edition of NSP is to encourage you to lean into your so-called "demons" with no resistance, and they'll cease to exist altogether.
Because what you resist persists... including demons 😉
Until next time...
With gratitude & blessings...
P.S.: You might be interested in the book The Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa.
- The hilarious comedy TV show Ted Lasso mentioned Ayahuasca in one episode.
- The California Senate Committee has passed a bill to make it legal to possess personal amounts of psychedelics.
- Interesting study on how intravenous DMT affects the human brain —Summary: DMT is associated with a dysregulation of the developmentally/evolutionary recent cortex and linked to reduced alpha power, increased entropy, and 5-HT2AR density. Also, here's an interesting Twitter thread from the author.
- Joe Rogan podcast clip of Andrew Huberman talking about the emerging science around psychedelics [6:49]
- The Utility of Psychedelics by Sam Harris & Andrew Huberman [19:37]
- Psychedelic Assisted Therapy: Last Week, Tonight with John Oliver [21:27]
When you run after your thoughts, you are like a dog chasing a stick: every time a stick is thrown; you run after it.
Instead, be like a lion who, rather than chasing after the stick, turns to face the thrower. One only throws a stick at a lion once.
—Milarepa, Tibetan Yogi (1052-1135)