About five years ago I was recommended the Lama Tsultrim Allione for my studies. The first book of hers I came across to was Feeding your Demons, with an intuitive practice I came to believe I had mastered easily. I hadn’t the opportunity to take training in person and there was no available working group in Toronto, so I tried my best to do by myself for the recommended 30 days and see what results were reaped.
I worked as body practitioner at the time so visualizing imbalances in my own body came naturally, especially since I have a mind which see the world in patenting and images. I shared this book with others and for a bit I think it was my most frequently given birthday gift. This was done with some self-righteousness, offering my own version of help where none was asked. At some point I myself stopped the practice and now at Tara Mandala I was once more introduced to it by the beautiful Chandra Easton.
Even though I am a very visual person, I never quite had the skill to express the images in my head. I don’t paint and was hardly one to draw, but in my practice I eventually kept a journal where I sketched my own visualizations.
So, what is the titular feeding your demons?
Well it begins with addressing personal demon, be it something inherent such as bodily pain or an issue that’s personal or emotional. With your reference point you move to finding details, you visualize your malady – its look, feel, behavior, needs. This aims to integrate all parts of our personality, especially the parts we alienate. This approach, based on 11th century teaching s of Machig Labdrön and the practice of Chöd, was adapted to Western audiences by Lama Tsultrim Allione.
“You may think that Gods are the one’s who give you benefits, and Demons cause damage; but it may be the other way round. Those who cause pain teach you to be patient, and those who give you presents may keep you from practicing the Dharma. So it depends on their effect on you if they are Gods or Demons“, Machig famously observed. Feeding your Demons (FYD) allows one to move forward with internal dialogue, finding reasoning and meanings in struggles which might not be as apparent at other times. This centers on a body-mind connection that brings feelings of peace at the end of your sessions. Body truths are established in the firmness of the present, which brings us closure and rest arising from the mind’s understanding.
Journaling is an important part of the process. As one of practitioners noted at today’s session, whatever we bring to our journals we do not need to bring to our dreams, be it words or images. Yet we need something to affirm the voice of our consciousness, and the memory of these characters, skillfully staged in our life on the 1000 years old background of Machig’s teaching.
Feeding your Daemons will be available in the format of an on-line training in early September, 2015, while the book is available at all online outlets.