Thursday, April 14, 2011

Naming the Demons

"To undertake a genuine spiritual path is not to avoid difficulties but to learn the art of making mistakes wakefully, to bring them to the transformational power of our heart."~ Jack Kornfield "A Path with Heart"

In the Buddhism practice of being mindful,Jack Kornfield, a renowned Buddhist teacher and psychologist who incorporates the tenets of Buddhism into his psychology practice, mentions "naming the demons"  as a way to become aware of the issues we struggle with in our quest for spiritual and inner peace.  

We all have demons hanging around; whether they be personal difficulties with addictions; including substances and food, (I can eat an entire pint of Ciao Bello gelato and not even think twice about it ) road rage,( I have a friend who climbed out of her car yesterday to berate a driver who cut her and her precious cargo off yesterday)  depression, anger, guilt,doubt, and fear, to name some of the big ones. We also come into contact with other people who seem intent on expressing their demons at every turn, and making the world for people around them as unpleasant as possible so as to share their misery.  Everyone knows a person who is in a perpetual bad mood; the reality is we cannot always avoid these situations and people who make our life miserable. The trick is to not let their demons become YOUR demons.  This is where being mindful and meditation are of great service.

Yesterday we spent two hours and hundreds of dollars again attempting to mediate a situation with an individual who is suffering from many demons and is more than happy to share them with us.  You can see them, sitting on her shoulders, waving howdy, froth coming off their fangs in big gooey droplets. 

The night before, we had prepared by playing some kirtan music, chanting, meditating, and trying to stay focused on our goal; to find a peaceful place for all involved to exist, and put an end to all of the anger and sadness.

We woke up in the morning, as positive as we could be, and listened to uplifting music on the way. We were intent on bringing in as much of the love and compassion we could in hopes it would spread.

Unfortunately we did not have any success spreading our positivity, and in fact left the situation with several of our own demons clamoring and clawing at us. Our peace train was derailed, and we went through part of the day shell shocked and angry, as well as disappointed.

To add insult to injury, we ran errands all day, finishing up at the grocery store. We came out of the store to find not only pouring rain but a dead Jeep. 

Instead of screaming profanities at the sky, we looked at one another and smiled, then held each other close. What else can you do? We laughed at the day's circumstance, realizing that all the negative energy has power and it was surrounding us like the dark clouds in the sky around us. 

In a recent yoga class, we discussed anger and the other negative demons we struggle with in our humanness. The fact is, even the most enlightened individual among us is still human. Being such, he or she is subject to all of the emotions that entails. It's how we handle those emotions that make the difference in a situation.   In hind site,  I wish we could have stayed on the peace train rather than jump off ; our succumbing to the darkness did nothing to help the situation, and made for a miserable few hours.  They say people and circumstances are brought in our life for a reason, and I believe we learned a lesson or two yesterday.

Today the Jeep is back on the road; a few whacks on the starter with a hammer did the to our other situation, it still exists, but we won't be taking a hammer to it, as we have gotten back on the peace train. Instead we are going to keep trying to send love and's all we can do. 

Climb on the peace train, friends. It sure beats the alternative.  Namaste. ☼

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