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How to Feed Your Demons

By Lama Tsultrim Allione on Saturday January 21st, 2017

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Your Demons May Not Be What They Seem

This article uses creative visualisation techniques based on a process created and developed by Lama Tsultrim Allione. Both Psychologists and Buddhist teachers use creative visualisation techniques, as they invoke the imagination and greatly improve healing outcomes. Tibetan Buddhist tantra in particular has long made use of these imaginal practices.  

Creative visualisation is a cognitive process where you generate visual imagery with the mind, and then consciously inspect and transform the images, thereby modifying their associated emotions or feelings. This creates a powerful effect, and has been used to minimise physical pain, or to alleviate psychological symptoms such as anxiety or depression and improve self-confidence or enhance your abilities.

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Feeding our demons, rather than fighting them, contradicts the conventional approach of fighting against whatever assails us. But it turns out that it is a remarkably effective path to inner integration.

Demons (maras in Sanskrit) are not blood-thirsty ghouls waiting for us in dark corners. Demons are within us. They are energies that we experience every day, such as fear, illness, depression, anxiety, trauma, relationship difficulties, and addiction.

Anything that drains our energy and blocks us from being completely awake can be considered a demon. The approach of giving a form to these inner forces and feeding them, rather than struggling against them, was originally articulated by an eleventh-century female Tibetan Buddhist teacher, Machig Labdrön (1055–1145). The spiritual practice she developed was called Chöd, and it generated such amazing results that it became very popular, spreading widely throughout Tibet and beyond.

Drained girlAnything that drains you of your energy is a demon.

In today’s world, we suffer from record levels of inner and outer struggle. We find ourselves ever more polarized, inwardly and outwardly. We need a new paradigm, a fresh approach to internal conflict. Machig’s strategy of nurturing, rather than battling, our inner and outer enemies offers a revolutionary path to resolve conflict and leads to psychological integration, as well as inner peace.

The method that I have developed, called Feeding Your Demons™, is based on the principles of Chöd adapted for the Western world. Here is an abbreviated version of the practice, in five steps.

Step 1: Find the Demon in Your Body

After generating a heartfelt motivation to practice for the benefit of yourself and all beings, decide which demon you want to work with. Choose something that feels like it is draining your energy right now. If it’s a relationship issue, work with the feeling that is arising in you in the relationship as the demon, rather than the other person.

Thinking about the demon you have chosen to work with, perhaps remembering a particular incident when it came up strongly, scan your body and ask yourself: Where is the demon held in my body most strongly? What is its shape? What is its color? What is its texture? What is its temperature?

Now intensify this sensation.

Step 2: Personify the Demon

Allow this sensation, with its color, texture, and temperature, to move out of your body and become personified in front of you as a being with limbs, a face, eyes, and so on.

Notice the following about the demon: size, color, surface of its body, density, gender, if it has one, its character, its emotional state, the look in its eyes, something about the demon you did not see before.

Now ask the demon the following questions: What do you want? What do you really need? How will you feel when you get what you really need?

Hungry demonWillingly feed your demon with the love that it has been longing for.

Step 3: Become the Demon

Switch places, keeping your eyes closed as much as possible. Take a moment to settle into the demon’s body. Feel what it’s like to be the demon. Notice how your normal self looks from the demon’s point of view. Answer these questions, speaking as the demon: What I want is…. What I really need is…. When I get what I really need, I will feel… (Take particular note of this answer.)

Step 4: Feed the Demon and Meet the Ally

Take a moment to settle back into your own body. See the demon opposite you. Then dissolve your own body into nectar. The nectar has the quality of the feeling that the demon would have when it gets what it really needs (i.e. the answer to the third question). Notice the color of the nectar.

Imagine this nectar is moving toward the demon and nurturing it. Notice how the demon takes it in. You have an infinite supply of nectar. Feed the demon to its complete satisfaction and notice how it transforms in the process. This can take some time.

Befriend your demonFeeding your demon with love will turn it into your ally.

Notice if there is a being present after the demon is completely satisfied. If there is a being present, ask it: “Are you the ally?” If it is, you will work with that being. If it is not, or if there is no being present after feeding the demon to complete satisfaction, invite the ally to appear.

When you see the ally, notice all the details of the ally: size, color, surface of its body, density, gender (if it has one), its character, its emotional state, the look in its eyes, something about the ally you did not see before.

When you really feel connected with the energy of the ally, ask these questions: How will you help me? How will you protect me? What pledge do you make to me? How can I access you?

Change places and become the ally. Take a moment to settle into the ally’s body and notice how it feels to be in the ally’s body. How does your normal self look from the ally’s point of view? When you are ready, answer these questions, speaking as the ally: I will help you by… I will protect you by… I pledge I will… You can access me by…

AlliesTake the time to really connect with your ally.

Take a moment to settle back into your own body and see the ally in front of you. Look into its eyes and feel its energy pouring into your body.

Now imagine that the ally dissolves into light. Notice the color of this light. Feel it dissolving into you and integrate this luminosity into every cell of your body. Take note of the feeling of the integrated energy of the ally in your body. Now you, with the integrated energy of the ally, also dissolve.

Step 5: Rest in Awareness

Rest in whatever state is present after the dissolution. Pause until discursive thoughts begin again, then gradually come back to your body. As you open your eyes, maintain the feeling of the energy of the ally in your body.

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Words By Lama Tsultrim Allione

Originally posted on Lions Roar, Buddhist wisdom for our time



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10 Responses to How to Feed Your Demons

  1. Really Excellent Tool!!!! Transforming the pain in a beautiful empowering way. Awesome!!! Thank you!!!! I’ll look forward to using this the next time i hit a wall 🙂

  2. This article is complete blasphemy against Jesus Christ. Jesus came to set the captives free, in other words, cast OUT demons, not be friends with them. Jesus was the original one who said love your enemies. What he was meaning by this was love your fellow human being when he does a wrong against you. The reason someone does a wrong against you is because that person has a demon. So love your enemies, meaning love people, NOT demons, aka Satan. John 10:10 states “the thief (Satan) comes ONLY to steal, kill and destroy; I (Jesus) have come that they many have life and have life to the fullest.” Did you get that? Satan comes ONLY to steal, kill and destroy. He doesn’t want to be friends and never will be a friend. Jesus died for us and through the power of His blood shed on the cross for us, we have the power to cast out demons… permanently!

    • Dear Cali, indeed it is not at all blasphemy against Jesus but the opposite what you claimed. Please understand what Lama Tsültrim Allione from Tara-Mandala-Organization (http://taramandala.org/) meant whis this approach. It is, that we as humans understand everything of what we are addicted to, what we suffer from, or what makes us feel bad, as our inner demons. This demons are the same what Freund and Jung said to be our shadowaspects of our personality. If we are able to love the next ones, as Jesus said, we have already transformed our inner demons in allies 😉 AKA: BE LOVING KINDNESS

    • Because of this post alone i have decided to practice what it teaches. Never trust the religion responsible for the dark ages

  3. DO NOT DO WHAT THIS ARTICLE ADVISES! This is a very dangerous idea. Yes, a lot of what is said here is true. But the step you must not take or even consider is switching places with dark energy. Creating an imaginary energetic body for the energy is also very dangerous. This article encourages true possession, which is a very real thing that can only happen with our consent. This was not the purpose of the original Tibetan exercise, it has been perverted here. Avoid this teacher at all costs, they are working for Dark Forces and are encouraging you to join the Legion. If you truly seek peace with your dark energy, there are countless other ways to do it which will not endanger your Soul.

  4. I got just so much time on earth the last thing i want to waste time on is having tea with my demons. I have led a very spiritual life but this is nonsense

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