Thursday, May 24, 2007


FEEDING THE DEMON

There is a Buddhist practice called Chod. It is meant to cut away fear, cut out ego, get to purity. Part of the practice involves the feeding of demons, and it's all gory, weird and scary. Unfortunately/fortunately, it was also one of the first Buddhist practices I learned. You feed the demons to the point of completion, until they are full. Again, lots of gory, icky terms and notions are used, but the essence is lovely. What you resist, persists. What you feed gets full, and will stop gnawing on you.

When my daughter was diagnosed with OCD, we learned the same damn thing. By trying to re-direct her, soothe her, rationalize with her, it only created more anxiety and obsessiveness.

I recently attended a workshop called Falling Awake . It is a life-changing action plan. Specific skills are taught for getting what you WANT out of life. Now, I know what you're thinking, "If I get what I want out of life, won't that take away from everyone else getting what they want, and isn't that Selfish with a capital S?"

No. Self-sacrifice, at least in my case, only causes resentment. I can give myself totally away to the needs of others, in the name of selflessness, but guess what they "get", grumpy, anxious, pissed-off Carrie. Nobody likes that Carrie, especially me.

By "feeding the demon", giving into the wants of ourselves and others, we are actually liberating ourselves. The key is to determine what underlies the want. Obviously, if we give our kids everything they THINK they want, we'll raise spoiled brats. Ick. Hate that. The trick is determining what they WANT from what they want.

Most of the times the want is to fulfill a basic need, love, acceptance, assurance companionship, safety or validation. Occasionally the need is more primal, food/clothing/shelter.

What do you want? Really?

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

not to be fullyrejected.

kario said...

Chocolate.

Oh, and world peace.

Anonymous said...

Carrie, someone in your life is feeling rejected by you. Your fan comments are as interesting and thought-provoking as your posts.

Nancy said...

Self sacrifice runs deep in the waters of my gene pool, not to mention in my upbringing. And until you said those words, I did not realize that so does resentment. Who wants to live with that??

Thank you for your wisdom!

Michelle O'Neil said...

How long have you got?

Jess said...

Good question. I am hard at work on it.

Eileen said...

WOW, good question. A bit scarey, if I really ponder it too long. To be honest with myself about how I am really feeling about things/people/situations, stop pretending it is all good and keep moving forward with a fake smile,while I rage inside.....But chocolate is good too.

Deb said...

Hmmmmm.

Julie Christine said...

love and acceptance...

Ziji Wangmo said...

One can easily feed a demon a day!
Ultimately, everyone wants love.
It sounds so easy...but can be the hardest thing to give and recieve.
Thanks, Carrie - love you!!! Have fun in NYC.

grammer said...

carrie, this is a great post ... but i am not sure i agree that
"wants" are part of the demon. that feels like a negative characterization of something i think we can be ok with. satisfy your wants, get what you think you need, and then you'll feel solid enough to lend a hand to others. "put your own mask on first..."

as for me, i want to get to the truth. want to learn how to see it and write it. and i really, almost desperately, want people to understand the interconnectedness of all living things. i don't think this world will know peace until it understands this. xo t