Last night was one where I faced one of my self-loathing demons again and again while lying in bed. I have been willing to work with compassion toward them, and when Feeding Your Demons jumped off the shelf a few years ago, I integrated my translation of the practice therein into my personal and professional work. Feeding Your Demons contains a valuable form of practice because it has the alchemical transformation of Eastern shamanic roots and the compassion of the Buddhist path combined in a palatable way for Westerners, who don’t have to be shamans to do it.
The sign of my own resistance to change is to fall asleep in the middle of this kind of work, which is why it is recommended to do it sitting up and with help. Working at night by myself has been my own decision. Falling asleep may seem a great way to get more rest, but it does means there is a kind of stuckness and escape, and knowing that the monster will only pop up again to taunt me further down the road. When the resistance gets this intense, there may be a sign of a breakthrough, but if I focus on the breakthrough I am not fully engaged and embodying all aspects of the dark and light that are needed to free me from what I am calling my demons. I believe that they are a constellation of energy that are actually coming from my personality’s version of reality, which of course was created years ago and maybe from habits of lifetimes ago, so sometimes the compassionate flow really does falter into distraction and hypersomnia, and thus requires great patience and steadfast effort.
As a shamanic practitioner I know I am spirit-travelling at night, but I need sleep like anyone else, so I persist with several practices night and day, to retrieve a sense of my original nature. I have also used a constitutional remedy from homeopathy to support my intentions and it has assisted me in unpacking the layers of my process.
As the dawn came today I was already awake, and beginning the method again, which in its final stage is to become the essence of healing elixir that would feed my demon what it needs; in order to do this I need to draw on infinite compassion in the universe and to drop away my inventive ego’s idea that the demon is outside of me, or even that it needs bashing, because I would be bashing myself. The discipline necessitates repeating the practice out of compassion for myself, not repeating self-flagellation or continuing the projection of fear and blame.
When my being-as-elixir started to fill the demon in order to satisfy its need for loving kindness, the intuitive flash I had was its transformation into a white deer. It was very sudden, and then before I had time to think, I realized that my first shamanic guide, White Deer Woman, was back; she is a shapeshifter and will help me restore myself to the gentle and graceful approach needed for healing, by me, for me, at this time, The spiritual warrior-ship needed in this situation has meant facing the demon, and even falling asleep, again and again, getting stuck in the visualization, losing track of my thoughts, all of which show me that I am no more needing to chastise myself than to harass a child learning to walk when she falls down.
My grandson, who is translating his skateboarding into moves for doing parkour, is learning to fall wisely, and I take a hint from the grace and elegance of his fall and apply it to my offering to the demons.
When I got up from my short vision in bed, this time grace continued to flow with me, and I came across a North American Native legend about a demon that kept people out of the Spirit Lodge. In one version he terrified everyone who came even close. In that story a fawn approached one day and saw the demon and heard its terrible rage. However, the fawn refused to let fear overcome the compassion and gentleness of her nature and demon, who was touched by the love in her eyes, dissolved like dark clouds into an open sky. Since then everyone has been able to get to the spirit lodge.
I am not the first one or the last one to enter there, but part of a long history of those who want to go into the space of the lodge; for me to approach the space has required quieting and calming down, and that seemed difficult to attain because of the old trauma-induced dissociation of myself from my own nature. It is not an uncommon situation, this was my particular way through.
I give thanks to the spirit of the deer and to the ways we have been given to pay attention and to deepen our love all of our shadows as well as our light.
Nancy Dancing Light, Spring Equinox, 2015