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Friday, July 24, 2009

Taking tea with the demons

On sunny summer days, when I am intoxicated by warmth, light, the sounds of singing birds, and the fragrance of abundance blooming all around me I am far less likely to be mindful of the profound lesson- gifts life has to offer me, right out there in the light. I've always learned my karma-balancing, soul-growing lessons in the dark, in the storms, and in the silence, in the wanting.

I'm working on duality, polarity, and stupidity.

So sometimes, when I am with Wisdom, I recall myself while I am walking in the sunshine. Seeing my shadow on the street is a cue for me to pay attention to those parts of myself I don't like but that tag along after me anyway.

There I am in the light, and there I am – my shadow self, equally in the light.

When I see that interplay in the light, I bless the darkness, past and present, physically and emotionally, and I am reminded of the healing power of the power of shadow. Whenever I come across people who are always demonizing their enemies, I vow to take responsibility for my actions and accept my shadow self. I bless the demons. I invite them to tea.

Blessed is the eternal light who grants us so many epiphanies in the darkness. But to learn in the light is to bathe in grace. So yes, I invite the demons to tea. It can be pure drama!

Zen teachers often use the image of "taking tea with the demons." Fear — to name merely one demon — grows huge as we flee from it, but, when we turn and face it, it shrinks.

So, to practice this thought I take tea, a blossom steeped in the sun, often with one of my most pernicious and troublesome demons. My guest usually brings Patience, for she hides from me when I yell for her company – especially I need her presence most immediately. If I invite her to tea with Impatience, gently, she usually accepts my invitation. Together we watch the tea blossom open, wait for the tea to cool, meditate together. I am learning not to raise my voice when I speak to her. I ask her to stay for a second cup.

My mantra breathing in: I love . . .
Breathing out: my shadow self

My Impatience, my demon, my light...

This exercise, “Toward Away,” was created by Colette Aboulker-Muscat of Jerusalem, Israel. It enables you to work with ambivalent feelings, one area where shadow tends to manifest.

Breathe out three times. Imagine something that attracts you so much that you would like to move toward it. See it clearly and be aware of how you feel and how your body feels, particularly your face. Now let your feelings flow into your slow movements toward the thing that attracts you. Now move slowly away from this thing and let your movements express how you are still drawn back to it, even as you are moving away.

Breathe out three times. Imagine that very close to you is something specific that repels you strongly, something that you want to move away from. See it clearly and recognize all your feelings toward this thing, especially in your face. Let your feelings express how you are flying away from this thing. Now move again toward this thing that repels you and discover what it is that repels you. Then discover something which you can appreciate, something that actually attracts you toward it. Now move slowly away, being aware of how you are moving and feeling.

When you are finished, breathe out and open your eyes.

Hello Impatience, have some tea. I love you.

May you be blessed!

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