When our resistance is gone...


One of my favorite authors is Pema Chödrön whose wisdom never fails to inspire me. One of her stories is about Milarepa, who lived in the eleventh century in Tibet. He is one of the heroes of Tibetan Buddhism and was known to be very brave. He was also known to be very unusual. He was a loner, living by himself in a cave who meditated wholeheartedly for years. He was very stubborn and determined.

The story goes that one evening when Milarepa returned to his cave, he found his cave full of demons. They were cooking his food, reading his books and sleeping in his bed. He didn’t have a clue how to get them out of his cave. Even though he had the sense that they were just a projection of his own mind, all the unwanted parts of himself, he didn’t know how to get rid of them. He started by teaching them his wisdom. Then he talked about compassion and emptiness and other Buddhist teachings. Nothing happened. They refused to go. Then he got angry and ran at them. They just laughed at him. Finally, he gave up, sat on the floor while saying “I’m not going away, and it looks like they are not either, so let’s just live here together”. At that point all of them left except one. Milarepa told himself that his one was a particular vicious one. He didn’t know what to do and surrendered even further: he walked over and put himself right into the mouth of the demon and told him “eat me up if you want to”. Then that demon left too.

The moral of the story: when our resistance is gone, so are our demons!