But I kept waking up with Tara Mandala in the forefront of my consciousness. Day after day, this place I'd never seen called to me. Finally, I gave in and registered to go.
I ordered some audio tapes from Tara Mandala's website in an effort to find out just what I was getting myself into. One of the tapes was about a meditation practice called Chod, otherwise known as "Feeding the Demon." Tsultrim Allione, founder of Tara Mandala takes you through the exercise in the series.
In time, Jennifer Lauck would work her own mojo on me, but the Chod practice would change my life before I even got to Colorado.
Your demon is whatever may be bugging you. A person, a physical condition, a problem you want to solve.
The meditation is a bit complex, but basically you visualize the problem or person as your demon, and, when you are relaxed and open, you ask it what it wants, and then surrender to it.
My demon was a four year old girl with straight brown hair and big eyes. Her neurological system had been damaged and she could not stop screaming. Every bump in the road was traumatic for her. She had very little ability to calm herself. My demon was miserable and so was I.
At the time, I'd figured out her sensory issues and understood them on an intellectual level. I no longer screamed at her. I no longer tossed her roughly onto the bed in her room and slammed the door.
During the Chod meditation my demon told me:
"It isn't enough that you don't scream at me. It isn't enough that you don't hit me. I need you to stop rolling your eyes and sighing heavy when I'm having a hard time. I need you to know I'm trying. I need you to know I'm scared and I'm doing the best I can. I need you to not just tolerate me, but to love me, no matter how I'm behaving."
I felt an immediate shift. I did this meditation for weeks until the change in my attitude felt solid.
I've been rewarded every single day since.
* Tsultrim Allione will be teaching on the east coast in April, in Massachusetts and then NYC. Check out the Tara Mandala schedule for details.