The Devil InsideIt's interesting the convergence of things. It's one of the reasons I used to read multiple books at a time--I loved the often profoundly sympatico convergences that happened between vastly different topics or genres.
I'm in the middle of a 40-day sadhana in which I read the Chandi di Vaar as well as doing 11 repetitions of the Tithe too pauri from Anand Sahib. Both are to protect and expel 'demons'. I began the practice as a way to protect my beloved and myself and to clear any obstacles. I've sense realized that the practice is for me--and my own healing.
The body holds memory; even though every cell in the body is replaced at some point (at least every 7 years if not every 48 hours, in some cases), the body still holds the story, or I should say the mind does. What happens if we drop the story? Would our bodies have an opportunity to completely renew? Or does the story run so deep--at the cellular and molecular level--that regardless of our conscious efforts to drop the pain and the past, the body holds on for dear life? I don't know the answer to that--but I do know that I have old stories held within me. Stories that were embedded in me as a child; stories that were implanted before I even had a language to be aware of them.
One such story is of 'the devil.' My mother and I still go around and around about this one (so apologies mom). But in my transformation process, I've realized that I'm carrying so much unnecessary shame and guilt. It's not that I haven't done things whose natural outcome is to feel shame or guilt. That's not the point. The point is that the notion of the devil inside, "the notorious devil-made-me-do-it" thinking creates a split within the psyche. Which is worse? To believe some force of evil generated negative actions in my life or take responsibility for it myself? Either way it's a hard pill to swallow; but if I take the responsibility myself, then I at least have an opportunity to resolve it. If it's some outside force, then what power do I have to change?
Another way of seeing this paradigm turns it completely on its head: God is the doer. Everything, whether we perceive it as 'good' or 'bad' is done by the one Doer--God--and is therefore a part of our path, our journey toward discovering our Self and the God within. This of course allows for no split in the psyche--but it does allow for a lot of compassion and grace and prayer that that force that's greater than ourselves can intervene and take our lives in a new direction.
And so I continue my process of expelling the demons--and it does feel like an exorcism in some cases! So, maybe you're right after all mom, maybe there is a devil inside. But if there is, it's only an idea that my mind accepted from my culture, retold in my subconscious, and continually renewed until I was ready to drop it and write a new story. A story of liberation and freedom and surrender and grace and all that is good. All things come from God and all things go to God.
May we expel our demons
and live in the light
of our ever renewed consciousness
May we drop the stories
and dwell in the moment
with an eye always on the prize
The illumined Self--Saibhang