Praise For The Book
“In Feeding Your Demons Tsultrim Allione offers us a powerful and transformative practice…one that can heal the deepest wounds and reveal profound spiritual truths. What is so striking is how, through her own tremendous clarity and heart, Allione brings this practice alive and renders it truly accessible. This book will serve all those who want to untangle the tangles with wisdom and love.”—Tara Brach, author of Radical Acceptance
At first glance, some people may misunderstand what is meant by feeding rather than fighting your demons, as one woman said to me recently, “I am aware that I am constantly feeding my demons by indulging in negativity, I don’t need a book about it.” But feeding your demons as taught by Tsultrim Allione is not a method that increases your patterns of suffering, it is a direct way to free ourselves from psychological paralysis by making conscious that which festers in the unexamined regions of our hearts and minds. I feel immensely grateful to Tsultrim for her exalted clarity and deep care in translating and offering this yogic practice of liberation in such an accessible yet profound form. We are all so fortunate to have such a genuine yogini among us.”
—Sarah Powers, International Yoga Teacher and author of Insight Yoga
In this substantive work, Allione focuses on a spiritual practice developed by an eleventh-century female Buddhist teacher named Machig Labdron. This five-step ancient meditation practice is called Chod which means “to cut through” and it doesn’t require any knowledge of Buddhism or of any Tibetan principles. Allione has been teaching it for the past 25 years at her retreat center. She calls it the art of feeding our demons to make friends with that which we would most like to avoid: this “strategy of nurturing rather than battling our inner and outer enemies offers a revolutionary path to resolve conflict that leads to psychological integration and inner peace.”
We in the West are used to another mythology — the dragon-slaying hero. It is predominant in our literature, movies, and everyday life. In the battle between good and evil, we identify with the hero and project all evil onto our opponents in an effort to justify their elimination from the earth. This leads to an escalation of violence and cancels out any possibility of knowing our own demons or seeing them as spiritual teachers. The idea of engaging and communicating with the evil-doer rather than destroying it is viewed as heresy.
The demons in this spiritual practice are not ghosts, goblins, or minions of the Devil. They are, according to the author, our present preoccupations, the issues in our lives blocking our experience of freedom. Fears, obsessions, and addictions become demonic by “being split off, disowned, and fought against.” Here is the five-step process of feeding your demons:
1. Find the Demon
2. Personify the Demon and Ask What It Needs
3. Become the Demon
4. Feed the Demon and Meet the Ally
5. Rest in Awareness
Allione suggests keeping a demon journal, feeding your demons with a partner, using the five steps with other meditation practices, and working with your demons through art and maps. The process of Chod can be effective against the four kinds of demons originally described by Machig Labdron:
1. Outer Demons (illnesses, relationships, family demons)
2. Inner Demons (anger, anxiety, shame or depression)
3. Demons of Elation (the obstacles we face when we seek success, whether worldly or spiritual)
4. Demons of egocentricity (all challenges stemming from self-importance and ego inflation)
After covering a wide variety of demons, Allione concludes:
“Normally we empower our demons by believing they are real and strong in themselves and have the power to destroy us. As we fight against them, they get stronger. But when we acknowledge them by discovering what they really need, and nurture them, our demons release their hold, and we find that they actually do not have power over us. By nurturing the shadow elements of our being with infinite generosity, we can access the state of luminous awareness and undermine ego. By feeding the demons, we resolve conflict and duality, finding our way to unity.”
Testimonial for the FYD Process
The addition of the Ally in the process has drawn an even richer symbolic language into concrete participation in my life. Even though the Inquiry Process has greatly influenced the dissolving of attachment to beliefs and stories over the years, I notice that Chöd and the Demon Practice has significantly reduced reliance on “thinking”. There is such an immediate noticing of either “connection” or “disconnection” in the practice, as if it invites a complete paradigm shift.
What I am noticing is a loss of interest in ” understanding” and a deeper trust in the process itself. What it brings up in that moment is a playfulness that had been unfamiliar and feels very alive. This experience is also really impacting my own work. Clients and students are actually commenting on that. I certainly sense it, but cannot really describe the shift words. So exciting!
Adapted by, G Ross Clark