Since starting to read Tsultrim Allione's book, Feeding Your Demons, I've been re-learning something I've learned before, but from a Taoist perspective in Relaxing into your Being: Breathing, Chi, and Dissolving the Ego, by B. K. Frantzis. From the Taoist perspective you use breathing and energy work to dissolve blockages. With Tsultrim's work, you embody the bloackages or issues into demons you can interact with and then you dissolve them by feeding the demons what they need, as opposed to what they want. And what both books teach is that the more you actively resist or fight something, the stronger it gets, because you are letting it guide and control your strength. By relaxing, and also learning how to use your strength to guide the demon/blockage you can actually loosen up a lot of resistance and free your energy up. The last few weeks have been hard for me, because I've consciously realized just how much I've struggled against some of my demons, all the while making them stronger. When you observe behavior that you know is unhealthy and you know you should stop it, but you feel your efforts aren't working, it's like watching a train wreck happening. You can't stop it and you feel helpess and frustrated. That's how I've felt not even the just the last few weeks, but really the last few months, since the beginning of this emptiness working. And every bit of progress I've gained has been a struggle, a fight for even an inch...yet in fighting myself so much I have made it so much harder on myself than I needed to.
You might wonder, since I've had access and been doing the Taoist breathing, why that didn't just work, but I think that while it does work, there's also something to be said for how people sometimes box themselves in through their perceptions. It's been in reading and working with the exercises in Tsultrim's work that I've finally started to feel less resistance and less struggle. It's still there some, because I'm not used to interacting with my emptiness or abandonment issues without some form of struggle involved, but emboding my issue into the form of a demon, where I can interact with it has helped me actually put a face to my issues and so respond to them with more compassion than I would normally allow for myself. In fact, perhaps because I haven't previously embodied my issues in a form that was approacheable, it's been harder to feel compassion because it still on some levels feels like an abstract concept that I'm grappling with. The embodiment of an aspect of myself provides something that's more flesh and blood...and I've had access to techniques like this, but what's helping me GET this concept is the way Tsultrim words/explaisn the technique as well as the underlying issues that create these demons. I've read books on pathworking, explained from a Western Magical perspective, but the problem that has occurred is that the approach has often been worded in an abstract, intellectual manner, without a corresponding level of emotional/spiritual awareness that allows a person to feel the technique, as well as visualize it or read about it.
I'm still struggling with my demons, but each day it's a bit less and I find it makes what I'm doing a bit easier...it's easier to feel compassion for my struggles, for my weak moments, and for my failings than it ever was before. I can finally accept my failings and from that acceptance start toward a genuine path of change and growth.