Enter the demons

For the past couple of days, life has poured on a double dose of work on me. And this, after I grumbled to my God that I had a lot on my plate already.

But besides exhaustion, what really bothers me are the sleepless nights. I’ve had these phases several times in my life — I call them the demons in my head. When a deep sense of unease takes over my dreams and I wake breathless. I mostly never remember what I dreamt of at night, but the day does reveal the lessons I am meant to learn from them.

In the middle of the night a couple of days ago, I woke again in an anguished wheeze. The mind stayed haunted all morning. Later, as always, the answer revealed itself in a lightbulb moment: Unlike all my previous ‘demon phases’, when I was disturbed by ghosts of the past surfacing, this time I was disturbed by ghosts of the future. I was somehow able to see that my current life trajectory was laying wounds in others’ hearts – people I love and cherish deeply. I was hurting them simply by being myself and following my own heart. In my dreams, I was helpless either way. If I stifled my true calling, I would hurt myself. If I listened to it, I would hurt them.

And so I stayed sad and subdued for a day. Until today’s Buddhist meeting in my colony (yes I am back in the practice after a long time). Someone quoted: Faith and fear cannot coexist.

A ping went off in my head. Where was my faith all this time? How could I have given in to this fear? And a fire of devotion and hope suddenly lit up inside me.

And then the other quote came: To know the causes of the past, look at the effects in the present. To know the effects in the future, look at the causes in the present.

That’s what my wonderful practice is all about: Changing karma. I cannot escape what my current circumstances are, but I can and will change my current attitude to them. It doesn’t have to be a lose-lose situation. It can be win-win if I look at it differently.

The day went off much better after that, despite some domestic issues. The night will now tell where the demons really are.


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