Adventures With Mara

May you be free of suffering

May you be happy

May you find healing

 

MaraAs I navigate the waters of standing in my own energy and power, I realize how frequently and easily I can get diverted by another’s energy. No matter how much I grow and learn, the same perspective presents itself: It is my response that dictates my ability to remain free or become trapped. Trapped by illusions that whatever is manifesting – in my life, energy, and reality – is stronger than my soul or authentic self.

I have often read or seen the story of Buddha’s awakening and how he faced enormous forces of doubt as he meditated under the bodhi tree one night. The doubts, delusions, and attempts to persuade Siddhartha to turn against himself and give up the path were presented by Mara. As the night wore on, Mara issued an assortment of challenges in a variety of forms – from seductress to angry wrath – all with the goal to disrupt and obstruct Siddhartha from awakening. In other words, Mara hoped to scare Siddhartha away from seeing his divine presence, the light of all that is that resides in each and every one of us, by creating the illusion that he was stronger. When Mara recognized that he was not facing a man, but the power of creative awareness itself, he fearfully withdrew. Siddhartha became a Buddha.

The story of Mara speaks to our inner demons and delusions. Denials that we embody that speak to our lack of worth and question whether we are good enough and deserving. The story of Mara makes sense to me. Intellectually, I understand how I create my own demons and that I am the only one who can truly dispel them. When I believe that Mara is stronger than my authentic self, I become trapped. I foster fear that I am not strong enough to stand up to whatever form Mara is currently taking. I question the legitimacy of my power and fracture instead of gathering my energy. I react and close off my heart instead of opening and bearing witness. Witness to my own suffering and the suffering of others.

The late Hindu guru Neem Karoli Baba often said, “Don’t throw anyone out of your heart.” As I read this again recently, I wondered who or what have I thrown out of my heart. For me, one of the more challenging experiences regarding energetic intrusion has been when a another holds me in disregard. When I would sense their presence, I would do my best to forgive and send prayers of kindness. But, I discovered that as long as I held myself in disregard; allowed myself to believe in my lack of worth; I would support a belief than another is stronger than my authentic self. What I realized is that all the rejections, lack of acceptance, and people who appear to be adversaries are simply my manifestations of Mara.

As I allow the realization of Mara and his appearances in my life to sink in, I am able to soften my fear. Instead of harboring core doubts that convey mistrust in my abilities to stand in genuine power, I bring them into the light of acceptance. I allow for keeping someone in my heart through compassion, patience, and tolerance. I open to appreciating myself more and in turn those around me. I attempt to genuinely forgive by forgiving myself for doubting and fostering a belief that I am not worthy or of value. I can rest in the peace of knowing that we can push some one or some thing out of our lives, or vice verse, and keep them in our hearts.

I know I still have many forms of Mara to face. May I have the strength and compassion to do so. May all beings know strength and compassion.

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