A reader asks:
Personally, I don’t think it’s uncommon for people to believe they’ve been possessed by demons. We are taught from an early age what is ‘right’ and ‘wrong’. We grow up striving to be ‘good’ yet when we hit puberty, we realize there’s a lot more to the world. What we consider ‘good’ and ‘pure’ doesn’t always match up with what we desire – physically and mentally. Yet our ego only wants to associate us with ‘good.’
I have a question I have a friend who pretends that she has inside her the demons Astaroth, Gaap and Amon and she wants to get rid of them how can this be done and she wants to know why is this happening to her she is a 16-year old girl and she needs someone’s help.
So, what do we do? In many cases, we separate the ‘good’ from the ‘bad.’ Since society tells us we shouldn’t be ‘bad’, we push it outside ourselves. We try to distance ourselves from our desires and therefore create ‘demons’ or ‘shadows’ that haunt us.
To get rid of that ‘demon’ or ‘shadow’, you have to confront it and accept that those impulses are part of you. Satan and his minions aren’t tempting you to do these ‘bad’ things. You’re choosing to allow those aspects you don’t like about yourself to attack you.
When you can blame the ‘bad’ on an outside force, you start to see yourself as a victim. You no longer see the problem as coming from within you. This, unfortunately, creates a sense of helplessness and despair – that something nags you and keeps you from being happy.
The Mar-May 2006 What is Enlightenment? magazine had a great article on ego. Philosopher Ken Wilber had this to say about ridding yourself from these ‘shadows’.
I use several ways to get at that shadow, but one is a process that we developed at the Integral Institute called 3-2-1 (as in third person, second person, first person). There are two versions of this practice. In the morning when you wake up, you think of a dream and think of the element in the dream that’s the most disturbing -it could be the most attractive, most positive, or most negative. So that’s a third-person object or ‘other’. Now most psychodynamic theories agree that the elements that disturb us most are parts of our own finite selves that we haven’t come to terms with; we’ve repressed them or projected them and they appear as other. Your finite self as split something off from itself and that shadow element will screw you up all the way to enlightenment and back, because there’s no way to get at it. So in the morning you simply take one of these elements and hold it in front of you and talk to it. Now it becomes second person. And once you’ve converted it to second person, then the next step is to make it first person, to identify with it, to actually speak from that place: ‘I am the monster,’ and so on. That’s a very good way to help you get out of the victim mode, because one of the primary ways you can get into the victim mode is by projecting some aspect of yourself that you hate outside yourself, and then it attacks you all the time and you can’t figure out why. So that’s the 3-2-1 process. You can also do it at the end of the day – take an event, thing or person that upset you and follow the same process.
The hitch is that the person who believes he/she is possessed must want to undertake this intense examination of his/her own life. No one can do it for you. And often, it’s not a pleasant experience because you must confront yourself for who you are – not what your family/friends/society want you to be.