excerpts from an article by Suzanne Guthrie in The Christian Century: "My friend Brother Bede likes to tell a story about the Buddhist saint Milarepa. When demons came to his cave to torment him, Milarepa said to them, "How kind of you to come. you must come again tomorrow. and from time to time we must converse" And Milarepa invited the demons in for tea... "My demons manifest themselves in forms so familiar I don't even recognize them when they come to call until it's too late and I've lost my equilibrium: anxiety, perfectionism, the sweet savor of annoyance over another's bad habits, self loathing... "There was a time when men and women left the cities to encounter God in the desert. But memories, experiences, habits, prejudices, and irrational fears came with them, clashing with silence, starkness and solitude. Extracting themselves from the demons camouflaged within their culture, they found concentrated phantasms erupting from their own thoughts, unhealed personalities and broken selves. Seeking purity of heart, the desert mothers and fathers had to face the demons erupting from their own hearts... "Lately when my own demons show up, I try to have the presence of mind to invite them into my consciousness...Surprisingly, my bad spirits are less chaotic when I pay attention to them..."
God, help me to pay attention to my demons, to learn from them, and to trust in your power to help me overcome them - in your time, and in ways that you would choose. Amen.