This wonderful exercise is from the Buddhist tradition. Imagine this, if you will: You head to the special gourmet market, high-end bakery and flower shop. You purchase the most sumptuous of delicacies and the most extravagant arrangement of early spring flowers. Once home, you unearth your finest table linens, which you wash and iron to perfection. You polish your silver until it gleams. You reach into the recesses of your cabinets and carefully withdraw your most delicate porcelains. You carefully wash them in hot, soapy water and dry them mindfully with a hand towel. You set your table with all of your finery, creating a beautiful and inviting tableau.
You shower and dress, specially preparing yourself for this very important occasion, an occasion that requires the very best of everything you have to offer. With one final look in the mirror, you know you are completely ready.
You walk to the very back of your home, where there is a large wooden door with a small grated opening. As you approach the door, you can already smell the putrid, offensive odors and hear the snarling, banging, spitting and other off-putting noises. You are quite nervous. You take a very deep breath. You open a series of locks, swing open the heavy door and invite your demons to follow you into the dining room for a tea party.
You are expecting your table to be trashed. However, you are surprised. Your oversized demons sit carefully on your small-to-them chairs and place napkins in their laps. They are delighted to be included. You have actual conversations; you feed them sweets. You meet some of your deepest fears in these hairiest, most foul-smelling creatures. Who knew? You begin to feel some compassion; there’s an inkling of comprehension. With some understanding, they really aren’t so slimy, awful and loathsome after all.
This month, will you invite your demons for tea?