Dreams and Exoricism
Last week someone sent me a dream about exorcising some demonic things from inside of them. When I work with dreams, I use two qualities from within myself to help me in the process. One is the quality of self-discipline and the other is playfulness. Self-discipline forces me to treat things in a metaphoric manner rather than slipping into literally thinking. As soon as you go to literal thinking when your work with yourself on any issue, then you quickly give the responsibility of your life to someone else to solve. It doesn’t allow you to go deeply into yourself to find amazing answers to your life’s riddles. Playfulness is the quality that allows you have focus on what you are working with a great deal of lightness. Playfulness actually allows you to stay focused for much longer periods of time than when you do the opposite which is to take things too seriously. When life is too serious or you feel you have to be serious all the time, it means someone else is in charge of your life, not you.
Exorcism as a metaphoric process is very interesting. The idea is that when you were not aware of it, some evil presence into your being and took over it. Until you get the evil, demonic thing out of your body, your life will continue on its current path of out of control destruction. The premise of exorcism is that once you get the satanic thing out of your body, then you can get back onto a normal path of growth and behavior. In the dream I received the person went to someone who laid his hands on the dreamer, and then lots of gross things started coming out.
The problem with exorcism is that it does not deal with the root cause of how the negative feelings and behaviors ever were allowed to get into the dreamer in the first place. There is no doubt that people’s lives can get out of control with negative emotions such as anxiety, fear, or jealousy. It can feel like a demonic presence has taken over one’s life that needs to be pulled out. The problem for the dreamer is the problem that the vast majority of human beings have. That is that someone else is controlling what she believes about herself. She is fed a steady diet of put downs and criticisms until she feels so bad about herself that it is like she is full of demons. This no doubt happened to the dreamer from her culture, probably her family, and no doubt her schooling.
The dreamer was not taught about her true reality. In the Baha’i teachings human beings are regarded as amine rich in gems of inestimable value. In the Old Testament of the Bible it is taught that people are created in the image of God, which among other things means that they have unlimited positive virtues waiting to be brought out. Most people do not get this kind of upbringing because they are besieged by people telling them all of the negative and “sinful” things about themselves. The negative approach to being brought up in life makes people susceptible to other people outside of themselves controlling everything about them.
So the chances are that if you feel like you need to have demons exorcised from you, you are probably in the same boat as most of humanity, which is that you are raised in culture and family that does not honor the many gifts that are inside of you ready to be brought out. It is more productive to think of yourself as a miner going after the gems inside of you, than as an evil person.
My experience has been that the negative emotions and so-called character traits that become negative patterns like violence or theft, for instance, are better dealt with in the context of being a person who is inherently created in the image of God. When we forget this important aspect, then the “evil” becomes like a permanent thing that can only be changed by exorcism. When a negative emotion takes control over you life like fear or jealousy, then it so covers up the positive and controls your mind so much, that you are no longer capable (if you ever were) of seeing the positive and beautiful aspects about yourself.
The proper equilibrium state for a human being is to basically see and feel the positive states within them because, after all, that is how we are created. In the process of finding new gems or new capacities, the negative states will appear. They act as communicators to show you where the current weakness is, but they are not inherently evil or demonic. They are only temporary states that leave when the new virtue is in place. For example being lazy is a negative state that can go on for a lifetime, but the moment you have the virtue of being industrious, it leaves. You don’t need an exorcist to transform your negative states. You just need to find out what positive aspect is that is trying to come out. As you work on that aspect each day, then you are gradually able to attend to it more fully. Eventually it is so attended to inwardly in your memory that it becomes a part of your identity. People say things like you are so industrious.
The so-called demon of laziness leaves, not because someone has laid his hands on you, but because you are no longer attending to its call. When you are in the initial throws of a lot of anxiety or fear related to the negative state, it really pays to get some help from someone you trust who has a lot of experience to move you through to the new virtue because the patterns can be complex and entrenched.
The really difficult ego-states in the world that are completely out of control are within people who have gained some sort of power over others, use it for their own gain, and then call what they are doing virtuous which is copied by others. They become deluded with power and then have no idea that what they are doing is absurd or that they need to transform themselves. They are usually ruled by fear, but will not admit to it or work on it. It is best to remain detached from them.
The key thing to think about if you have a dream about exorcism is that you have an unbelievable treasure chest full of virtues waiting to come out.