Break Bread with Demons like X-Men

Thur 29th May 2014
Living to Be Happy 

As mentioned in my previous post (here), Vipassana meditation teaches you (as my new friend Maximus puts it) how to ‘break bread with your demons’. That is, to face your demons with calm and compassion as opposed to fighting them head on.

On Wed 28th May 2014, back in Cali shortly after completing the Vipassana Meditation course, I was chatting on Skype when I found that I was becoming increasingly frustrated and annoyed. After the conversation, I went to the cinema and watched the fantastic new X-Men film (Days of Future Past), and as I sat there immensely enjoying how they have ‘done a Star Trek’ and rewritten history, I also found a comparison between breaking bread with demons and the marvel world of X-Men that explained where my feeling of frustration and annoyance had come from.

Let me share with you what being a buddha has to do with the X-Men!

Genes have mutated to create, well, mutants, and the general public does not understand the mutant. The mutant has the ability to take the world to a new higher level of consciousness with greater potential and a more advanced way of life, but the general public fear such an unknown future.

In some ways the mutant gene in X-Men could be seen as the motif for the real life ‘spiritual human being’; having developed a more conscious awareness of the reality we live in, the spiritual human being has also mutated, but not due to genetic evolution like in X-Men. In the real world everyone has the potential to become an ‘X-Man’ and take the world to a much more advanced way of life by developing awareness, but just like X-Men, the fears and lack of understanding of the general public become the greatest obstacle to this higher level of consciousness ever becoming a reality.

Society, as it presently stands, prohibits such a higher level of consciousness being embraced by all because it conditions (another word for ‘brainwashes’) us to live at a much lower level (see here).

Accepting society the way that it currently is as the only way for us to live on this planet creates immense unnecessary misery for us all, and when someone, whether mutant in the marvel world or spiritual in the real world, tries to inspire positive change, they find themselves fighting with the general public at every turn.

Breaking Bread with Demons: The Professor X Approach

In the marvel world, the mutants suffer from the misery society causes for them in varying ways. Professor X teaches his students to break bread with their demons. To love their enemies (both outside and within themselves) because this is the only way to achieve real lasting peace for ourselves both outside and within.

Professor X therefore represents spirituality, and his approach is to practise Vipassana meditation. He looks at those of lower consciousness as victims of their own ignorance - they do not know what they are doing - and he is determined to believe in a better future by showing compassion for all.

For example, he teaches Wolverine how to observe his past pain without reacting to it, and slowly come out of his suffering so that he may live a life with inner peace regardless of what is going on ‘out there’.

This is exactly what Vipassana meditation teaches us, but it is not easy for Wolverine, and it is not easy for us in the real world either. Past suffering creates sankhāras (manifestations of deep rooted suffering) that we must slowly learn to accept.

I have a fire deep within from my own past. Whether it is due to the stresses caused by reacting to unwanted situations in my own life, and there have been some whoppers, or whether it is due to stresses that I have brought with me into this life from previous lives (the fortune teller in Mexico told me the majority of my suffering in this life comes from the fact that in a recent past life I killed myself and brought all the pain with me!), there is a fire within me that sometimes breaks my usual peaceful calm and comes ferociously out when I feel threatened or challenged.

I don’t have a violent bone in my body, but when the furnace roars, I can no longer calm down, and I argue and fight my corner with a raised voice until the fire dies down. It is a rare occurrence, but it does happen, and I can sometimes even feel the fire flickering away within me.

When I was skyping, the conversation was bringing out a deep-rooted issue and I momentarily lost the ability to observe the fire rising up without reacting - in the end I hung up the phone.

It is not something I am proud of, but this blog is about being honest about what happens when you really follow the teachings of spirituality to see what happens. And the fact is that anyone doing so will have to face his or her own demons, whatever they may be, because we all have them, and in order to do so, those demons do have to surface.

Luckily, the Vipassana course provides a practical, logical way for everyone and anyone to do just that. Continued practice is necessary after the initial 10-day course is finished for long-lasting results, but continued daily meditation will retrain your mind to observe your own demons when they arise without reacting, so that the fire simply burns itself out. The fire can not stay as strong if no fuel is added, and eventually the fire will start to permanently subside until one day it dies out all together.

For more on Vipassana meditation courses click here

Fighting Demons: The Magneto Approach

Professor X, just as spirituality, teaches us to deal with the suffering the outside world brings upon us in whatever shape or form with compassion, calm and understanding.

We all know there are injustices in this world that affect us all, and in many varying ways. The world outside creates stress for us personally, and as whole groups whether related to gender, race, culture, or nation; in fact injustices in the world end up affecting the entire planet that we all live on, and a feeling of helplessness on all these levels only helps increase suffering in us all.

Magneto is the antithesis of Professor X. He is the man who fights fire with fire rather than water (see here) and challenges, battles, argues, and ultimately destroys in the name of peace.

On Skype, I heard that there are refugees that the government are currently sending back to their home countries, and therefore most likely to their death, and the way to change such actions is for people to make noise and get noticed, and that can only be achieved through demonstrations that may well get aggressive and/or violent.

Spirituality teaches us to fight injustice by being the change that we want to see in the world - to set an example - and to deal with those that cause our suffering with compassion. Spirituality does not teach us to sit around and do nothing, but to fight negative actions with positive actions so as not to fuel and thus escalate the negative situation.

Mother Theresa is famously quoted as saying that she would never go to an anti-war rally, but she would attend a pro-peace rally any day. I was trying to explain the well known proverb that 'two wrongs do not make a right', but it is hard to explain how compassion for our aggressors can ultimately create positive change.

S.N.Goenka explains in one of his Vipassana discourses how fighting aggression with aggression can only create more suffering, and you can view this excerpt here:

Magneto never does agree with Professor X. Instead he believes that the only way to successfully deal with the suffering that people in the world out there subject us to is to fight, and that is what the Skype conversation was alluding to.

I do not know exactly how I know (yet), and that was the deep-rooted issue right there - my own insecurity. Nevertheless, I am certain that fighting aggressors with aggression is negativity fighting negativity, and can only lead to more suffering.

We must inspire positive change in this world by being the change that we want to see in the world and setting the example. We must show others that we can join together to create a positive change in this world by creating it together ourselves. Only by action, not reaction, can we do something to stop injustice and suffering.

I felt that this opinion was being challenged and threatened and I did exactly what I am arguing we must not do. I fought against the negativity with negativity - albeit on a much smaller scale than fighting out on the streets. Still, in order for us to be our higher better Self, we have to stop choosing Magneto’s approach, and show the world that people can live from a higher more aware level of consciousness - we need to learn from Professor X.

Vipassana teaches us how. Find a Vipassana course near you here

Be inspired ♥


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