Tara Brach wrote a piece on her blog, entitled, Inviting Mara To Tea.
Tara has “been practicing and teaching Buddhist meditation, emotional healing and spiritual awakening, with a focus on vipassana (mindfulness) meditation” for many years.
Tara writes, “The night before his enlightenment, the Buddha fought a great battle with the Demon God Mara, who attacked the then bodhisattva Siddhartha Guatama with everything he had: lust, greed, anger, doubt, etc. Having failed, Mara left in disarray on the morning of the Buddha’s enlightenment.”In this story she share that instead of ignoring Mara or driving him away, the Buddha would calmly acknowledge his presence, saying, ‘I see you, Mara.’ He even invited Mara to have tea with him.”
Tara continues, “When Mara visits us, in the form of troubling emotions or fearsome stories, we can say, “I see you, Mara,” and clearly recognize the reality of craving and fear that lives in each human heart. By accepting these experiences with the warmth of compassion, we can offer Mara tea rather than fearfully driving him away. Seeing what is true, we hold what is seen with kindness. We express such wakefulness of heart each time we recognize and embrace our hurts and fears.”
How do you react when Mara visits? Do you ignore him, tolerate him, fight with him? What would it be like to welcome him? In other words, what would it be like to accept a sad feeling or an anxious one just as much as you welcome a happy or peaceful feeling? All feelings come and go. They are transient.
What would it be like, this time, to notice that Mara has come for a visit? He may want to stay for a few minutes or a few days. Only you can decide that. By welcoming him, he probably won’t stay too long but for whatever length of time he wants to visit, he is there to teach us something. By allowing ourselves to see him, we are essentially asking ourselves, what is this visit here to teach me?
So, the next time Mara comes, welcome him, invite him for tea. See if you can appreciate him rather than fear or resist him.
If you fear Mara too much to welcome or invite him to tea or if Mara lives with you and does not just visit, let me know. I would like to help you. You can contact me here.