To Master the Demon

To Master the Demon

There is a great fable told by Tom Brown in his book Awakening Spirits. In my slightly modified version it goes something like this:

There once was a man who lived in the wilderness next to a powerful wizard. The word in the glen was that the wizard had the ability to conjure a demon that could accomplish any task. One day the man decides that he is going to trap this magical brokowski, and make him give up his demon.

After tracking him for a few days, he finds the wizard sitting on the mossy bank of a river. His eyes are closed though he does not appear to be asleep. The man makes a large rodeo knot in a rope, and like a cowboy throws it around the wizard's torso and cinches it tight. The wizard is surprisingly unstartled, "You want the demon." "Yes." Replied the man.

"I will grant your wish. The demon will do any task you ask of it. But I must warn you, you have to keep the demon busy, or it will seek to undo you."

The man gladly acknowledged what the wizard said, thinking only of the many tasks he could accomplish. The wizard told him the demon would be waiting for him back in his cabin.

True to the wizard's word, a small and humble demon in the form of a dutiful servant was waiting for him. Tired from his journey, the man asked if the demon could draw some water from the spring. In moments the demon returned with water, saying "It is done." The demon was calm as the man drunk his water. But immediately upon finishing the cup, the demon grew impatient. Remembering what the wizard had told him, the man gave the demon a much harder task. "Make me a feast of wild game, the likes of which even the great hunter Joe Rogan has never seen."

The demon disappeared out of the door and returned with a cornucopia of meat. "It is done." As the man sat down to eat the demon was quiet again. But as soon as the man had his fill, the demon's complexion grew dark. Knowing that he had to keep the demon occupied the man gave the demon a really challenging task. "Make me a new home, high up on the hill, with gardens and a wine cellar so that I can eat and drink with all the homies."

The demon hurried out of the door, and the man lay down in bed. Just as he was starting to close his eyes, the demon burst back through the door. "It is done." The man began to panic. Any task he gave the demon would be accomplished too quickly. As the man stood frozen in fear the demon grew larger and more menacing. The demon started ridiculing the man, telling the man that he was unworthy of his powers. The demon whispered to the man that the only way to stop the torment was to end his life. With the hysterical strength of pure desperation the man sprinted back to where he last saw the wizard. To his surprise the wizard was still there.

The man fell to his knees and begged the wizard. "How do you control your demon? I fear my demon is going to kill me because any task I give him he accomplishes. I can never keep him busy enough to enjoy what he has done."

The wizard looked at the man, and with compassion in his eyes answered him. "Pull a hair from your head." The man did as was told. "Tell the demon to straighten this hair using only his hands."

The man left the wizard to find the demon waiting for him blocking the path. "What will you have me do!" The man plucked another hair from his head, and told him as the wizard had suggested. The demon laughed as he took the hair in his hands. He straightened it out, but as soon as he let go the hair curled again. Again he tried to straighten the hair. Each time the demon tried to straighten the hair he grew smaller in size--Until finally the demon was once again a sheepish servant.

The demon in this story our mind. The hair is any tool that tames the mind so that we can be at peace. One of the most literal examples of this would be transcendental meditation, or T.M. In this form of meditation you repeat simple repetitive chants, thus occupying the brain with triviality so that the higher consciousness can be accessed. But any form of meditation, contemplation of nature, floatation tanks, psychedelic medicine...All of them are hairs in one way or another. We master the demon or the demon masters us.


3 comments

  • You say the demon is the mind. I say the demon is the ego (maybe that’s the part of mind you are referring to). IOW, if we allow our ego to go unchecked, it will ruin us. So we must maintain clarity and presence of mind at all times or run the risk of running a muck, causing karmic collateral damage alone the way. Really cool story, man!

    Damian Saunders
  • Dope..another tool to tame the beast. Great metaphor brother

    Jarred Harknett
  • On Duncan’s podcast you said you were done with plant medicines because you learned how to “bridge” your consciousness, similar to the movie and now TV show “Limitless” with Bradley Cooper. You also mentioned holotropic breathing and Casaneda and learning from the rose. Please go more into bridges!

    Mark Mays

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