Talking With Monsters

Maurice Sendak/ Where the Wild Things Are

Among some of my favorite bloggers, there’s been some talk about monsters, of late.

By monsters, I mean the voices in our heads that say hurtful things:

It can’t be done!
Who do you think you are?
You lousy, no good…

We all have them. They come with the material body like a radio comes with a car.

To be more accurate, these negative voices are broadcast on a certain station, which happens to have a strong frequency in many vehicles. You want to listen to NPR. But all you get is Rush Limbaugh, and you can’t turn off the radio. Like that. What’s a driver to do?

Who said, “Take the bus.”?


Actually, though, you’re onto something: The only real way to completely silence the mind is through liberation from material bondage. Get out of the car, so to speak. This is done when one becomes disentangled from the karmic web of actions and their reactions.

But let’s say you’ve got this nasty voice in your head, today.

Havi Brooks, of The Fluent Self, suggests you do something a bit radical: First, playfully acknowledge the presence of it, as if it were a separate entity from yourself. Hi there. I see you! Seriously, sometimes this alone surprises the thing enough that it vanishes like a monster in a lucid dream.

At least that’s how it works for me. Also, I utter some magic words.

If Havi’s monster insists on having its say, she will listen and ask it thoughtful questions. They will chat calmly, until its passion is diffused and it goes skipping along its merry way. Havi loves her monsters into tranquility.

You have to read her blog to appreciate her particular genius.

Now, some might counter that it’s a waste of time to give such monsters attention. They are not us, after all, which is true. The negative voices we hear are simply phantasmagoria which arise from the materially conditioned mind.

I couldn’t agree more.

The problem is that most of us closely identify our selves with our minds.

What makes talking with monsters so useful, in my opinion, is that doing so establishes a clear distinction between oneself and one’s mind. That, in itself, is profoundly liberating.

Moreover, if we release our antagonism towards, and actually make friends with, our mental “monsters,” my sense is that they, like red-faced children, will eventually tell us something very important: I don’t really want a cookie.

I just want to go home.

Take me home.

And we’ll say:

Yes, honey, take my hand. We’re going home now.


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4 Responses to Talking With Monsters

  1. Reba says:

    Oh Rupa, I so much enjoyed this – and knowing that it is out there in the world for others to read too. The thing I particularly enjoyed was the way you answered the question of ‘But isn’t talking to your monsters just staying in the conditioned mind?’

    For me, loving interaction with the-self-that-thinks-it’s-separate is such an artful and effective way back to compassionate awareness, and I loved hearing you explaining this process.

    Much love, as always!
    Reba x

  2. Dasi says:

    I’m so glad it resonated. Grateful for your kindnesses.

  3. For me the difference lies in intention. (This appears to be a theme for me today.) If I’m practicing awareness when having monster chats, there’s a really good chance I’ll get something useful or actionable out of it. If I’m just feeding the monsters my fear, then nothing good will come of it. Same basic actions, very different outcomes.

    And thank you for this. I think I read the post you’re referring to and I had a difficult time clarifying my reaction to it. My monster chats are important to me, but at the same time she wasn’t completely wrong either.

    • Dasi says:

      Well put, Kathryn! Intention is really key.
      Thank you so much for your insights –and for the reminder that there are plenty of ways to look at this.

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