Invite your Mara to Tea

Invite your Mara to Tea

This is a very personal post.
You should only read it if you really want to reach inside of you and change things.

Whenever I’ve been held back in life, it’s been because of what I believed.
I often ask people I mentor, ‘What’s holding you back?’.
100% of the time the answer has something to do with what they believe…..incorrectly.
This post is going to explore those beliefs.


Whether you suceed or fail. Whether you are happy or not is going to be a function of whether you can reach inside of yourself and deal with your beliefs and overcome the demons that hold you back.


Only you can determine whether you will let your demons destroy you or not.
Here is what I’ve learnt about how to overcome demons and conquer obstacles.


Accept yourself:

The first trick to finding happiness is accepting yourself.
Accept who you are, where you are.
Be comfortable with your reality.

More money, more power, a better job isn’t what is going to make you happy for long.
Trust me, it took 36 years of living to figure that out.
You are fine just as you are.

Don’t ask for more, don’t ask to change.
Realize how amazing you already are.

Once you let go of your impossible expectations and look at the amazing person you already are, it will all get a lot easier.
The famous psychologist Carl Rogers said:

“The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change”

But accepting yourself is hard.
Most of us hold ourselves to impossible standards.
Most of us are our harshest critics.
We push ourselves to deliver more, to be more.
To be someone we are not.

Your greatest source of unhappiness is because you are refusing to accept who you are  today.

Try saying this to yourself every morning (inspired by Louise Hay):

I accept myself. I love myself.
I forgive myself for what I didn’t know until I learned it.

I guarantee you will feel differently about yourself.


Listen to yourself:

Once you have accepted yourself and your reality, pay attention to what you are feeling.
Is it fear? Is it anxiety?

Really recognise it. Name it.
Accept it. Be in it. Let it envelope you.
How does it feel?
Stay with it.

Most of our problems come from our feelings that we won’t recognize, ideas or beliefs we are running away from.
Don’t run away from yourself. Accept what you are feeling and spend time listening to yourself.

Do you feel inadequate, do you feel incapable, do you feel sad?

We go through most of our life in a trance of unworthiness (credit Tara Brach) feeling like we aren’t enough or that we can’t be who and what we want.

Ask yourself the following questions and spend ten minutes really probing the answers:

  1. What are the untruths that I believe?
  2. What are the beliefs that are keeping me smaller than I should be?


Invite Mara to Tea:

Tara Brach, an amazing spirtual teacher had an amazing idea. It’s called inviting Mara to Tea.

In Buddhism, Mara is the demon, tempter, the tormentor.
He assaulted Buddha beneath the bodhi tree and tried to prevent him from reaching enlightment. The Buddha upon seeing Mara, trying to tempt and torment him, didn’t try to run away or hide from Mara. Instead Buddha invited Mara to Tea.

We can use this idea for ourselves by spending time with our pains.

All of us try to run away from our demons, our pains, our insecurities that torment us.
Some of us seek material objects to dull these pains, others seek crutches such as alcohol. Most of us fear being alone with their thoughts.

Find the courage to spend time with your fears.
Feel them overwhelm you.
Feel the anger.
Feel the sadness.

For example:
Some of my biggest fears relate to my efficient use of time.
Am I spending my time well?
Am I accomplishing all that I can?
Am I wasting my opportunites?
Have I wasted my life?

I have found that a lot of my suffering comes from when I feel like I have let myself and others down. It’s when I feel like I should have been better. I could have done better.

If your best friend made a mistake what would you do? Would you console and forgive them? Would you help them and be there for them? This is what you need to do for yourself. Be there for yourself.

Be there with your pain, in the same way.
Spend time with what is hurting you.
Spend time with what is making you comfortable.
Name it, understand it, be with it.

Keep inviting Mara to Tea.


Forgive yourself:

By now you have accepted yourself and had tea with your demons.
How do you feel?

A lot of our beliefs and actions come from a place in our childhood, something that happened, something someone said or did.
Maybe the expectations someone had for us.
Maybe you only felt your parents love when you did well, when you succeeded.

I had (have) this problem.
In school, college, at work I needed to, wanted to, impress my parents and everyone else. I wanted to prove to them just how great I was.

Did I do well? Did I beat my rivals? This slowly turned my life into an approval seeking system. It was all about winning and succeeding versus others.

Now I try to understand where my beliefs, fears and actions come from. Maybe they come from a place of fear, anger and insecurity. That’s fine.

Let yourself feel whatever is hiding inside you, whatever wants and needs attention.

Then repeat again:

I accept myself. I love myself.
I forgive myself for what I didn’t know until I learned it.


Begin to Change:
We all have demons. Incorrect beliefs that drive our actions. Often we run from them. 

Instead sit with your fear. Invite Mara to Tea.
Understand your demons, spend time with them.
Console your fears.

See how they make you feel.
Feel to the bottom of the fear.
How does it make you feel, where does it come from.
Give yourself permission to feel that.
Offer that scared, afraid part loving kindness.
Sit with it and console it. Don’t run from it.


If you want to improve your head game, other posts you should check out:

Secrets of Success

What I’ve Learnt about Life

Importance of Failure


Books I recommend you read:
Radial Acceptance by Tara Brach
Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday
A Guide to the Good Life by William Irvine
Power vs Force by David Hawkins
The Mindful Athlete by George Mumford


Go ahead, see what you have been missing. 

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