Who is Mara?

In Buddhism, Mara is the demon who tried to tempt Siddhartha Guatama the night before he became enlightened as the Buddha. Despite Mara’s initial failure, he continues to visit the Buddha in various guises in attempts to drag him down. But rather than fight him, the story goes, the Buddha would simply acknowledge his presence and invite him to tea, serving him as he would a welcome guest.

I like this story because of its unique approach to those things we view as our enemies. I’ve always been one to run away and hide from unwelcome visitors — whether they be thoughts, feelings, or actual people. In treatment, I was practically taught to hate the so-called “eating disorder voice” and fight against it. While well intentioned, this never sat very well with me because it was so hard to separate myself from that that I usually ended up hating and fighting against myself in the process. This new approach — filled with love and understanding — feels much more compassionate.

I thought it was an appropriate address for the blog because 1.: It wasn’t already taken, and 2. it succinctly describes what I’m trying to do here: love ALL those parts of me — even the ones that may not seem that great. Because I’m finding that if I look hard enough and at the right angle, underneath the dirty, dingy parts of me, there’s inevitably some gold.

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