Lama Tsultrim Allione
The Woman Who Makes The World Believe In Magic
by Anca Russu
Strangely enough, I’ve known Lama Tsultrim Allione (or so to say her Five Steps of the Feeding Your Demons process) long before I came into contact with the Dzogchen teaching and the fact that I’ve not only succeeded in finally meeting her, but had the opportunity to practice with her, are some of the most beautiful gifts I’ve received from this interconnected Universe of ours.
I was surprised that miraculously (or not) this article fell on me, but I understood eventually that it is a second opportunity to find the right words of gratitude and put them on paper, as I couldn’t get them untangled out my mouth when I first saw Lama Tsultrim in front of me.
Ever since I was a baby and until about seven years ago, when I started using the Five Steps of the Feeding Your Demons method, I found it very hard to relate to people no matter the age, appearance or the love they felt for me. I was always residing within a strange feeling of not belonging, of being out of time, space, tune and race, so I didn’t communicate much throughout my childhood and teenage period because either I didn’t see any reason to do so or didn’t find the right words or, more often, I felt too shy to even open my mouth. And as the silence wasn’t enough, an eating disorder came to complete the “package” I wrongly battled with all my life.
I’ve test-driven a lot of therapies and all the new self-help methods I’ve put my hands, hoping that I would find a way to feel less of an alien to my fellow man, but nothing seemed to really work until I encountered, quite by chance, the most peculiar of self-treatments, the Five Steps of the Feeding Your Demons. I was stunned when I read it for the first time as I didn’t understand why should I take the temperature and feel the texture of my inner demons, not to mention how my brows raised in wonder when I understood that I should ask them how they are as I had before me friends and not my oldest and worst enemies.
I would like to say that I had a special feeling on encountering this method, but the truth is at that point I would have tried anything that gave me a shadow of a hope of feeling better and I thought that such a strange approach deserved a chance.
I would also like to say that I did some research on Lama Tsultrim and her beautiful initiative that is the Tara Mandala, but I didn’t, which is a very strange behavior knowing myself as a journalist so checking the source comes “by default” and I don’t remember another moment when I chose to believe in something, anything, without checking first where it comes from.
On the other hand, not knowing the source of the practice permitted me to make the process of feeding the demons mine, shape shifting it like an amoeba to meet my needs. And I believe that if I had known then about the importance of Lama Tsultrim and about Machig Labdron I wouldn’t have felt so free in using the method as I wanted.
Needless to say, it not only worked, but Lama Tsultrim’s Five Steps of the Feeding Your Demons helped me to make painful baby steps in getting in touch with myself, a work in progress that is now stronger than ever and that never gets comfortable though I always tell myself “from this moment on it will be easier”. It is never easy to face your darkest self, but in the process of accepting Miss Hyde and embracing her I found the amazing strength that resides in being sincere with myself.
When I realized that this method changed me to the core and especially the way I view, feel and interact with the environment, I recognized the vital importance of the gift Lama Tsultrim made to the modern world by coming up with a method of self-healing that can be adopted by anyone, no matter the belief or culture he or she comes from.
For a modern person who is not into Buddhism, reciting Tibetan words (no matter the potentiality they have) won’t really make a difference, but to take the temperature of the inner demon, caress to see the texture its surface has and finally ask: “What do you really need?” and “How would you feel if you got what you need?” can ring a whole bunch of bells. Slowly you understand that the shadows you got out and fed don’t torture you anymore, they don’t control and make you do and say things that hurt others and yourself.
Maybe it will sound like I am exaggerating, but I strongly feel that only a real Mother of the World could come up with such a method and yes, of course, I didn’t forget that it is inspired by the words and practice of Machig Labdron herself, but my point is that only a mother can nurture her child with what the child really needs and the modern world needs a “custom made” Chöd practice. In the end, isn’t the most important question of Lama Tsultrim’s Five Steps of the Feeding Your Demons process: ”What do you really need?”?
It took me a Chöd retreat with Lama Tsultrim to understand this and to really feel to the bone that the Chöd practice, though it seems so noisy, dark and bloody, is a practice that teaches about love, about giving up what’s most dear and make a wholeheartedly offering to all our children so we can make them happy. Yes, I did read the book on Chöd and some biographies of chödpas and listened to recordings on this practice but I guess I needed the words of a Mother to get the message through to the heart.
I understood how important it has been to have my Vajra family by my side when I plunged in to take out my most feared demon which was the silent and scared little girl whose fragility and sensitivity I really didn’t want in my life, but I knew that the woman I am will never be “finished” without accepting that little girl as an important part of herself. And I felt that my dear Vajra family with whom I was practicing had my back covered and that feeling gave me the courage to do what I didn’t have the nerve to even think of too much up to that point.
I thought a lot on what I’ve learned and experienced during that brief retreat and I started listening to some interviews and lectures of Lama Tsultrim on Chöd and on the Divine Feminine and so I comprehended that what I was missing, the whole world is missing – the acceptance of fragility, of love that caresses, of the affectionate eyes that see beauty in monsters and frightful demons, of the heart that gives light, of the mouth that opens to express profound emotions, of the hands that are not raised to point to guilty ones but to give what is really, really needed – the amrita of unconditional love and acceptance.
This is what I feel it is the work of Lama Tsultrim. She is getting the world to believe in magic again, in the wonder of being all interconnected in a beautiful golden web of warm light sewn by dakinis who dance on rainbows.
Thank you Mother for awaking the loving woman inside of me and I wholeheartedly hope your love and compassion will make the world believe in magic again.