In the Himalayas, there are explorers of the realm between sleeping and waking known as
tertöns who can unearth spiritual treasures buried long ago. The sage Padmasambhava is said to have hidden a body of advanced teachings known as “The Perfection of Wisdom” that the world was not yet ready for. He concealed these texts in the ocean depths, guarded by fierce sea serpents known as nagas.
Six hundred years later, they were discovered by Nagarjuna, whose name means
“the one who has power over the nagas.” The sea serpents that Nagarjuna encountered and mastered are similar to the terrifying monsters that the shaman must face in order to discover the deepest buried treasures.
Nagarjuna’s name offers us a clue as to how we can do this. How do we master these demons
and defeat these monsters that can be so terrifying? Many of us have spent years in therapy and counseling to help us find a way to bring peace to our inner struggles. We know that battling our inner demons only makes them stronger, like the hundred-headed hydra that Hercules faced: every time Hercules chopped one head off with his axe, two more would grow.
The shaman understands that no axes are needed, for all of these “nagas” are shadows that dissolve in the presence of the Primordial Light. Remaining in this light, the luminous warrior observes how the shadows gradually dispel. This is because none of these demons are true, despite the fact that they seem totally real. They are only reflections of the demons within us that are turning our job or our relationship or our health into a hell.
Since the advent of psychology, we no longer refer to demons but to the unconscious beliefs
that orchestrate our reality. The Laika does not spend years wrestling with these limiting beliefs. Instead, she transforms the three daydreams of safety, permanence, and love that is unconditional, and discovers the treasures of the Primordial Light.
We often settle for the spiritual treasures that we find nearest to the surface, the ones we
discover during a weekend retreat or in therapy. We get a new epiphany about our family of origin, or a revelation about a behavior pattern or belief that is causing problems in our lives and in our relationships. These insights are valuable, but after harvesting these for a while, we find that our search has only mimicked the much deeper exploration we long for.
Is there a deeper meaning to this myth? Sit for a moment and contemplate how this myth affects you on a deep level. Is this myth casting a spell affecting how you view the world? Is it time to release the spell of this myth to the fire and create a new mythology based on the treasures of the Primordial light?