chronic pain

Meditation, Demonic Possession, and You!

5 Ways to Get Yourself Possessed by a Demon

I went to an Evangelical, Fundamentalist junior high and high school. We trended more Pentecostal through elementary school, but since I changed elementary schools 11 times, it was tough task to pin a solid doctrine to me then. One consistent thing throughout, though, was that my institutions were serious about demons. If there’s one thing you don’t want, children, it’s to get possessed by a demon. My 4th grade Sunday School teacher, Miss Kathy, was the first to share the truth bomb that there were demons in the room with us right at that second. She felt we were old enough to know the truth. But don’t worry, they were outnumbered by angels, so we cool. She also broke the news to us about the Persian Gulf War when other grown-ups didn’t think we needed to worry ourselves, so she’d established her reputation as a reliable adult. She was really nice and pretty, so I was gonna listen to whatever she was on about.

Lucky for us, Christians can’t become possessed, except under special circumstances. With regular Bible classes, chapels, and Bible studies beginning in 7th grade, I was given a solid curriculum about how to keep from letting my spiritual guard down, lest a demon slip in. There are a few ways that the demons can get into a Believer:

  1. Meditation. Best to stay away from yoga altogether. There are literal demons all around us, just waiting for us to do maximal breaths while we’re in Shavasana. Then, just when you’re like, “Is this what it feels like not to be freaked the fuck out?” — Bam! That’s when they get you.
  2. Drugs. Did you know that the Greek word used in the Bible to mean “witchcraft” is pharmakeia, the same word for drugs and pharmaceuticals? Drugs and witchcraft are interchangeable as far as Paul is concerned. (We don’t call him “Saint Paul,” because all believers who have accepted Jesus are saints. That’s why Catholicism might be a cult, whereas this particular strain on non-denominational Christianity is the nonsense-free path to salvation.) Anyway, don’t smoke pot if you don’t want to get possessed. And stay away from antidepressants, too. And if you’d prayed harder, you wouldn’t have cancer right now either, so get your shit together.
  3. Witchcraft. See above: It’s as bad as marijuana. So avoid hexes and spells and shit. Oh, and Dungeons and Dragons. You will legit get expelled if you’re caught playing Dungeons and Dragons. Lord help you if you get high and then play Dungeons and Dragons. It’s like you don’t even want to not be possessed.
  4. Method acting. You just gonna let those characters waltz into your body like that? How you gonna get them out when the director calls “cut?” That’s right, you’re not. We’re not saying to totally avoid the arts, because otherwise it’s going to be difficult to witness to the homosexuals. We’re just saying be careful out there, and just do line reads where you try putting emphasis on different words and see how it sounds.
  5. Hypnosis. What are you, dumb? This is the #1 way demons get into your body. You better believe that a hypnotist’s office is teeming with demons, waiting for some dumb Christian to come in to get help with smoking cessation. Demons also hang out at the Orange County Fair; they travel with the warm-up act. You know, the magician that makes audience members cluck like chickens before Steppenwolf comes on at 7. Those demons leap into you as soon as you close your eyes.

As a young person who took my faith very seriously, this was scary as shit. Goddamn demons trying to get into me? I’d better keep my guard all the way up. That hypervigilance, it turns out, is very difficult to unlearn. Now I’m an adult with fibromyalgia, the treatment for which can include a combination of drugs, meditation, yoga, hypnosis, and occasional witchcraft. Fuck method acting, though. Ain’t nobody got time for that much rehearsal.

The chronic pain I experience is the result of prolonged stress and trauma. If you look at brains of healthy people vs. brains of people with my diagnoses, the brains like mine are gonna have more gray matter… Almost as though I could never let my guard down, lest a fucking demon get me. Where there should be space for executive function and positive aspirations, there’s instead just a bunch of neural super-highways to the sensation of pain. My job now is to rewire it all through the curative powers of previously forbidden activities, and by avoiding things that cause undue stress. It’s hard.

IMG_5432I’ve got a new yoga studio I like. (One Down Dog in Eagle Rock and Silver Lake, if you wanna come try to get mellow with me. I’m in all the yin and restorative classes, and in nothing called anything like “Sweat,” “Sculpt,” or “Butt.”) I’m seeing a new, good rheumatologist at UCLA. I even embroider every once in a while. All of this is in an effort to unlearn the hypervigilance that makes me sick. But mostly I alternate between watching the news and watching my highly acrobatic and strong-willed four-year-old; I observe that my right eye hasn’t stopped twitching in at least three weeks; and I get stressed out that I’m not calm enough. And lately, I haven’t been sleeping well because of the prospect of nuclear war with North Korea, among other treats unique to our era.

But at least I’ve never yet been possessed by any demons, best I know. Unless they’re hiding in that excess gray matter.

Namaste, b-words.