Bill O'Hanlon is an interesting gentleman that studied with Milton Erickson directly after having trained with Richard Bandler and John Grinder. If you've read any of his books you'll be able to get a pretty good of his contribution to the field of therapy and personal development. I personally really enjoy reading his work. He also has put out an audio in which he shares some of his favorite teaching tales which I have also found extremely worthwhile.
The clip that I'm including with this post is of O'Hanlon speaking of how he met Dr. Erickson.
I once listened to a story told by Bill O’Hanlon about the ceremony of the room of 1,000 demons. He spoke how there is this room where the Dali Lama and all the various Lama’s would gather for this ceremony. And that in Buddhism there is this idea of reincarnation and that people would continue to live and die and that this cycle would repeat and repeat and you would have to pray and study and live a good life before they cycle would stop and you would reach nirvana.
The Dali Lama announced on this particular day to all the Lama’s present that, “today you have the possibility to get off the karmatic wheel and not have to worried about being enlightened anymore more. Today you have that possibility. All you have to do is walk through the room of a thousand demons and come out the other side.”
He went on to explain, “what happens is that a door will be opened and those who so choose will be able to walk inside but once you do you cannot leave from the door that you entered from. You must make it across the room to the other side to which there will be a door to exit.”
Now the reason this room is called the room of a thousand demons is because the demons that reside there have the ability to peer into you in such a way that enables them to take on your own worst fears and to seemingly make them real.
If you have a fear of people ridiculing you as soon as you walk into you will have people ridiculing you.
If you have a deep dark secret about yourself that you don’t want to the world it will seem to be revealed for all to see and it will feel very real.
If you have a fear of pain then pain will show up.
If you have a fear of being abandoned then you being abandoned will show up.
And so on and so forth…
These demons will make these fears feel real… they feel so real… as real as the reality that we are inhabiting now… so much so that most people begin to believe them.
The Dali Lama said, “Once you’re inside the room you are on your own. We can’t come in and get you. For those of you who want to leave now can go and those of you who want to stay please do.”
All but a few leave.
To those who stayed he said, “Through the centuries there have been two secrets passed down from those who have made it through the room of a 1,000 demons and have been enlightened. The first is that these fears aren’t real. The second is to keep your feet moving.”
And I think that’s good advice for any situation in life.