Terrified by The Exorcist

By Anthony Gold

I was never much into horror movies.

It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy a good plot or being moved by compelling actors. Rather, I avoided horror flicks because I was too scared that I’d be too scared.

So I never watched them – except for one.

The Exorcist.

The movie is based off a book by the same name, which itself is based very closely on an actual exorcism of a 14-year-old boy purportedly a victim of demonic possession.

The combination of a gripping plot, superb acting, and a chilling soundtrack make for one of the scariest films ever made.

Any hopes I may have had about watching additional horror movies ended with my first – and only – viewing of The Exorcist.

The interesting thing about horror movies – particularly those where the main character is possessed by some sort of evil entity – is that by the end of the film, the demon is destroyed. Or at least sufficiently banished such that potential sequels aren’t ruled out.

We leave the theater feeling some sense of relief that the movie is over and perhaps thankful that we don’t have an alien entity about to exit through our abdomen or a head-spinning projectile vomit.

But the truth is, we are all possessed. By the mind.

More specifically, the ego mind.

And we’ve become so accustomed to it that we take the possessing entity to be ourselves.

How do we know? Just look at what we’re attached to: this body, other people, money, possessions, being right, and our most dominant attachment – the self-concept of “me”.

Have you ever noticed the involuntary and compulsive thoughts that flow across our mental screen? They’re non-stop. Thoughts about the past reinforce who we think we are. Thoughts of the future enable us to project our conditional sense of happiness or release. Once such-and-such happens, then I’ll be happy.

Thinking – at least the incessant, involuntary thoughts – fuels the ego mind.

But a curious thing happens when we actually observe those thoughts. They immediately loosen their grip on us.

In other words, when the thoughts possess us (meaning we have completely identified with them), then we experience all the painful emotions that seem to be part and parcel of our lives: worry, sadness, fear, guilt, shame, and so on. The ego thoughts and our self-concept have become one.

In fact, every emotion we have that is anything other than complete peace is due to identifying with an ego thought.

But when we become the observer of the thought – meaning we see the thought that comes onto our mental screen without judgment – then the pain immediately subsides because we are no longer identified (possessed) by it.

And the more we practice being the observer – rather than the unaware experiencer – the more peace and joy we find.

Imagine being free of the stifling internal dialog that has captivated our lives, possessed our minds, and led to so much pain. We can all exorcise the ego “demon” by simply witnessing our thoughts – without judgment – and tapping into our true nature that lies beyond thought. This is the source of true happiness.

Join me in Monday’s class where the explore the nature of incessant, involuntary thinking – and how we can move beyond such a limiting thought system. I look forward to seeing you then.

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