By Bill Cottringer

We humans have been given something that can be seen as a gift or a curse—the ability or the affliction of self consciousness. This is our unique characteristic that separates us from the rest of the things in our world. What are these mental demons which this self-consciousness can create in us, that often get in our way of success when we come under their spells? Here are eight mental demons to watch out for and manage better.


The human brain decides truths and realities on authority and the best authority is personal experience. The trouble is that experience comes from the comparison and contrast of opposites such as pleasant or unpleasant, exciting or boring, rich or poor, yes or no, or any of the other infinite sets of dualistic pairs of opposites we have created in this life. Everything is either this or that. As you will see below though, the words we have given to these pairs of opposites have taken on an existence all their own, giving birth to all these other mental demons in our land of Babel. The duality demon is prince of demons though.


Along with this duality demon came the distinction between realness and illusion and truth and falseness. And then comes the discernment of which is which? Illusions become very real and controlling of us especially when they start interacting with the next several demons.

Of course the biggest illusion is the one that lures us to favor one solution or side over the other in important issues, when all that can really occur is movement towards the middle where the truth that sets us free resides. But that reality is hidden away with many layers of more convincing illusions. The one illusion that deserves most of our attention is the one when we sense a separation from life, when in fact all things are part of the inseparable, whole oneness of the universe, we can call God (no thing, just part of everything).


There is one reality we sense to be true but we ignore its demonic spell never-the-less. This important reality is that what we see depends mostly on where we are doing the looking from. When we change physical or temporal vantage points, we see different realities. This is the practical proof of relative truth which just serves to keep the real truth further away from us.

When fully understand the power of this perspective demon, that insight provides more solutions than there are problems—when you don’t like what you see, change vantage points. It really is as simple as that, but you have to see past what you are looking at to notice what you have been failing to notice all along—how you are allowing yourself to be victim of all these powerful mental demons.


An important reality to consider is that time itself came before time measurement. Time measurement is an artificial way to simplify and regulate the most elusive, slippery thing in our universe. When we allow ourselves to come under the spell of a mechanical, sequential, orderly notion of time, we never have enough of it to get things done. Even nanosecond microchips can’t keep up.

This limited perspective of time decreases our potential for success probably more than anything. The eternal now moment is much more fluid and psychological in nature and really infinite, not finite as the mechanical perspective and illusion insists. Eternity is the best kept secret in the universe and those who escape the shadow of the time demon have all the abundance their hearts could ever desire. You can take this to the bank on any authority.


Somewhere along the process of splitting the world in half, into this and that, we added some moral flavoring to things that defined them much further in the way of being good or bad, true or false, worthwhile or worthless, etc. The words and the things they stand for begin to take on realities way past their original intentions and create entirely different consequences that are very real.

When we come under this judgment demon’s spell, we have cut our chances for happiness and success and everything else we want in half or less, not to mention what we have done to other people’s lives. Worse yet, we may be totally confusing what is good, worthwhile and productive with what isn’t. Ironically, you have to use correct judgment to escape the very large shadow this particular mental demon casts far and wide.


For some reason or another we seem to have to let the tail wag the dog and get the cart before the horse before we learn how to proceed with the right order of things. We try to change everything from outside-in first before we make the effort to try and fit in what we can change from the inside out. We try to control our behavior before we learn to manage our thinking which causes the behavior and we study failure and disease before we see the merits of studying success and wellness.

We almost nail our own coffins shut when we then allow ourselves to come under the spell of this reversal demon, being convinced that this is the way it has to be and making that permanent judgment. Thank heavens for the perpetual perspective movement that finally jars us into a different judgment!


Actually all these other demons make our choices that much more difficult. Consider the choice that Adam and Eve had in the Garden of Eden—Eat from the Tree of Life and have perfection and bliss forever but give into your curiosity and eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and be dead forever.

Actually, as it turned out, this one choice may have resulted in all these other mental demons getting in our way of returning to the Garden of Eden. Now wouldn’t that be ironic? Part of the plan? Are all things well in spite of appearances? Is this a possible illusion worth exploring!


We originally invented words to represent real objects and things in our environments to conveniently talk about abstractly because they were becoming too heavy or difficult to carry around to show first hand. Can you imagine the u-haul that would be necessary to demonstrate Webster’s Dictionary firsthand?

The trouble is the more words we created to represent more things, the further away the words took us from really knowing the thing it was supposedly representing. The gap between all the words in the dictionary and the objects in the real world became so wide that the chance of good communication was confusing in the middle. And that doesn’t even include all the confusion and miscommunication brought on by various word connotations, interpretations, and non-verbal spins.


There are a couple of sensible solutions to managing our mental demons better:

1. Don’t get too dismayed. Things are much better than they appear, just because of these mental demons. But guess what? There really is a happy ending to this play we call life. Too many people have found it for that reality to be an illusion. I guess failure may have to precede success?

2. Since you can really only see 180-degrees even with both eyes working together, it is probably a good idea not to automatically assume you are on the right side of life, especially if you haven’t experienced the other side. In other words, never take yourself or your viewpoint too seriously, unless you are absolutely sure about it.

3. Be careful in using the best words to accurately and completely represent the ideas, objects and things you want to talk or write about. Usually, the simpler the better and a little thought goes a long way.

4. Question the moral flavor you ascribe to things without ample evidence. How do you really know this is good, true and useful and that is bad, untrue and useless? Learn to ask more questions before you make automatic judgments that divide things into okay or not okay.

5. Learn to think, talk, write, read, feel and act in positive terms that we all enjoy such as honesty, politeness, humor, equality, spontaneity, acceptance, tentativeness, sensitivity and good listening. Do whatever you can to avoid conveying things like negativity, control, judgment, rudeness, poor listening, dishonesty, superiority, manipulation and over-certainty.

6. Start intending to catch yourself coming under the spell of one or more of these mental demons and increase your awareness when that is happening so you are not being held hostage any more than you need to be, to see what you need to see.

Author's Bio: 

William S. Cottringer, Ph.D. is President of Puget Sound Security in Bellevue WA, as well as Success Coach, Sport Psychologist, Photographer and Writer in North Bend, WA.. He is author of several international best-selling books including You Can Have Your Cheese & Eat It Too, The Bow-Wow Secrets, Passwords To The Prosperity Zone, “P” Point Management, Reality Repair RX and Do what Matters Most. Bill can be reached for comments and questions at 425-454-5011 or