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Vision in Prison by Chris Boys
The Tooth by Chris Boys
I had an interesting experience yesterday. I was out on the land of my Indian friend. I had taken my sandals off, and a scorpion stung me. Nice little guy; really knew his work. There was beaucoup pain. It stung me on the toe, and then the pain went into the foot and was spreading into the leg. I was naturally in a good deal of distress. I was reminded of the time when I was stung by a manta ray years ago while swimming at More Mesa beach in Santa Barbara.
But yesterday I noticed the mind. The mind was engaged in a lot of frantic fretting. A few basic “stories” really: “How bad will this pain get? How far will it spread? When will it stop? And why am I always in so much pain?”
I had been doing some work on the mind – often considered the most functional part of the ego. Actually we could say “the neurotic mind.” The mind per se is no problem. It is just a tool. Like when a carpenter makes a shelf or a table, he must use his mind. But when the mind is rattling on and on, always fretting about the past or projecting into the future, then it is big bugaboo and won’t let one relax and be.
Anyway, by Grace I noticed the mind. When I noticed the mind it sort of flipped. Then there was a whole set of different stories. All quite positive: “Oh a scorpion has stung me. There is pain. This is just karma. Somewhere, somehow, I caused someone a good deal of pain, and now the scorpion is returning the gift. Very good.” And I remembered how my first teacher, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, once told a story of how after a scorpion stung a man in Rishikesh his meditations got very deep, and before the man had been ‘stuck” in shallow meditations for some time. “Cool, maybe that is what is happening to me.” I also remembered a story of Ramana Maharishi when he was walking on the mountain one day and disturbed a hornet’s nest and got the hell stung out of his leg. He just let his leg be there for the hornets to sting and said, “Ok my friends, yes, I have disturbed your home, and so now you sting me.” “Yes of course, I went to the sluice to drink some fresh well water. The scorpion had gone there for the water also. I just got in his way and he stung me.”
And then I realized something. All the stories – positive and negative – involved time and logic. But I remembered my past experience with the tooth and how pain can concentrate me in the moment, so that I get out of the mind of the past and the future and making sense of things. My Indian friend was driving me to the hospital by this time. Suddenly, I knew I had to make some noise. I told him not to worry and just stuck my head out the window of his van and started screaming and making all types of goofy noises like an idiot. But there was no story at all! I was just releasing the overload of sensation in the body. I even noticed that my noises had a few traces of humor in them. I decided to look at my toe. And what the hell – everything was pure happiness. The pain was even like an elixir dripping into my body. I sort of opened to it and took a breath, and it shot through my nerves like a wonderful drug. Just pure happiness.
The “work” I had been doing on the mind was all about how we tend to add stories to everything, and the basic story is that something should be different and not the way it is. The woman who is the originator of this understanding, Byron Katie, has written – “without a story…only love”. I had just read this aphorism of hers the day before. Now it began to play like a little melody through my mind. I became happier and happier as I said it to myself.
When I got to the hospital I already knew that the toe was no problem. The doctors all wanted me to have this injection and that one etc., but I just knew everything was ok. They were especially insistent that I take a tetanus shot. I didn’t want to offend them. And of course, I couldn’t tell them that my leg was sizzling with happiness. They probably would have said, “Well, we also have a good psychiatrist you can see.” I just was quiet and went inside, considered what they were saying, and found a firm knowing that no shots were necessary. I politely told them that I didn’t think the shots were necessary and that the toe wasn’t really hurting that much anymore.
What was really interesting was that a worker was cleaning the floor in the hallway with a heavy antiseptic cleaner. I have a big button about such cleaners. Sort of along the lines of: “I hate them and think they are on of the biggest bullshit bugaboos ever perpetrated on the public. In fact, the whole germ theory is a crock of shit etc. etc.” So I kept asking the doctor to close the door so I wouldn’t have to smell the cleaner. But then I noticed the feeling in my words. It was all ego – angry and rejecting what is (and I am sure that you can remember times when I have been talking to you and been in precisely this egoistic mode!). Finally, after several times of noticing this feeling in my words, I just put my head on the doctor’s desk and wept and wept. “Without a story…only love” was coursing through me and breaking my heart. A huge hunk of armor around my chest just broke up, and I was in the most beautiful accepting space. It was true…only love! God, such grace! I took a deep breath of the cleaner fumes. They were different now – strange and mysterious. I mean, I still knew that they were fumes, but that knowledge was not the primary knowing. Direct, tacit knowing of them as love-bliss was primary. The knowledge of them as fumes was even sort of clouded over by this profound enjoyment of everything as only God.
God, such grace! Someone could have literally thrown me into a vat of plutonium at that point, and I would have only been in ecstasy. I knew without a doubt that there is only God and everything that arises is God, and every atom of every “thing” is pregnant with love and happiness and divine consciousness.
Within a few hours the toe and foot were pretty much all better. No problem.
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