Law Of Attraction. Is It Instinct Or Insight?
It has been more than ten years since my time as long term server at a Vipassana Center. I still try to sit and serve 10-day courses when I can and when I visited Bali and I was fortunate enough to find a 10-day retreat offered there during the time. I applied to serve and got accepted.
Around midday, my friendly taxi driver dropped me off in front of two tall, wooden gates near the famous mount Agung, where I was met with a charming little footpath and naturally brilliant, green growth. Together with the sense of accomplishment and pride for having made it all the way there, I did also notice a rather unfamiliar feeling. I did not associate this feeling with the welcoming familiarity of Dhamma-land.
Have you noticed how certain hotel brands use the same scent in all their properties, in order to create that familiar homely feeling, regardless of which city or country you are in? Well, it’s a little similar with all the Vipassana meditation centers all over the world. Due to the code of conduct, all centers around the world have a distinct sense of welcoming peace, assuring order and inspirational awareness.
However, at that particular time, things were different and I quickly realized that it would not be the regular course. It was probably also a good thing that I hadn’t noticed right away how my friendly taxi driver had helped himself to the last cash in my wallet while I momentarily got out of the car. That would have certainly sparked a feeling of doubt in me, about whether I was indeed at the right place, doing the right thing. Doubt though, is one of the first emotions we identify as hindrance in practice, so I let it go and prepared for the course.
I was appointed “female manager,” which means that the female students could speak to me about any practical needs they may have during their stay.
So, around 2 am one morning, someone knocked on my bedroom door. “help,” she said!
It was around the middle of the course where our beliefs are shaken up hard. Now, what we know about beliefs, are that when we believe a thought, or collection of thoughts, we invest most of our emotional energy in it and we then perceive the experience to be our reality.
“Help” she said. “Im freaking out, there’s something in my ear!” She was freaking out. Her face signaled one message and one message only: PANIC! I understood that she was truly panicking. Yet, it was 2am on day 5 or 6. We were in a foreign country, out of our comfort zone, surrounded by insects and creatures we are usually not used to seeing in our insulated city apartments. Here’s this girl sitting on my bed in a frenzy, because she once saw a horror movie in which some insect crawled into someone’s ear, where it proceeded to lay eggs and claimed the ear canal as its new and official home. Now she has something in her ear that resembles the same. Ok, hang on, I thought. Lets just be reasonable here.
“Are you sure there is something in your ear?” I asked. “Yes,” she said. “Tell me about this movie. Is it possible that somehow your mind recreated this sensation as you release the (traumatic) memory of the movie?” I had to ask, but she was sure that some creature was in her ear. Ok, well what to do. I grabbed the torch and flashed a beam of light down her ear. I could see nothing.
The only person I could think of asking for advice was the male assistant teacher. How would that look, I wondered? Crossing over to the male area of the course, knocking on the teacher’s door in the middle of the night, breaking every code of conduct necessary to keep the course continuing to completion, and what if in the end there was nothing in her ear? I would be responsible for disrupting thirty people’s process, while they are in the midst of it, probably dealing with the most vulnerable parts of themselves.
One thing I knew was that PANIC NEVER HELPS.
So what do you do to treat panic? Hot sugar water! Hot sugar water was my plan. I ran downstairs towards the kitchen and came back with a cup. “Drink it really fast,” I said. “Drink it so fast that whatever creature is there in your ear cannot stand the heat and has to crawl out.” It wasn’t long before the dissatisfied feelers of a long, flat insect appeared from the deep canal of this lovely lady’s ear, followed by the rest of its body, escaping the overbearing heat of the hot pipe it believed itself to be in. We did it! I could hardly believe what I had seen that morning, but we did it.
The course went on as usual, without anyone knowing about the incident until silence got broken on the last day.
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