Friday, September 3, 2010

Little Spider In the Night

It woke me up with an itch. Not once, but twice, three times, and more. 

The little spider chose to strike last night, just when I was counting on a good rest. Several times, I turned on the light, to inspect the growing damage. When would it stop? 

Past the initial moments of getting lost in frustration, I laid awake, contemplating. And decided to switch from passive victim to curious investigator. 

I figured it was pointless fighting the little spider, for it was just going to do its thing. I might as well learn from the situation. 

Breathing in, breathing out, I notice the itching still, and a lot more, like wanting to get rid of the itching, the urge to scratch. There was aversion, and irritation for not getting what I wanted - a break from spider. There was craving for a quiet night. There was worry that I would be tired in the morning. And there was joy also, from stepping out of the spider’s web, and using wise mind to watch, patiently. Impromptu lying meditation is practice too. I remembered passage I had read the night before, from Mahasi Sayadaw’s ‘Instructions to Insight meditation’, 
The noting in vipassana meditation should be continual and unremitting, without any resting interval between acts of noting whatever phenomena may arise. For instance, if a sensation of itchiness intervenes and the yogi desires to scratch because it is hard to bear, both the sensation and the desire to get rid of it should be noted, without immediately getting rid of the sensation by scratching. 
If one goes on perseveringly noting thus, the itchiness generally disappears, in which case one reverts to noting the rising and falling of the abdomen. If the itchiness does not in fact disappear, one has of course to eliminate it by scratching. But first, the desire to do so should be noted. All the movements involved in the process of eliminating this sensation should be noted, especially the touching, pulling and pushing, and scratching movements, with an eventual reversion to noting the rising and falling of the abdomen. 
Eventually sleep found me in the early morning, shortly before I was to wake up. 

Itching, spider, gone . . .


  1. I am always humbled and amazed by your dedication to practice. I love this detailed description of the process and especially liked the pointing to "wise mind" Thanks for the peek at you and your spidery guest.

  2. Thank you Carole, for taking part in my spidery saga . . .

    Awareness can make the difference between small hell and a path of wonder :)