Stung by a Scorpion

Imagine if, due to some incredible miracle, all of the conflicts around the globe were to cease. Imagine if peace were to break out, and all the sources of antagonism and friction among people were resolved equitably, with everyone getting what they believed they were voting, fighting, or dying for. Additionally, imagine if all the forms of inequality, poverty, and despair were eradicated across all classes, genders, and races, so that utopian-type conditions came to prevail.

Even if all that were to happen, we would still be faced with the inescapable specter of an underlying stress, a contraction or knot in the being from which we have only been temporarily distracted by the apparently external events and circumstances which heretofore have dominated our attention.

The whole search for freedom and happiness which has defined our existence and driven us even to the point of slaughtering each other has a basis, or source, that is the same in each one of us, regardless of our nominal affiliations and predilections.

Indeed, if we were to stop right now and inspect our own being, if we were to turn the light around which we have been casting into the outer world and take a close look at what is happening within us, at the core of our thoughts and feelings, we would notice that this chronic contraction is what has been propelling us like a leaf in the wind.

That is, everything we think and do is essentially an attempt to pacify, loosen, or be liberated from this essential stress. All of our religious conflicts, all of our political conflicts, all of our financial conflicts, all of our social conflicts, and even down to the cellular level — all is spinning around in the cyclical orbit of this core contraction.

And what is it? It is consciousness itself. We have become so fixated in identification with this transient consciousness that we have come to believe it represents who and what we are. Hence, we suffer. We suffer because we cling to the impermanent – consciousness — and ignore our true nature, which is prior to consciousness.

When he was near death in 1981, the Sage Nisargadatta Maharaj told his followers: “Eknath, a country sage who has written wonderful poems, said, ‘I am stung by a scorpion!’ It is the consciousness. This knowingness is the scorpion, which is giving me all the pain in the form of various experiences and concepts. I am telling you with the authority of a jnani, everything is unreal. This is all the play due to your consciousness . . .”

That is, mind projects a world and we subsequently take it to be real. Why? Because we habitually look outward, at the effects, and so fail to recognize the source of that projected world. This is why the wise suggest we delve into the essence of mind, because only by coming to directly and intimately understand how we create our own suffering can we free ourselves of it. We want the world to be at peace, we want all inequality to end, we want happiness to prevail, but we too often imagine that process involves manipulating the changing props on the world stage, rather than going straight to the screenwriter and addressing him or her in our own mirror.


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About Bob OHearn

My name is Bob O'Hearn, and I live with my Beloved Mate, Mazie, in the foothills of the Northern California Sierra Nevada Mountains. I have a number of blog sites you may enjoy: Photo Gallery: Essays on the Conscious Process: Compiled Poetry and Prosetry: Verses and ramblings on life as it is: Verses and Variations on the Investigation of Mind Nature: Verses on the Play of Consciousness: Poetic Fiction, Fable, Fantabulation: Poems of the Mountain Hermit: Love Poems from The Book of Yes: Autobiographical Fragments, Memories, Stories, and Tall Tales: Ancient and modern spiritual texts, creatively refreshed: Writings from selected Western Mystics, Classic and Modern: Wisdom of a Spirit Guide: Thank You!
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14 Responses to Stung by a Scorpion

  1. Hariod Brawn says:

    Quite marvellous, Bob, and so beautifully written. A fascinating thought experiment leaving the conceptual mind with no adequate response. Perhaps just one? To ask, “Where is awareness?” With gratitude, once again, Hariod.

    • Bob OHearn says:

      Thank you, Dear Friend, and what an excellent inquiry too — where indeed! All we can really say is, like the ocean and its wave, there is no separation between awareness and our present experience. 😉

  2. Jeremiah weser says:

    Thank you! The everpresent dance engages us all in our own unique way!

  3. Bob OHearn says:

    “Consciousness is an itching rash that makes you scratch. Of course, you cannot step out of consciousness, for the very stepping out is in consciousness. But if you learn to look at your consciousness as a sort of fever, personal and private, in which you are enclosed like a chick in its shell, out of this very attitude will come the crisis which will break the shell.”

    ~Sri Nisargadatta

  4. Bob OHearn says:

    “”How do you construe thus, monks — Is consciousness constant or

    “Inconstant, lord.”

    “And is that which is inconstant easeful or stressful?”

    “Stressful, lord.”

    “And is it fitting to regard what is inconstant, stressful, subject
    to change as: ‘This is mine. This is my self. This is what I am’?”

    “No, lord.”

    “Any consciousness whatsoever — past, future, or present; internal
    or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near: every
    consciousness — is to be seen as it actually is with right
    discernment as: ‘This is not mine. This is not my self. This is not
    what I am.'”

    ~Anattalakkhana Sutta

    (Samyutta Nikaya XXII, 59)
    The Discourse on the Not-self Characteristic
    Translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

  5. Akuokuo says:

    Hi Bob! I was looking for your recent post from just the other day about levels of consciousness- wanted to re-read and share with my sister. Have you moved it to another site? Btw, lovely, lovely prose and poems on your other site 🙂

  6. marcelvuijst says:

    On a sidenote, we cannot dissolve the chaos in our minds without dissolving the chaos in our heart. I notice often that people put a lot of effort in practises which involve expedients of mind without being aware of their deep emotional churning conflicts.

  7. marcelvuijst says:

    Thank you Brother, I’m no stranger to it myself, that’s why I can perceive it in ppl now.
    It was you who showed me I never really looked into the heart of the matter (pun intended)
    And opened me up! 😉

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