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Short Story - Large Lesson (?)

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by anacoluthon33, Jul 9, 2023.

  1. anacoluthon33

    anacoluthon33 New Member

    Hello there. This is my first thread I’ve created for this forum. I hope that it’s in the right place, and that this kind of post is welcome.

    I’m currently struggling. Rather than detail my symptoms and “lived experience,” I’d rather share a small story that, for me, helps process this experience—the experience of pain and discomfort, as well as the TMS/mindbody approach to “dealing” with it. Maybe it will help you, too.

    I’m also a student of literature. Since I’ve been researching TMS and mindbody medicine, it’s struck me, again and again, how the TMS approach can and does replicate the insights of centuries-old spiritual practices. I know I’m not the first to come across this: Nicole Sachs is fond of quoting Ram Dass, Rumi, and so on.

    Before sharing this small story, I want to preface it by saying that I don’t intend to “push” any spirituality/worldview/whatever. I see it as a moment to learn from, just as any other story that the TMS teachers and doctors use. I also don’t think I will include my interpretation in this first post: I am much more interested in what you see and understand, reading this story. Yes—you!

    Here it is— from Idries Shah’s “The Sufis,” page 81.

    One day, Nasrudin was walking along a deserted road. Night was falling as he spied a troop of horsemen coming toward him. His imagination began to work, and he feared that they might rob him, or impress him into the army. So strong did this fear become that he leaped over a wall and found himself in a graveyard. The other travelers, innocent of any such motive as had been assumed by Nasrudin, became curious and pursued him.

    When they came upon him lying motionless, one said, “Can we help you—why are you here in this position?”

    Nasrudin, realizing his mistake, said, “It is more complicated than you assume. You see, I am here because of YOU; and you, YOU are here because of ME.”
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  2. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Interesting post @anacoluthon33! My immediate response to this story is to think about assumptions - along with their cousin, expectations.

    Years ago I adopted a couple of "life" rules, which I mainly (and more successfully) applied in my profession as a tax accountant, the first one being "Never assume anything". (The second one is "Write it down", for obvious reasons).

    Never assume anything, of course, is good advice for one's entire life, but as I said, I was much more successsful in applying that in my career - and it kept me out of trouble many times! When I forget to apply it in my personal life (which includes posting here) I almost always regret the lapse. (And hopefully remember to forgive myself for being human).

    Then there are expectations, which go hand-in-hand with assumptions. We all live with many expectations - of other people, of how our lives will go, of the way the world should work, and of course about ourselves. Someone once told me "Expectations are the road to hell" which I think can be (and has been) said in better ways and in different contexts, but it is still a good reminder that our lives will be healthier and happier if we let go of expectations and learn to accept what is.

    BloodMoon and anacoluthon33 like this.
  3. anacoluthon33

    anacoluthon33 New Member

    Hey, thanks for your reply, Jan.

    I think you're on to something. Might you agree with another term I'll sidle up to "assumption" and "expectation"?


    To assume is to take a situation for granted, isn't it? To believe that something is the way it is, because that is how you see it (and this "seeing" is usually a snap-judgement; a knee-jerk reflex). And to expect is to make assumptions about the future!—the way the future should be, or even the way the future shouldn't be but, alas, you think will come to pass.

    Assumptions and expectations are like interpretations in that they read a situation or a situation-to-be, and I agree with you that they can get you into trouble. Assuming something can lead you to missing vital information, or acting unwisely, and expecting something can, well . . . twist you out of shape with anticipation, not to mention disappoint you if that expectation bears no fruit.

    Nasrudin sees "a troop of horsemen" at night on a deserted road. What does he assume? What does he expect? "His imagination began to work," and what his imagination produces is fear. Fear—an emotion, a state of mind that is itself an interpretation as well as an interpreter, an active force, if you let it become so.

    Assuming that harm will come to him, expecting the worst, Nasrudin follows his fear into a graveyard. I love this detail! It's funny because, trying to escape his "enemies," he plays dead, but it's more than just funny. Is there a deeper meaning here?

    This small story is more than just a cautionary tale about being careful at night. It's not an instruction manual on what to do if you meet horsemen at night. (Of course.) It's an allegory. In the context of this story (and especially in the context of this forum!)—who are these horsemen? What do they represent? Why do they become "curious" and follow Nasrudin into the graveyard? Why do they offer to help him?

    And who is Nasrudin? What is his character like? It seems that he begins the story rather ignorant—does he end the story in the same state? What is "more complicated than you assume"? What kind of riddle is this?

    If Nasrudin jumps over the wall and his pursuers follow him there . . . does something die in the graveyard by story's end? If so, what?
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  4. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    In the 32nd chapter of Genesis is the story of 'Jacob' becoming 'Israel'.
    - Jacob ran away from home after stealing his Brothers Birthright and Blessing.
    - His brother Esau has sworn to kill him.
    - Returning some years later with his family and flocks, he is told "Your Brother is coming with 400 soldiers"
    - BRAVE Jacob sends a long train of gifts ahead of him (ingratiating) , and his family and children ahead (really brave)
    -Alone, he spends the night 'wrestling with an angel'
    - The Angel cannot defeat him ;as the sun rises and the angel is leaving (angel skin is REALLY sensitive to sunlight)
    The angel 'touches' him on the hip causing him to LIMP.

    I have been taking classes in Bible textual criticism and one of the measuring sticks used for verification is called 'The criterion of embarrassment' = If a text puts the antagonist in an unfavorable light , it is more than likely based on a true story. This SOUNDS like the oldest recorded story of sciatica/TMS.... though I am sure if I scoured other cultures it might be hidden in other places as well.

    Sarno found other work in relatively modern times that described the same phenomenon (google "Neurasthenia") and It makes me grateful that we live in a time where information is widely available.

    I always assumed the healings in the NT were metaphors...until I got healed from TMS.
    Definitely miracles.
    anacoluthon33 likes this.
  5. anacoluthon33

    anacoluthon33 New Member

    @Baseball65 , thanks for your reply. I've enjoyed reading your posts throughout the forum.

    You bring up interesting points, particularly the "criterion of embarrassment" and the distinction between healings being "just" metaphors VS legit miracles. This strikes at the heart of spirituality: just as people usually don't think about spirituality or "turn to God" until something goes wrong, most people don't come to Sarno or read about mind-body healing until they find themselves in trouble.

    Let me delve a little deeper into how I understand healing or miracles, as they're presented in texts like the Old Testament and New Testament . . .

    To me, the key is to "think psychological."

    This is of course one of Sarno's main insights. The path to "the way out."

    I argue that stories like Jacob wrestling with the angel to become Israel ARE metaphorical . . . but this does not mean they don't have literal, physical consequences. My interpretation of that story is that Jacob is wrestling with himself. The angel he wrestles with represents duty, pressure, responsibility, "the will of God"—(no wonder Jacob had physical pain!)—but Jacob overcomes himself, all his doubt, despite (or because of) the pain. (Interestingly, the site of Jacob's pain, near the hip joint, was made sacred to the Jews, and they refused to eat this part of animals they slaughtered. This totally reminds me of Sarno identifying the "social contagion" of certain ailments . . . ulcers in the 80's, carpal tunnel syndrome in the 90's, etc.)

    Did Moses see the face of God after climbing Sinai alone? Who knows—but this is a psychological metaphor for self-realization. Did he see his people worshipping the Golden Calf once he returned? Who knows—but this is a template for what it looks like to give up your power to something outside yourself.

    Did Jesus really bring Lazarus back from the dead? Who can say? I think it's much more likely, however, that Jesus rescued someone whose life was stuck in the graveyard—someone who despaired, who ran from life, who saw no point to life. Someone who may as well have been dead.

    I've been pondering what it means that Jesus could turn water to wine. Personally, I don't think he did, not literally. I think it is a story that if you bring consciousness and presence to life, water can taste better than wine. With enough awareness, you don't need intoxicants to be ecstatic . . . you already are. This is "thinking psychological," because we are talking about changing our minds and consciousnesses, but that doesn't mean this ISN'T a miracle. It is. It's a miracle from within that changes everything, compared to a miracle from without.

    Lastly—Did Jesus walk on water? I wouldn't bet on it. I think he probably showed people that what they thought was impossible, whatever that was, was not necessarily so. Chronic sufferers think structurally—they've done something permanent to themselves that will never, ever get better. Sarno et al. argue that this isn't the case. In fact, the opposite is true.

    I know that if—WHEN—I help myself out of my situation, I'll feel like I've done the impossible. I'll be walking on water.
  6. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    No. He only saw God's Butt. Exodus 33 v23 "Then I will take My hand away, and you will see My backside; but My face must not be seen.”

    I study the bible. I don't try to figure it out. I note that After many of his healings, particularly in Mark, our first Gospel he tells the healed person "Your Faith has healed you" (the bleeding woman, for example)
    Well....if her faith healed her, it means He didn't. It was her faith that he COULD that motivated her to do that...remember, in Judaism if a sick person touches you, YOU are defiled so she was risking a big ass chewing.

    Well, that faith is a lot of what happens here. Sarno tells us we are OK and that there is nothing really wrong, we believe and we get better.
    I just got over a little relapse... I didn't once think there was anything wrong with me, I acted like I was OK (even though it hurt) and I am ...OK. I also spent time reviewing what was 'ok' in my life that really wasn't. And turned my mind to it every time I caught myself focusing on the pain...aborted it in about 3 days.

    But as regards the Bible, I try not to devalue it or 'present-ize' it by imposing my wants and wishes into the text. I missed a lot of miracles in my life by thinking I 'knew' about something when I had much to learn. I don't imagine that has changed much.
    I never wanna get Like Bart Ehrman who studied the bible so much, he lost all faith... He is like the wealthy Pharisee that Jesus has compassion on. His 'possessions' are intellectualism and reason. I don't want to be rich in either of those. I had heaps of them when I showed up to Sarno completely destitute and in agony
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