Sometime during the night and early in the morning I painted the pain. Here it is.
Then, in the morning, I heard a program on the radio in which a social psychologist (Ellen Langer) talked about her finding that it is our beliefs that determine the outcome that we experience. For example, if I do some physical work and believe that my work is actually exercise, and of course if I believe that exercise helps me loose weight, then just by doing my work I’ll loose weight. The weight is lost not by the work but by my belief. This indeed is also what I believe and this is the basis for all my work on the pain. (Remember the “About” page?)
I was not satisfied, leaving things as they turned out in the pain drawing, because every time I looked at it I remembered the experience of the pain.
I decided to do another drawing and the idea came to me to ask intuition directly: What is the belief that stands behind and drives the creation of the pain?
I have done this kind of asking many times before. You ask your question and just do an intuitive-flow drawing, in which the thinking process does not participate, and the answer comes through the art.
Here is the painted answer.
The teeth that never bite
The zigzag lines in light and dark blue and in reddish purple look like wild animal teeth that come to bite the little pencil scribble in the upper middle. They look angry and threatening. In the beginning there was no pencil scribble there at all. It was just a small, empty space. I added the scribble in the very end of this drawing. I call it the dust ball. I think the drawing could work without it too, but it is there now.
Every set of teeth has some cloud or layered clouds behind it. The clouds are where the anger is stored and from where it comes to the teeth. And of course the anger is against this little dust ball. Or maybe it is against nothing at all?
Such a big anger against such a small and insignificant thing does not make sense. And why don’t the teeth come all the way in and eliminate this little dust ball? They can. But the fact that they do not do it shows that they consider the dust ball to be much stronger than the way it looks. If it provokes such a big anger, it must have a lot of power. Does it make sense to you?
The clouds and the teeth believe that this little dust ball has done something that is enraging and it deserves to be punished. But they stop short and don’t even touch it. The little dot feels all that anger turned directly at him and he turns into a dust ball, ashamed and guilty. That’s why I called him a dust ball. He agrees with them.
And this is how things are for years and years, for ages and ages. How come?
To help us there are a few more details in the artwork. There is some open space where there is no anger. The dust ball cannot go there because there are a few zigzag lines in the way. But this area is quiet. There is no struggle there. And there is a figure there. This figure was the one before the last element that I placed in the drawing. I felt there was someone there, watching and being unaffected. It feels like someone with a childlike curiosity and playfulness. This figure is a result of having developed identification with awareness. There is always, in all situations, a knowing that all that happens is being witnessed with clarity. This clarity is the real me.
So what does the witness see and understand?
The conflicted situation in which there is a dust ball that provokes so much anger, that he feels afraid and ashamed, while the endangering teeth never bite, this is the formula of the game that I am playing this life, or at least a part of my game. It has to stay like this, if I want the game to continue. If the teeth bite, the game will end. If the dust ball blows up the teeth and the clouds, the game will end too. So to keep the game going, they keep this dance. Of course, the dust ball is me. The angry teeth and clouds are me too. It is all an invention of a conflict. It is a choice that creates experiences. The figure in the open space knows this.
But there is another way. I can change the rules. I can smile at the teeth, for example. What will happen then? See how you feel when you read this, and you will know what will happen. It will be a different game, won’t it?