No Tooth Ache
Sometimes I’m amazed at the parallels between Ericksonian Hypnosis/Psychotherapy and Buddhist teachings I’ve read.
I was reminded of one such parallel recently.
A month or so ago I broke my right arm. Or at least I thought I did. The late night emergency room folks in Topeka, Kansas were very nice and very professional but there was no radiologist or orthopedist around who could definitively read the x-ray. So, they put me in a cast, just to be safe.
Well, I don’t live in Topeka, Kansas. I was on the road doing these hypnosis road shows I do for weight loss or quitting smoking. We left the next morning for Witchita. Long story short, it was 10 days before I could get in to see an orthopedist back in Brooklyn and to finally get it properly diagnosed as not broken, “just” a bone bruise. How great that moment was when the cast was removed and I was set free!
It reminded me of a video I once watched of Erickson working with this woman. Midway through the trance, they were talking, and Erickson asked her if she had a toothache. She said no. Erickson said “Isn’t that nice?”
In the book, “Peace is Every Step,” Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh writes: “When I have a toothache, I discover that not having a toothache is a wonderful thing.”
Ever get a paper cut or something and realize just how often you use that finger?
So often, however, we take for granted the absence of pain and discomfort. What if we stopped to appreciate how fortunate we are?
I mean jeepers, think about it. Imagine if the richest person on earth was dying of cancer or something. What might you hear them say? “I’d give ANYTHING to be pain free. Anything to spend another day with my love. Anything to watch another sunrise.”
Well we get to do those things for free. It doesn’t cost us a billion dollars. Life’s actually pretty darn wonderful most of the time. When you stop to think about it.
Here’s another quote from Thich Nhat Hanh:
“People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child — our own two eyes. All is a miracle.”
Sounds like Milton to me.