Throughout the ages, many great teachers have used parables to powerfully illustrate the spirit of our true nature acting in the world. One story I told my kids is the scorpion and the frog. The scorpion talks the frog into giving him a ride across the river and he promises not to sting him because then they would both die. As they are both drowning after the frog is stung, the scorpion says I stung you because it is my nature to do so.
In Ram Dass’ book Be Love Now, I read an alternate version of this story. A saint is standing in a river while a scorpion is floating by. He thought to save its life and picked it up from the water, but it stung him with its tail, causing him immense pain. He couldn’t bear the pain, so his hand recoiled, and the scorpion fell back into the river. Again, the saint picked it up, and the same story repeated itself. Someone asked the saint why he kept doing this, when the creature was causing him so much pain. The saint said, “It is following its nature. When such a creature does not leave its nature, why should I leave mine?” The moral of the story is that discomfort shouldn’t cause one to leave their true nature.
I wrote the two preceding paragraphs earlier this morning, and an hour later while driving out to the highway, I saw a turtle in the road. I stopped to pick it up and remove him from the danger, but as I leaned down, she tried to snap at me. My hand naturally recoiled, and this happened several times. Then I just thought anyone will see her there, and she’ll be ok. So I left her there and drove off. It wasn’t until some minutes later that I simultaneously felt and realized the synchronicity of what I’d written earlier.
I wrote earlier about deep prayer, and asking for what we really need to awaken from the dream of separation. I keep getting the same message again and again: I really need to be shown how I’m holding onto a sense of self protectiveness based on the deeply conditioned belief in separation, born of desire and fear. Sometimes we need to be shown the power of synchronicity showing us there are higher forces than we can conceive of guiding us on the way home. To me the lessons are revealing that even my willingness to surrender and be guided in this way, isn’t my willingness. It’s a gift from higher forces, it’s a gift given from the freedom to deeply feel anything and everything.
More and more I’m realizing painful sensations of themselves don’t cause suffering, no matter how intensely they are experienced. It’s our holding onto desire for pleasure and fear of pain that are so unacceptable in the midst of all painful sensations. Our agonizing traumas show us that we by ourselves are powerless to bear unbearable pain. But the presence we actually are, the open and all pervasive awareness that is the source of all experience, can endlessly absorb and bear what we conceive of as unbearable pain.
When we allow the willingness to become one with the pure witnessing of our deep suffering, our identity begins to shift to the all embracing awareness itself, and away from our confined ego-self. There is no longer the need to bear the pain alone, our true nature bears it with us. The invitation is always here to enter this bearing of the deepest suffering. Allowing the idea of unbearable to dissolve, we don’t have to feel good. No matter what our experience is, it is already being borne.