Much of meditation is learning to put your attention where you want to put it.
This way you can govern your perceptions, see the way you create suffering by grasping, and take back some control putting wisdom ahead of the unruly mind. Secondly you can deliberately focus attention on certain perceptions that foster wisdom and good qualities. Such perceptions include impermanence, dukkha, the fragility of your own life, old age/illness/death etc. One insight that comes from this is just how much Dukkha you creat for yourself.
‘We are not disturbed by events, but by the view we take of them’.
Stoic philosopher Epictetus
A recent story shows a not uncommon ability of a hypnotist to focus his attention where he wishes to, and keep the mind from creating suffering, even when surgeons are chiselling away at his thumb bones.
A hypnotist has undergone surgery on his right hand without anaesthetic.
Alex Lenkei, 61, from Worthing, West Sussex, sedated himself by hypnosis before the 83-minute operation.
He told the BBC he was fully aware of everything going on around him but free from pain.
The operation at Worthing Hospital involved removing some bone in the base of the thumb and fusing some joints in an attempt to improve his arthritis.
Mr Lenkei said: “It took between 30 seconds to a minute for me to place myself under hypnosis, and from that point I felt a very deep relaxation.
“I was aware of everything around me, from people talking and at one stage a hammer and chisel was used as well as a surgical saw, but I felt no pain.”
Throughout the operation, an anaesthetist was on standby to administer an anaesthetic if necessary.
Consultant orthopaedic surgeon David Llewellyn-Clark said he’d been confident Mr Lenkei was a skilled hypnotist and was “delighted all went well”.
Is this meditation?
Lenkei is focussing his attention expertly. He is not letting his mind create suffering around the situation. And, he claims that he is fully aware of everything going on around him.
While the article focuses on the ‘party trick’ which makes for good news, it does demonstrate just how far the mind can be trained by a gifted meditator.