Like the real slim shady, evil exists in all of us. It is just buried deep deep down in the psyche. It’s lurking, biding it’s time, waiting for the right moment to surface. For those we call evil, it is already on the surface.
All my life, I have hated people who wanted power, who lusted for it, who wanted power for power’s sake, for the power they could wield over other people’s lives, the power to destroy. Politicians, bureaucrats, public officials were the special target of my ire.
And then nearing the end of the course, it starts. It started with an obsessive thought regarding self-mutilation. As I was scanning my body, I reached my eye. And a thought popped in. What if the eyeball burst. I imagined the eyeball bursting. I imagined the eyeball popping out and bursting. Again and again and over again. And everytime I imagined it, sensations of fear coursed through me. I have always believed, what we think, that happens. Okay, granted my eyeballs were not going to burst. But, what if I ruined my vision as a result of this persistent visualization. I tried strong anapana. No dice. It kept coming and everytime it came, it sent sensations of fear, disgust and frustration coursing through my body. Occasionally, when it did not bother me for a while, I would imagine it deliberately again to check if it had the same affect on me. It did. And back the merry-go-round we go.
I tried counter imagination. Every time I imagined it bursting, I subsequently imagined it subsequently coming whole again and in even better health than before. This carries on a while. Then I remember something from acharya Goenka’s discourse. He says, if there is a pleasant sensation and you cannot help but generate clinging towards it, just accept it. Accept that the pleasant sensation is causing clinging in you while understanding that the pleasant sensation is impermanent. But do not generate aversion for that pleasant sensation in order to counter the clinging. Then you did not eradicate the clinging and you also added aversion to your stock of sankharas. And at best you replaced the sankhara of clinging with one of aversion. What good is that? So out goes the counter visualization.
And then suddenly, I wonder what else I am capable of. I think of an act of violence towards my loved one. I hated that thought. I recoil in horror. But the thought is obsessive. It destroys my meditation. I can’t focus on body sensations at all and i’m struggling with anapana. One by one the victim of my violence changes to include all my loved ones. Somehow I don’t think of violence towards all the politicos and bureaucrats. Just those I love. My God. First, self-mutilation and then this.
I talk to the teacher and he is pleased. He says I’ve been working hard. He says not to generate aversion to these thoughts. Just to accept them and let them pass. I say I can’t accept them. The pain in adhitthana I can. This, I can’t. Am I such an evil person? Am I so self-destructive? If this was in there, what else is there? And what if it came up and I did not have dhamma? Would I then perform these acts. What if the emotions were stronger? Would I do them? If the thought is there, so is the intent. The question of performance is just one of intensity. My God.
I reflect. The aversion to the burtsing eyeballs is a result of my attachment to my health and body. A true Yogi is not attached to his body and would just smile at the thought. My aversion to the other thoughts is due to my attachment to the idea of me being a very dhammic person. I then realize I am no different from all those criminals. The thoughts they have, I have too. Theirs are on the surface, mine are buried. They have not been fortunate to run into dhamma. I have. But is good fortune a measure of character? I think not! I reflect some more. I then generate compassion to these criminals for the first time in my life. I realize how they are harming themselves. I realize for the first time in my life that a criminal can be violently opposed even while generating compassion towards him/her. I realize how the Lord Krishna can kill the evil-doer with nothing but compassion in his heart. Obsessive thoughts of violence subside and even when they do surface, they do not elicit a bodily reaction in the form of a sensation. Just acceptance and a smile.
Now, I’m back for the course. That sublime state of mind has passed. Now it is not possible for me to generate compassion for these politicos and bureaus. I further realize why ordinary people generate anger and hatred against evil doers. Evil-doers are usually scary and powerful people. When confronted by them, the normal reaction is one of fear. But some people also realize that evil-doers must be opposed. But what to do about this fear they feel? That is where anger and hatred come into play. One generates anger and hatred to counter the fear. But the supreme Yogi Lord Krishna is not one these normal people. He needs generate no anger or hatred as he feels no fear. That is the state we must aspire to. Thank you Lord krishna for being an example. And thank you Lord Buddha for showing us the way. Thank you all the teachers of this lineage who preserved this priceless teaching in it’s pure form and out of great compassion passed it on to us suffering beings.