This morning I saw a spider crawl onto the windowsill. I slowly removed my slipper, gave it a whack. And immediately I felt regret. Why did I do that? My fear was that the bug would find its way into my bed, and bite me, and I might get a severe allergic reaction, or at a minimum feel a nasty sting. Then I thought, so what? Am I so self-absorbed that I fail to honor the value of all life?
Trivial, isn’t it? But that’s what occupies my thoughts in this cell. All right, it’s not a cell, it’s a small room with a bed, a table, a chair. But the door is locked and a heavy wire mesh screen covers the window. I may not leave.
In one of our sessions I tried to explain to Dr. John the meaning of “matrika shakti,” a philosophy from northern India. It speaks of the illusion we create with language, the powerful web of words with which we weave the fabric of our “reality.” As I spoke so earnestly Dr. John nodded, and he made a steeple with his fingers, and rested his chin upon it.
At that moment I thought: Like the god he feels he is, Dr. John creates an edifice that celebrates his omnipotence. But Dr. John does not see this because, being a psychiatrist, he suffers no delusions. I am the one with delusions, thus only I see it.
Sometimes I look in the mirror and do not recognize myself. I gaze at my face and body, know it is my own, but feel separate from it. I don't know if this is a sign of yogic detachment or emotional disequilibrium.
Dr. John believes in cause and effect. Every effect must have a cause. Therefore he quizzes me closely about my father, about my lovers, my three years of study in India. He wants to know everything.
( Collapse )