The Trainer

Early on in my London practice, a trainer for a then-popular Western Zen weekend enlightenment course would visit my practice.  He had had an unfortunate accident where he walked into a moving airplane propeller, which had carved a scar down his face and mangled his shoulder.  Interestingly, no matter where you worked on him, he felt it in his shoulder.

As he left the last session I saw him, he said, “That’s what I like about you, Tom.  There’s so little of you left.”

I pondered that one for years.  Insult or compliment?

He later had the large welt of a scar removed from his face by plastic surgery, but unwilling to go unconscious about this event again, he agreed to do it only when the doctor agreed to do it without anesthesia.  He said that if he stayed right on the edge of the scalpel, he could control the bleeding, and there was a searing and tearing sensation, but no pain.  If he got an iota ahead or behind the moment, the very edge, the pain was intolerable.  I have used this technique since, but have never had any surgery.

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