Saturday, September 27, 2003

Worth noting progress, since so often I focus on the progress not made --

I learned from my father to think of insects as goodly creatures, and not to kill them unnecessarily. And I would observe most of them with interest. But still they used to fluster me if they came upon me unawares, especially big ones. And I had almost a phobia about earwigs and carpenter ants -- I hated them, couldn't stay in a room with them, killed them in a desperate panic when I couldn't get away from them.

I've noticed the last few nights, when moths, big gray moths, have been getting into the house, and have been unexpectedly fluttering into my face, how much my responses have changed. I brush them gently out of my face, careful not to hurt them. There's no longer that rush of panic, no longer that absurd conviction that they're going to injure my eyes or crawl up my nose -- no more of those silly images that used to have so much power over me. They're just fellow sentient beings, confused by the light. They're company.

It's shamatha that has changed this. Having cultivated the ability to recognize compulsive thought sequences starting up, and to unmoor them, so that they just drift away. It's an automatic reflex now, apparently, at least sometimes. I didn't set out to change my relationship with insects. It just happened.

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