2 Aphorisms





39. Surgery

What fills space?

time to find an answer:

7 days


The master finished leading a meditation high atop a mountain. A young student approached the master with a question.

Student: master, describe the spirit.

Master: nothingness, nothing

Student: then what does it mean to be spiritual?

Master: an attempt to convince the ego that nothingness has substance.

student: what is nothingness?

master: it is unimportant

with that the student was enlightened.

55.When spirit is the only thing holding you down

Think carefully.

What are you trying to transcend?

Is having a body too much for you?


I heard a child say, "Pain is weakness leaving the body". Upon hearing this, my person was seized with aggravation. Physical pain normally indicates a disease state, or some subtle or overt state of injury. When pain presents itself, with a scream or a whimper, the signal often does not leave the body, but bounces around a neuronal trampoline, getting faster and faster and stronger and stronger with each successful leap. A clear sign that whatever the body currently engages in should see soon its ceasing to prevent damage to its delicate structure.  This means that Pain can signal the beginning of a weakness caused by injury, which in turn indicates that the above statement, phrased with more accuracy would look like: "Pain is weakness developing in the body."

Pain lingers after the activity (stretch, weight-bearing movement, etc.) has ended.

Classically, self-inflicted pain (flagellation) has been used with various amounts of recorded and historical success in achieving a concentrated, reasonably empty state of gnosis. This path has a tendency towards putting the physical body into some very peculiar and risky circumstances. As the body/brain adjusts to the infliction of pain, (in most cases) the punishment must gradually increase in order to achieve the same or a similar state. Discipline seems very important to such a practitioner in order that they may keep their body operational in 3 dimensional space. In many of these practices, portions of the body rich in nerve endings are the targets, nociceptors (pain receptors) overload the nervous system ultimately causing stillness and emptiness in the mind.

Nocignosis differs from other painful practices of gnosis in a few remarkable ways. The pain applied in nocignostic practices produces the concentrated state without any other attached significance. A sadhu decides to hold his hand in the air for the rest of his life in order to venerate god and achieve gnosis, as a penance. Even though, initially, pain plays a critical role in this practice, instead of playing the role of gnostic mediator, it plays the role of test and obstacle. Ultimately this sadhu seeks to adjust to having his hand in the air, as such it gradually shrivels and loses its use and function: transmuted into pure symbol.

The Nocignostic is more likely to walk with glass in their shoes or slap themselves with wet leather whips, or wear hair shirts or irritating needles in order to overstimulate nerve endings to temporarily short circuit the nervous system without causing any permanent damage to the structures of the body. The sadhu has rendered useless a structure that human beings use vitally to interact with the environment and to express themselves, his austerity has its end in further separating him from the world of the living and reaffirming his vows of renunciation, a tool to achieve a permanent state of gnosis.  In this way he avoids the pitfall of pain addiction that many modern nocignostics suffer from. He doesn't become attached to pain or endorphin, in fact, he works to divorce himself from it due to its very basic primal nature because in that way he further removes himself from the living.


When I was 15 I met my first yoga teacher. Until this time my yoga practice was out of library books with a childlike grasping of discipline and order . I practiced postures and movements that I liked every day, relegating those I had tried and, for whatever reason, did not like to once a week or twice a week. As a skillful teacher I like to believe that he keyed into this every once in a while. We'd do postures in class that were very uncomfortable to me, every week. I kept attending class. He often would talk about the difference between 'pain' and 'sensation'.

Many people lead relatively sedentary lifestyles, and normally when these lifestyles don't follow classical sedentary patterns they still contain a great deal of inertia due to comfort and habit. A worthy occupation this, avoiding pain as best we can. Hatha yoga causes a great deal of discomfort in its initial stages, as the body begins to adjust right down to the sinew. After 20 some odd years of practice I still find its practice uncomfortable, but now: poses I dread doing I do often. If you damage your body during an asana, the pain will linger and stay in there for some time. Back off and rest for a while. However, stretching, lengthening, altering tendons, and, less substantially, ligaments can cause many foreign sensations. Because these sensations are localized and have a tendency towards intensity and overstimulation many regard them as painful. After the stretch, this intensity dissipates and all that remains feels as a bowl of butterflies in a long and skinny shaft of sunlight.

My teacher would emphasize the importance of practicing poses that you hate more often than those you love. Hatha yoga wants you to Develop the ability to clear your mind in the midst of enduring discomfort and uncomfortable stimulation. The individual that exerts will and moves the body, causing these uncomfortable states, then clears his mind and continues to breathe slowly and softly will eventually, after many regular applications of this exercise, suffer from the delusion that all external stimulus that cause discomfort also stem from their individual will. Thus they will then have the ability to breathe deeply and softly and watch even that discomfort disappear.