I had to get some work done on my knee this week and in order to do it, the doctors had to give me general anesthesia.
God I love it. It is the perfect vacation.
To start with, an anesthesiologist gave me a light anesthetic and then wheeled me into the operating room where I would be administered a more powerful anesthetic. I remember her wheeling me towards the operating room, I remember her saying to someone else that the bed had to be turned around because I had to go into the room head first.
And I remember nothing else. I awoke a little more than an hour later in the recovery room. How great is that!
For that short interim, I had no worries about bills, no stresses about work, no fretting about family, no anguish, no responsibilities, no obligations, nothing. I desired nothing, feared nothing, was attached to nothing. It is the very definition of Nirvana. And I experienced it without hours of meditation!
The word “nirvana” has been misrepresented by Westerners as a simple synonym for “paradise,” for an existence of pure pleasure and perfection. Nothing can be further from the truth. In Eastern thought, “nirvana” is the final stage of enlightenment, a state where there is NO pleasure and NO pain. One has NO desires nor regrets. There is no suffering, no joy, no self. One is completely separated from the pulls, the demands, the pains, joys, wants, and urges of modern existence.
Wow, that certainly sounds like the perfect vacation to me. Or a lethe-like morning of general anesthesia.
(Or at least until the painkillers wear off. Hah!)
A simple and wonderful book for westerners to read as an introduction to the Buddha,
to nirvana and the path towards it is Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha. It is a short, beautiful,
inspiring novel of Gotama Buddha, written by German author for the western mind.
One cannot finish the book without feeling some sense of peace. I used to give it out
quite often as a gift.
If you have never read it, try to find it. You can read it in one sitting.
If you have already read it, pick it up again. Those same good feelings will return.