The Tooth’s Way

I don’t know if any of you have ever had a tooth extracted, but man, does it hurt! It’s been almost a week now, and my tooth — I mean, the space where my tooth used to live — is still throbbing worse than labor pains. I don’t particularly care to take pain meds, and when the oral surgeon prescribed codeine, I blithely (and blindly) refused to take the prescription. I’ve had wisdom teeth taken out before, I declared, and that wasn’t too bad. So how bad could just one tooth be? Famous last words, right?

Instead of the rejected codeine I’ve been using a mixture of tylenol, advil, Reiki, and prayer (to all the different gods I can think of), all of it without much obvious result. I am embarrassed to admit that I also tried crankiness, anger, frustration and self pity. Those, sadly, did not work either. The oral surgeon, on a return visit, was even less helpful, claiming he’d known it would be like this, that my tooth had been badly inflamed, and that it will take at least another week. He proposed the codeine again, which I scornfully declined. No way am I taking codeine now, after a week of pain. I can do this. Sooner or later, surely, this pain must go away.

The most frustrating part of this experiment in pain management turned out to be my expectation that Reiki would help me bear the pain, or rather (in the way my mind figured this) that the Reiki would make the pain disappear. So many people have miraculous Reiki healing stories! Why can’t I be one of them? I wanted the Reiki to close the open wound, heal the sutures, heal the issues beneath, relieve the pain, clear up the inflammation, and make everything all better right away. And when I say right away, I do not under any circumstance mean within a week, and definitely not two.

I was listening the other day to Gil Fronsdal, meditation teacher and the founder of Insight Meditation Center. Appropriately enough, he was explaining sickness and well-being and the way Buddhism views the metaphysics of health. What he said struck me strongly, because I had always assumed that if I got sick then it was my fault somehow — I had failed to deal with some issue, I failed to talk about something which bothered me, or I failed to take care of myself. But Gil Fronsdal said that the Buddha encouraged his disciples not to worry or ruminate about why they were sick or why some trouble has befallen them. According to the Buddha, illness or painful situations come from one of three reasons (and I hope I’m not massacring his exact words or meaning here):

1. Free will, or situations/conditions which we invite into our lives because we want to learn from them. Karma.
2. Accidents which are unrelated to us or to our karma and simply happen in the world (I guess without rhyme or reason).
3. The body’s own function and use (and it sure gets used a lot).

My late tooth, though it did get used quite a bit in 42 years, had an issue behind it, I’m pretty sure. It really didn’t want to leave my mouth. The oral surgeon had to fight to dislodge it. As for me, while he was struggling with the tooth, I called upon the Reiki to help me continue to feel happy and safe during the extraction, and I continue to call upon it to help me heal, not just the tooth, but also the problem behind it. A lot of love is required for this particular one. Inside this tooth were lodged, I think, all my hopes and dreams about having a whole, normal family, about having the kids at home every day, about having the marriage I had wanted. I’ve been divorced nine years, and it has not been easy for me to adjust to many parts of the divorce. I can see how it would really be time for me to release, to let go, to accept, even. Still, the Buddha’s words make me wonder if ruminating on the problem is the way to go. What if I don’t need to worry about the reason? What if I can just let go?

Now that I’ve been attuned (or should I say, ignited) to Holy Fire Reiki®, calling on the energy is much easier than it’s been. Before, I did not quite understand what my teacher, William Lee Rand, meant when he recommended calling on the Reiki for answers. I knew the Reiki came when I placed my hands on someone or on myself — I could feel the heat of it, the prickling of it in my palms — but I could not understand how to call on it for guidance. Now, however, with Holy Fire, the energy comes easily to me. My hands fill with the flame of it, and my heart and abdomen turn warm and safe. In a way, I finally understand that Reiki is not outside of me or inside of me. It simply is me.

Buddhists believe that Ki is the energy of the pool of creation. If so, then we are all made of it. I am Reiki, you are Reiki. Even my cellphone is Reiki (though that does require a leap of faith, seeing as how it seems so radioactive and unhealthy). And if I am Reiki, then all I need is to let go of my beliefs or needs for the healing of my tooth to happen a specific way or in a specified amount of time. I can support the healing by taking some pain meds (or at least support peace at my house by taking the pain meds, which will then probably lead to better healing opportunities). I can support the healing by giving Reiki to myself. But most of all, I can step out of my own way, and allow my tooth (I mean the space where my tooth used to be) to heal the way it needs to happen. Not my way. The tooth’s way. The best way.

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Sigal Tzoore (650) 815-5109