I never found out what had been causing those bites for so many months. But the situation developed when I learned a couple apartments in my building had bed bugs and were having exterminations. I freaked out. Freaking out is a good sign that you are totally taken in by a circumstance and cannot view it at the higher vantage point of the true self, the watcher which is unaffected by what “happens” and is always whole. I wasn’t being the watcher, I was being a body threatened by outside forces. I took many precautions after learning my neighbors had bed bugs, putting things in trash bags, keeping the lights on at night, spraying poison around my door. But to the universe all of those precautions were really just me saying, “I’m afraid of something, this bothers me, I’m totally attached and identified with this situation.” That was the truth of the matter. I hadn’t let go. I was clinging to circumstance.
I was living in fear of bugs. For you this experience might have manifested in another form in your own life. About a month after the bed bug incident I thought I was in the clear. Everything was going to be fine. And when the thought that everything will be fine occupies your mind, that can be saying that you don’t feel fine in this moment, the only moment you will ever actually be experiencing. That very week I woke up with bug bites. These were very different from the ones I had been having all year. There were multiple bites and they were on my upper body not my legs. I even had bites on my fingers. The only thing familiar about them was the terrible allergic reaction. But the itching was even worse. I called the exterminator to inspect, and sure enough I had bed bugs.
The morning I found out I fell to pieces. You would have thought a real tragedy had struck. I was distraught, beside myself. I felt completely contaminated, as if everywhere I went would become infected by bed bugs. I didn’t want to tell anyone, I didn’t want to hang out at other apartments. Mostly, I never wanted to return to my apartment ever again. I no longer cared about my stuff, I did not want any of it anymore. In my eyes, the place would be forever contaminated.
This is a great example of a strong reaction. My reaction was a clear message of the feelings, fears, and beliefs I had been holding onto ever since my first bad bite from October. It was now May, and there was no more fooling myself. I was completely attached to my outer circumstance, and when my outer circumstance did not fit with the picture I had in my head of what I needed to feel safe, comfortable, and at ease, I caused immense suffering for myself. Suffering is often created by the outer circumstance not matching up with your thought’s picture of how things “should” be. This cannot be reconciled by more thoughts. The only way to stop the self created suffering is to recognize the thoughts and how they operate. The thougths don’t really want problems to be solved, even though that is what they claim. They want to keep thinking, that is their whole life up there in your head. They just want to stay alive. So when the outer circumstance doesn’t match with the thoughts’ visions, your mind will take that opportunity and run with it. Literally run, you know how thoughts run on and on in your mind. It loves doing that. But you are the observer of your thoughts, you have the ultimate control once you recognize that they are not helpful and in no way actually improve the uncontrollable circumstance.
When you have thoughts like this that keep running and cause you great emotional suffering, become very alert. Say to yourself, “what is my next thought going to be?” and then watch your mind until one comes in (a great tool from Tolle’s The Power of Now). Don’t judge the thoughts, allow them, give them your fullest attention. In this way the light of your presence will shine through the illusion that your thoughts can help you with their insane ramblings. Another way to quiet down an insane thought pattern is to bring complete inner acceptance to your outer circumstance even though your thoughts don’t want you to. Allow a situation to be. It will be the end of the mind using you, and the beginning of you using the mind.