Prayer Also Is a Sort of Novocaine
The dentist who administers Novocaine is not taking away the pain. He or she is just temporarily keeping it away. Afterwards, you still feel the pain. In the same way, prayer also is a sort of Novocaine.
When you pray you feel comforted, but you still have to go through the operation. So the operation has to be performed, but it is done under a sort of reduced pain. All our prayers and even the prayers and blessings from others, the good wishes and get well cards, all help us to rise above the pain: “So many people are praying for me. So many people are thinking of me. I’m getting the blessings of so many people, so I’ll get through it.” That feeling itself reduces the pain. Because after all what is pain? It’s in the mind. Pain is a sort of illusion. There’s no pain at all as such.
Suppose you have an abscess in your tooth. It pains a lot. Even when you go to bed, you can’t sleep because it hurts so much. Then, when you really get tired, you slowly slip into sleep. Do you still feel the pain when you sleep? No. Does the abscess go away? No. The tooth is there, the abscess is there, but you don’t feel the pain. The minute you are awake, then, “Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh!” The pain comes again. So where is the pain? If the pain is in the tooth, the pain should continue until the tooth is healed. But, instead, when the mind forgets the tooth and the abscess, there’s no pain. When the mind thinks of it, the pain comes back. Is it not so?
Do you know the treatment for a scorpion sting? The treatment is to put a drop of salt water in the eye. The sting in the eye is much greater than the sting in the hand, so the pain in the hand is forgotten and the mind is diverted to the pain in the eye. Of course, after a little while the tears flush out the eye, and that pain goes away. Because you have forgotten this pain due to that pain, and because that pain went away, you don’t go back to this pain.