An 800 word ultra short story based on a remarkable historical event.
The Worm Speaketh ...
The Worm Speaketh ..
Des Pensable (c) 2013.
'Hey you out there! What’s going on? I’m hungry and I haven’t been fed for a while.'
Dam! I’ll have to exert myself a bit more I guess.
'Hey down there. Settle down. The master is trying to meditate.'
'Is someone out there? Who are you?'
'I’m your supervisor. It’s my job to tell the master how you are feeling.'
'I’m hungry when is the master going to feed me?'
'Settle down. You’ll be fed when the master is ready. Just sleep or whatever you want to do.'
'Alright supervisor, but tell him I’m hungry and if I’m going to work for him I need food or there will be trouble.'
'Quiet down. Be a good worm and you’ll be rewarded for your patience.'
'Alright I’ll try to sleep and try not to think of the fact that I’m HUNGRY!'
Oh! I’m hungry, so hungry. I can’t sleep any more. I’ll jump around and cause trouble until they feed me.
'Stop wriggling down there!'
'I’m starving! Have you told the master that I need food? When do I get fed?'
'He knows. Settle down and be patient.'
'No I can’t! Aren’t you hungry?'
'I can’t feel hunger. What is it like?'
'It’s terrible. It pains, it hurts, it makes me sick and weak and restless. I need food!'
'Well I’m sorry you’ll have to wait. The master is on an important job.'
'What could be more important than feeding me? I’m important too. You need me. If I die you die. Then we’ll all be finished. He’ll die himself. Why is he letting me suffer?'
'I shouldn’t tell you but he is using us to understand suffering. He says the world suffers so we must suffer to understand it.'.
'Is he crazy?'
'You mustn’t say that! Maybe. I can’t tell him even if he is.'
'Why can’t you tell him?'
'I can only have messages passed to him but he doesn’t necessarily pay attention to me or the others.'
'What others. You mean there are more of us?'
'There are many of us. We’re all his servants. Each of us has a single important job that we do whenever requested. However, he’s doesn’t need us at the moment as he’s meditating under a tree and trying to keep his mind clear.'
'Clear for what? Does he expect someone to yell ‘Hey this is what suffering is all about?’'
'Perhaps he does. All I know is that he intends to keep meditating until he gets an answer to why humanity is suffering and how he might stop it.'
'Is anyone giving him any solutions?''No. We’re not skilled in suffering like you.'
'How do you know all this when I don’t?'
'We are all clumped together and hear things but you are physically separate from us but seem to be able to think for yourself. We are not trained to think only act. My job for instance is just to pass on information from you and nothing more.'
'So how often do you speak to the master?'
'Well I can’t exactly speak directly to him. Only one of us can. He’s the Speaker for all of us.'
'We tell the Speaker our problems and he tells the master if he thinks it’s important.'
'So you tell the Speaker that I’m hungry and he tells the master and if the master listens he tells the Speaker to tell you to tell me to be quiet. Is that how it works?'
'Yes that’s pretty much it. Of course the problem with the Speaker is that he’s not reliable. He will tell the master anything to keep him happy.'
'Alright I see the problem. Here’s what we’re going to do. I want every servant including the Speaker to stop work and relax. We want inactivity, silence and peace in the master’s mind to calm him and give him clarity. I’ll think about this problem of suffering and make up a story for him. When it’s ready you can pass it on to him. He’ll think he’s solved the problem and eat again. We all win.'
'That’s a great idea! I’ll tell the others. We’ll be so quiet the master will think that we’re dead.'
Sometime later in the external reality.
‘Awake all! Come quick. The Lord Buddha has ended his fast. Tell us master what have you learned?’
‘Please prepare me a meal. I’m weak and my body demands food. Through meditation I have discovered a place of great serenity and have been enlightened by an inner voice about many pathways to a wondrous place called Nirvana where there is love, peace and ample food where not even a worm would suffer. That is the destiny of worm kind. I mean mankind.’
About this story:
Its reasonably well known that fasting induces the mind to think clearly. Its also well known by Buddhists and others who have sought the information that Buddha attained enlightenment by meditating for days under a tree. What is less known is that humans have a second nervous system located in the gastrointestinal system commonly called the gut. This second nervous system has been referred by scientists as a second brain. In this story I have speculated that when the gut gets hungry it tries to talk the fasting person into eating. In some cases this has led to remarable discoveries such as the state of enlightenment discovered by Buddha. Could it be that our guts are already enlightened and Buddha's gut had to resort to telling Buddha about enlightenment to get fed?
see - Think Twice: How the Gut's "Second Brain" Influences Mood and Well-Being, Scientific American Feb 2010 here
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