In the Dentist’s Chair

Sometimes, everyday life is better than secluded meditation to get to the bottom of one’s own soul. When we talk about thinking, feeling, and willing, I see a dance—I think of my soul as something that manifests and expresses itself in movements. But there are days when it seems more like a knot or a fight. Then it’s all: “I don’t think so. I don’t feel like it. I don’t want to.”

Like this morning, at the dentist. I’m rushing over the hill because I’m late, and I’m annoyed with myself for it. That’s why I keep pedaling so hard: so I don’t have to be embarrassed because I’m late. I feel ashamed in advance because (if I’m honest) I don’t feel in control of the day. I instruct my legs: “Come on, faster!” They do it willingly, but then it reminds me of a bicycle accident years ago, and I put on the brakes again.

As I lie in the dentist’s chair, I am tense, even though the two dental professionals above me speak like angels, and I know that they are doing excellent work. I try to breathe in this knowledge and turn it into a feeling of calm. I breathe in a way that relaxes me. But then, bad news: a wisdom tooth has to come out soon. “Another one!” I think. My heart sinks and contracts, but I want to appear sensible and mentally push myself ahead to objectively weigh the options.

By the time I’m able to leave, I’m exhausted by fear and worried about what’s to come. I would like to indulge in a childhood tantrum and stomp off, but I restrain myself. I get on the bike, prepared to compose myself. Serenity—where is it in me? I take a moment to look at the first pink flowers of spring against the ice-cold gray above me, and that helps me a little to un-knot myself. I look at the pink and feel: irregardless—it is I who thinks, feels, and wills.

Translation Laura Liska
Illustration The Goetheanum Weekly graphics team

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