The Shaking Man.

I met a young man the other day who suffered from a very strange pathology. I am not sure that I had ever seen a thing like it before. He told me that he had been suffering for many years and had finally reached a point in his life where he was turning his pain into hope. Still, I felt like he had a long way to go. While I was talking with him I was able to see his malady first hand.

For no apparent reason he begins shaking. It could be a word, a thought or a particular kind of food that instigates the shaking. The fits can be from mild to severe, thankfully the one I noticed was mild. He refers to these shaking episodes as “redundant twitches”, meaning an electrical twitch that repeats itself over and over. He told me that these episodes could take place at any time, without a moments warning- so he has become agoraphobic.

I was invited over to his studio apartment to talk about a possible job as a ghost writer for a book that he wants to write. The premise for his book would be upon the ability of thought to create reality. I was a bit skeptical about this since I had always considered reality to be something that happens to someone. We live in-between chaos, subject to its every whim, with little power to influence this, I told him.

This is not true, we create reality by the way in which we think about it, he told me. For example, If I have negative thoughts about my body..these negative thoughts will translate into negative sensations in my body. This negative feeling in my body will cause me to experience my reality in an unpleasant way. Energy follows thought. I don’t know, I told him, but I am a good enough writer to write upon any subject- even if I do not believe what I am writing about. He offered me a cigarette.

In the corner of the room was a meditation alter. I asked him how often he meditated. He told me that he was a practitioner of Zazen meditation, which he did every morning for one hour at 5 a.m. I asked him if he was a Zen Buddhist to which he replied, I do not know.

After about an hour into our conversation, I noticed that he was beginning to shake. Excuse me he said but I feel an episode coming on. His hole body began to twitch and rattle. I was a bit frightened because to me it seemed as if he was going to have a seizure. His teeth began to shiver like a man caught in a cold snow storm. The….only…..thing……that…….seems…..to……calm…..me……down……is…….wine…..and…..heat, she said as if he had a stutter. I went into his small make-shift kitchen and poured him a glass of red wine. When I returned back into the front room he was gone. The front door was still open but there was no sign of him. I waited for awhile for his return, but he never returned.

I did not hear from him for a few days. I did not know what to think. When I did finally receive a phone call from him I found myself being a bit angry for what he had put me through. He apologized profusely and told me that he had panicked. He had gotten up to turn on the heater and felt a terrifying sensation in his body. His heart was racing and he thought he was going to die. All he could do was panic and run. He ran to the hospital a few blocks away where he waited for desperate help for hours until they told him they could not help him since he was without insurance.

I forgave him the moment I heard the sincere apology in the tone of his voice. I asked him if there was any medication that he could take for these strange episodes to which he replied….the purpose of my life is to learn how to live with my discomforts so I can discover something deeper about myself. Medication would only blind me to the true cause…I would rather suffer than live like a sedated victim. I understood this.

Would you still be interested in ghost writing my book? he asked. I told him for the right price I would be willing to do anything. Why don’t you come over this evening and we will discuss your fee, he said. I will be there at seven.

2 thoughts on “The Shaking Man.

  1. “All things have the nature of mind. Mind is the chief and takes the lead. If the mind is clear, whatever you do or say will bring happiness that will follow you like a shadow.”

    -thank you for the reminder. I suppose this is a definition for mindfulness. Something that I have always struggled with since the temporary gratifications of mindlessness are so enjoyable. But yes…the long term gains of mindfulness are much greater.

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