What is an itch?


Postulate: The perception that we call an ‘itch’ is the first part of the perception of relieving it. We relieve it by scratching or sometimes by pressure.

When one undertakes to practice meditation, itches and their alleviation become quite prominent features of experience.

Refrain from scratching or rubbing and the experience resolves to a minutely localized pain, increasingly acute. No longer so trivial and transient a thing as an itch! Stay with it, without intervening, and in imagination we are assaulted by drills working through skin and even bone.

If your cheek itches (or your ear, neck, scalp, the middle of your back, …) and you don’t scratch it, pretty soon it goes away as though it had never been. If an itch goes away without scratching it, was there an itch?

During the excruciating intensification of an itch denied what happens when you deliberately focus attention on sensation on the skin in another part of the body?

Look into this. What do you make of it?