Bearing The Unbearable
Many people have written to me seeking a spiritual approach to coping with health problems. I have yet to create opportunities -- on this site, anyway -- to address my thoughts on illness, disease, faith healing, body-mind-spirit connection, etc. The intersection between Disease and Spirituality is so important, and so enormous a topic, that an article or two couldn't possibly contain the scope of this conversation.
Spiritual Healing, Dis-ease, and Fear
I do have a lot to say about Disease, Spirituality, and ultimately, Fear -- indeed, I've written a book about it that I intend to self-publish -- the working title is Fear in Remission -- but it always seems daunting to attempt emails and blog entries that can't hope to contain enough of the conversation to be truly useful... I do intend to introduce pieces of the book as articles, but it's hard to "chunk" this topic. It defies short, easily-digestible formats.
The Best Time for Beasts and Bears
When is "the right time" to talk about something scary and negative? But, then -- when is it ever a good time to be ill, right?
I may ramble a bit, here, seeking an introduction to an entire site's worth -- a book's worth -- of information on this topic. So bear with me...
Communicating with Disease
I will talk to anybody - or anything.
I communicate with computers, people, spirits, angels, animals, plants, God... I talk to myself... I recently began a relationship with Money. Many of these conversations are with entities who are not physically present -- including You.
What is real, what is virtual, what is physical -- these are subjective concepts. Whatever the case, subject, or scenario, communication always proves to be useful. I name everything, and then I talk to it.
Listening to the Body
The primary goal in Yoga is simply to listen to the body.
My experiences with listening to anything or anyone has shown me time and time again that the most effective way to engage in dialogues is to ask questions.
If you can communicate with people half-way around the world, with entities in other dimensions -- if you can have conversations across vast gulfs of physical space or outside of the physical realm entirely -- then you can expect to speak to something that incarnates in physical form -- that shares the same physical space -- that literally inhabits the same mortal body.
Knowing its name improves the connection and the outcome of your dialogue.
"Talk to your doctor..." I am not a medical professional, and I am not qualified to dispense medical advice. Consult the obvious external sources.
Don't overlook the less obvious sources -- your own body, and all the living things that share your body with you.
What Does Your Body Say?
In addition to listening in a general way, ask specific questions of specific parts of your body.
What Does Your Disease Say?
I started practicing the concept of corresponding with -- or literally writing to -- illness. It was just an instinct -- an impulse -- but I later discovered that there were others who have implemented the idea intentionally -- such as cancer patients writing letters to their illness, many of them with incredible success.
My motivation for beginning these dialogues were questions about how so many things live in our bodies, symbiotically, and why some of them harm us and others don't. The same things that go unnoticed by my body may wreak havoc in yours. Why is that?
Triggers -- a lot of complex triggers, actually -- are required to turn something from latent -- or dormant -- into active.
Stress being an almost universal priority ingredient for disaster. And stress is dependent on our emotional and mental processing...
Acceptance, Emotional Experience, and Behavior Choices
Each is a separate process.
Accepting a circumstance, situation, or condition is not the same thing as having an emotional response, and it's certainly not the same as how you choose to behave.
It may be hard to accept that we attract everything we experience, but you can still control what you DO with an experience.
Behavior Is ALWAYS a Choice
When you can't choose anything else -- when you can't choose the circumstance, when you can't help the way you feel about it -- that's okay -- accept, feel, and then choose how you behave in response to it.
I questioned why some "hornets nests" within the body are stimulated to attack, while others exist without causing problems. It also didn't make sense to me that any life-form would be motivated to kill its host. That just doesn't...compute.
While I have a disease that doctors identify as fatal, I have absolute ZERO problems of any kind. For whatever reason, this monster was and is awfully well-behaved. It simply doesn't mess with me in any overt way.
How do you treat friends? How do you treat enemies? How do you treat your body?
One of the earliest conversations I had with my illness resembles the initial contact one makes with ghosts or spirit entities when first moving into a space where you must share or cohabitate: You introduce yourself, you establish that you are not there to harm them in any way, and that you aren't asking them to leave or move to accommodate you.
You treat them as you would a new roommate -- assigned, less-than-ideal, but there whether you feel dropped in the middle of the scenario or not.
You simply acknowledge them, and bless them by saying "Keep doing what you're doing. Carry on. You are welcome to be here, as long as you don't harm me, I won't harm you."
Ignorance Encourages Fear
By definition, you are less likely to fear a friend. By initiating friendship, you are inviting dialogue and understanding. Enemies require ignorance and fear of one another.
So, I befriended my illness, and set up an agreement to cohabitate in this body. Although I may not understand it -- its consciousness may be totally foreign to me -- that lack of understanding -- ignorance -- is the Fear.
Shared fear and ignorance of one another can result in War -- but not without behavioral choices.
To push the button, to launch the missile, to throw the first punch -- someone must act in hostility first. Nuclear annihilation has been a possibility for almost a century now, yet something stays the hand of the ones with their fingers on the button.
In a similar way, it makes no sense to me to treat any living thing that shares my physical body as anything but a neighbor. It may not be a neighbor I understand, or one I would have consciously chosen, but I must love it enough to respect it. Killing or destroying my physical self would certainly be an effective -- but obviously -- SUICIDAL approach.
It seems to me that my disease would have to love my body for the same reasons I do -- it is our shared home. It has never behaved aggressively against me. Its presence is not hostile in and of itself -- there is no "bad behavior" on its part.
I have no motivation or justification for throwing the first punch. So I choose not to. I did not CHOOSE to attack it out of fear. There is a reason why it is here -- I can't even begin to detail what its presence has taught me, and how much facing my mortality was the most liberating experience of my life.
It is because of my intimate relationship with my own death that I have no fear of it.
Consequently, the very Thing that threatened my life has improved it. It has taught me how to live.
Many people will never understand this. They will kill the messengers that come bearing gifts of wisdom. They will choose to destroy, instead of explore. Their response to fear will be to demonize and kill what they do not understand, instead of choosing one small potential act of love and understanding.
If nothing else, can we not pause for a moment of incredible wonder and awe? Before we are swallowed by the black hole, or collide with the meteor, can't there still be a moment when we look up at the sky with our mouths hanging open, and marvel at the power and the beauty and the fireworks of the next to the last moment?
I know with great confidence, that I would love even the instant of my death. I would embrace any second of experience -- all the more for its being the last.
My disease also needs me, and for all I know, loves and appreciates the physical home of my body as much or more than I do.
There are only 2 forces at work in the Universe -- not Good and Evil -- LOVE and FEAR. Faced with enormous fear - so what? The options haven't changed; the more intense the circumstance, the more obvious the choices available to you. If you are in Fear, you only have one alternative setting. Consciousness is digital. It's One or Zero, ON or OFF. The choices of Position are actually quite simple, and the same holds true for any circumstance.
You either fear it or love it.
The creative challenge is discovering what there is to love about something that frightens you. The epiphanies -- for me, anyway -- is that when you go looking for reasons to love anything, you find them. The only thing blinding you from this discovery is fear.
The secret to experiencing Love instead of Fear is recognizing that everything comes down to this simple Choice. With all the things that feel like they are happening TO you, with all the things you refuse to accept that you would ever choose to experience, there is great power in realizing that you ALWAYS choose between Love and Fear.
Choices can change and be forgiven.
What is fear withholding from you? What can you learn by simply choosing to ask -- everything -- ANYTHING -- "What can you teach me?"
The answers may surprise you.