Thursday, April 28, 2005

In Sickness and Health

In Yoga Journal magazine this month, there was an article from a woman who was attending a meditation retreat somewhere in Asia and was hit by a truck. She tells this fantastic story of hanging on to life and, because she had years of meditation practice, was able to turn her consciousness to the peace within even as her body was shredded and broken in hundreds of ways.

It is in moments like these - if we can stay conscious and if we have learned to turn within when we are well - that we can say, "I am not my body." The body and even our mind is simply the vehicle (or in another anaology is a suit of clothes) for our Spirit/Soul/Atman/Consciousness.

Right now I am battling a pretty hellacious cold (which is far milder than struggling with a major disease or having all of my bones broken in an accident). And where I used to be so identified with my body that an illness would cause me great suffering (at which point I became quite the whiner - just ask my wife), I'm slowly starting to say to myself - "Ok, your body is sick, but you are fine... and not just fine, but perfect. Identify yourself with that."

I write this simply to encourage myself and others to stay on the path of Spirit (whatever your spiritual disciplines, quiet times, or forms of worship might be) when one is healthy and all things are well. Then when crisis or disease or accident strikes, we are not thrown off kilter - we remain at the Center and are able to experience God in the sickness even as we do in health. And at moments like these, what were concepts such as "I am not my body" become more than concepts - they become actualized experience and testimonies to the "peace that passes all understanding."

6 comments:

isaiah said...

Meredith, at Grateful Presence, reminds me that behind all things (especially confusion over who we truly are) rests 'Clear- Mind.'

It is presently waiting for us to turn to It and accept It as It is- Perfect.

Behind sickness (even colds) and behind all illusions of the body and mind.... there is Spirit, waiting for us to acknowledge the presence...and for us to be ourselves.

Hope your cold dissipates soon. I heard an old remedy for curing a cold and I'll share it with you:

Take an old washtub and fill it 1/2 inch deep with Jack Daniel's whisky and drink. It's known to work every time it’s tried.

Trev Diesel said...

Hah, now THAT's alternative medicine!

Miss Wired said...

Nice way to live! :)

Jon said...

Hey, Trev,

I had a doozey of a viral infection a couple of years ago. I do remember it almost fondly. Since breathing was the main attraction of my congested life, it made following-the-breath meditation quite easy!

And my cat Talbot enjoyed having me around to lie beside all day long.

A PA I saw at the time gave me a themogenic recipe that helped a bit (maybe not as much as Isaiah's, though). I don't remmber exact amount, but it's brewing a cup of tea out of:

about a tablespoon of Rose Hips,
about 5 crushed cloves,
a bit of cayenne pepper,
a capful (or two) of Triple Sec,
a clove of garlic (remove after brewing)
some fresh or dried peppermint (remove after brewing)
sugar to taste.

When you begin to sweat, you can take a hot shower, and when finished go back and the covers and sweat some more. It doesn't make you well, but it feels good!

Get well soon

JP said...

Great post and a nice message here. For me, I wish it was that easy as I amyself am bit of a whiner when ANYTHING happens to me. Something I need to pray about though. Finding comfort in myself by focusing maybe on my walk with Christ realizing that my soul is OK and in the right place with the Lord.....

"James" said...

What an inspirational story of that lady! I am slowly learning how to not be so attached to my body and I find that pain is inevitable but suffereing from that pain is not.