What If Illness Were Not An Enemy?

Oh boy, very bad head cold and fever.

The sensations are strange and intriguing in the body. Hot cheeks, hot forehead, when I get up from bed and return, the bed still feels strangely hot where I was laying before.

And the swollen glands in the throat, thick and aching. Then the completely stuffed up nose.

The funny thing is that although there are quite a few things I can’t really do today…or so I think…I don’t think about it every moment. I go in and out of being aware that I’m even sick.

Everyone does this!

Something difficult happens, a physical ailment, an accident, a tough situation….

….and even as that situation is happening your attention is sometimes elsewhere. You might go to sleep, or go to the bathroom, or get a glass of water.

For example, I thought at one point “I need to take some medicine for this fever and throat pain”.

And then I kept writing.

Forty-five minutes passed, then I did get up and get ibuprofen, so apparently medicine happened.

But it almost didn’t even matter. I was completely engrossed in my writing, then feeling it, then not feeling it again.

Where did the swollen glands, hurting throat, and sickness go in those moments?

What is this illness anyway? Is it really illness?

I am sick. Is it true?

Yes. This has happened every so often to me and to people I know since I was a kid. It’s called a bad cold. Or the flu maybe.

Can you absolutely know that it’s true that you’re sick?

Weird question, right?

But I find the answer is “no”.

I can’t absolutely know that what this is for, what it’s doing, what is meant by it. Maybe it’s a fact that I have a fever, but not necessarily a bad thing, or an alarming or disappointing or unhappy thing.

How do you react when you believe you’re sick?

Call the Fire Department! Emergency!

Cancel plans or worry about canceling plans.

Maybe you hold strong, reinforce with medicines, keep steady. Maybe you get anxious, read about your illness on the internet, research, get obsessive. Think about the future, and the past.

What you could do, what you should have done.

But who would you be without the thought that you are sick?

“Both pleasure and pain are projections, and it takes a clear mind to understand that. After inquiry, the experience of pain changes. The joy that was always beneath the surface of pain is primary now, and the pain is underneath it. People who do The Work stop fearing pain. They relax into it. They watch it come and go, and they see that it always comes and goes at the perfect moment.” ~ Byron Katie

Without the thought (and we’re not talking about denial here) I take vitamin C, I drink lots of water and tea, I lie in bed, I close my eyes, I sleep during the day.

And I feel deep peace. Like all is incredibly well. I guess there was no need to go to dance tonight. I breathe with my mouth open.

I turn the thought around: I am well.

This is what a body does. It responds.

I also notice this body is not who “I” am. It is doing its thing, and this “I” that is the silent center that’s always been here is entirely well.

It doesn’t really have a sick/well viewpoint, you know what I mean?

And, despite this condition called “sick” I had an initial interview for a presentation I’ll be a part of, I wrote Grace Notes, I taught my money class, I did some more planning for Summer Camp for The Mind, I applied for a cool program online, I helped my teenager figure out which bus to take.

Ha ha!

“There is no greater illusion than fear, no greater wrong than preparing to defend yourself, no greater misfortune than having an enemy. Whoever can see through all fear will always be safe.” ~ Tao Te Ching #46

Even if the enemy is sickness.

Much love, Grace

P.S. If you’re wanting to do The Work on pain, sickness or physical trauma…although it sounds kind of goofy, join Summer Camp. We’ll have good, solid rounds of facilitated Work in all areas, 3 days per week, and Q and A online via email. It will be liberating!

 

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