It was the evening of the day after Thanksgiving. The night was very dark and chilly. It had been a quiet day full of reading, (some clients for me), and watching an old movie we all wanted to see because it won Best Picture in 1970.
Inside our little cottage it was very toasty, bright and cozy.
My son then noticed he didn’t feel that good. He went to bed. In the morning, he threw up.
An hour later, he threw up again. And a little later, again.
Then my daughter threw up.
Going into “mom” mode, I’m getting them medicine, feeling their foreheads for their temperature, going out to buy them anything they’ll drink to get rehydrated. A day of attending to the sick, but doing other things as well.
We’re all analyzing what they ate, for food poisoning analysis.
Then, my husband threw up. He never gets sick, not like this.
I have the thought enter my mind “uh oh.”
Then right away, “Wow, I haven’t gotten it! It’s going to pass me by, I’m going to avoid it, maybe I’ll never feel a thing!”
A day later, I myself am throwing up, several times during the night. Followed by the fever and chills for 24 hours that everyone else also has.
A little experience of illness will get any mind going, if it’s not questioned, with thoughts of alarm.
In my mind, I’m thinking about the great plague of Europe and how it rampaged through everyone and killed the majority of the population.
The body is vulnerable, there is no one who is protected against illness, I can be destroyed.
(And by the way….I also thought….isn’t the whole torn off hamstring enough? Apparently not).
Fortunately for me, one of the YOI groups started its new topic this month: The Work on The Body.
I guide everyone through filling out the Judge Your Body worksheet right there on the phone together, so we take the time (so easy to dismiss) to sit and consider what our most stressful, painful, agonizing beliefs are about this body.
People found that as they allowed their judgments to come to the surface, they sometimes felt embarrassed or nervous about saying them out loud. Sometimes I have felt superficial when I identify my stressful beliefs on my body, like I shouldn’t care this much about the body being healthy, or looking “attractive” or being in top condition.
Everyone gets sick, stop complaining!
But rejecting these thoughts or shoving them away and trying to think positively doesn’t really work. Not when I’ve been sad, or terrified, anxious or alarmed.
So…..how wonderful to have The Work for identifying deeper emotional pain around living in this body.
“I shouldn’t get sick”.
Is it true?
Yes, how could that not be true? What purpose would getting sick offer? How could there be ANYTHING useful, good, or advantageous about getting sick?
Who set this universe up anyway?!!! I need to have a word!!!
(Notice how the mind goes from not liking the situation to finding out whose fault it is in less than 2 seconds).
Can I absolutely know that its true that I shouldn’t get sick? That no one should ever, ever get sick?
Well….since sickness has existed for as long as humans have existed, as far as I now, then it can not be true that sickness SHOULDN’T exist. Because it does.
But maybe I don’t know something about all this. Maybe my version of health or sickness is not quite….accurate, shall we say?
How do I react when I believe that I shouldn’t get sick, that my family shouldn’t, or that anyone I know shouldn’t?
When they get sick….I’m against it.
I’m sad, discouraged, angry, depressed, frightened. I think about the plague.
But who would I be without the thought that I shouldn’t get sick?
When our YOI group got to answering this question together on the phone, they almost didn’t know how to even imagine what they’d be like, without the thought that this body appeared to be a problem.
Yet if you take only a moment, without the thought that there is a problem….
….isn’t it lighter? Even quite astonishing?
The fear dissolves, the focus on this body softens. The sense of it being a part of a greater force of life, nature, or Whatever, is clear.
“The mind is only at war with itself. It’s as though on one side you have the terrified mind, the child, the I-know mind. “I’m so frightened, I’m so frightened! I have cancer, it’s so terrible, I know, I know, I know. I’m sick, I’m going to die.” And then over here, on the other side, we have the mind that is still and quiet and wise. This mind does not move. It rests in its own wisdom. When you put the questions in between them, it’s like a bridge for this one to travel over.” ~ Byron Katie
I turn the thought around to the opposite “I should get sick”.
This doesn’t mean I should believe that getting sick is the best and most wonderful thing that ever happened….but perhaps I am mistaken about its horrors.
For myself, I notice that in these past few days, examples of it being true that I should get sick (besides the obvious example that I WAS sick) was that I noticed how OK everything was anyway.
Our family kept talking about what we might have eaten, or how the illness traveled invisibly, or what was in our throw up, or how fascinating that the body does this weird thing.
Everyone was taking care of one another, everyone changed gears and stayed home.
I cancelled appointments and rescheduled them. I slept. I thought about the body and it’s vulnerability and felt a release, an acceptance, a surrender. No way out.
I may discover more. But I feel sort of….excited. Like it’s no big deal.
There is a mind here, present at all times, resting in its own wisdom. I have it, you have it….we all do.
“The Unknown is more vast, more open, more peaceful, and more freeing than you ever imagined it would be. If you don’t experience it that way, it means you’re not resting there; you’re still trying to know. That will cause you to suffer because you’re choosing security over Freedom. When you rest deeply in the Unknown without trying to escape, your experience becomes very vast. As the experience of the Unknown deepens, your boundaries begin to dissolve. You realize, not just intellectually but on a deep level, that you have no idea who or what you are.” Adyashanti
Who would you be without your story that your body is vulnerable, and this is a dangerous situation?
What if its not even YOUR body?