I have no interest in defending the identity of the chronically ill.
Illness has a way of strengthening identity because anything that threatens your existence tends to make your ego do push ups. But strengthening the “I’m sick” identity will not facilitate healing.
Here is the paradox of healing from chronic illness: You have to accept what is true for your body before you can change it.
Acceptance starts with learning what could possibly be creating the mayhem…but it ends with surrender.
The New Paradigm illnesses are complex to the point that they are controversial. Controversy is intrinsic in the process of paradigms changing– there needs to be a build-up of tension. In this era, there are proliferating complex, chronic illnesses that cannot adequately be explained by the previous medical paradigm. (This has always been true– the hubris of any paradigm will dismiss the unexplainable rather than question the paradigm.)
That’s why it is helpful to validate the experience of anyone who is struggling with physical dysfunction that their doctors don’t understand. It’s true. It is happening. You are correct. Get a better doctor.
This validation allows the ego to stop fighting to be heard. That fight is a huge energy leak for energy that could be used to heal. (I notice now that will fight harder to defend someone else against ignorance than I will fight for myself.) What chronically ill people need is simply a safe space where they are believed. Then the next stage of healing can commence.
Yes, you have devastating symptoms here and here and here. Why? What could possibly have caused these sensations to arise in this physical form? Looking to other people who have figured it out and gotten better, it is likely to have something to do with your environment on some level. That is never not true.
Look at your food, what insects have bitten you, look at the quality of your indoor air, the quality of the outdoor air in your location, the quality of water you drink. It’s simple, in a way. 1) You remove what shouldn’t be there and 2) You add what should have been there. There are nearly 8 Billion humans on the planet. Live how ancestral humans lived, because they were successful.
From a certain point of view, this entire planet is one organism. Nothing is “outside” the organism.
None of this is personal.
Your mind is distinct from your ego. We know this because of how many humans have had their egos burn up from suffering….and still the mind functions.
Spiritual teacher Jac O’Keeffe talks about the neurological difference between the “default mode network” (the wiring that self-references all your sensations and stories) and the “task-oriented network,” which is separate neurological wiring that allows your organism to solve survival problems: get food, go pee, find somewhere to sleep.
It turns out, you don’t actually need your ego to go pee. There doesn’t need to be a whole story or a defended identity to simply get up and go to the bathroom. You may notice that your body does this often when your mind is involved with other things.
So it is with healing from chronic illness. There is always some new therapy or supplement to try. There’s healthy food to prepare. There’s robbing Peter to pay Paul. There is always a long to-do list. And there’s MORE energy to do it when your ego is not constantly protecting and defending itself. Your ego will tell you that it is essential to your survival, that you would die if you surrender. But it is only protecting itself, not your organism. It’s actually a drag on the system.
This is why I have no interest in defending the identity of the chronically ill– mine or others.
Eckhart Tolle tells a story of the day the Dalai Lama learned the phrase “low self-esteem.” He was in a room full of Westerners and went from one person to the next…”Do you have this?” yes, yes, yes…each person affirmed that they suffered from this mental state that the Dalai Lama had never heard of. He was astounded.
The esoteric practices of Eastern spiritual traditions like Buddhism often focus on an undermining of the ego on the path of awakening. But it is understood that the psychological conditioned structure must be stable before there is an attempt to undermine it. Otherwise, there can be mental health challenges. This can be a big challenge for Westerners. Our culture deifies the world of form and defines ego as the entire identity. Psyche.
So there is value in working with — and stabilizing — your psychological conditioned structures. This is why it is important to BELIEVE people when they are reporting sensations, even if you can’t measure them yet.
But it is a stepping stone to the next part of healing, which is an invitation to surrender. Surrender doesn’t mean giving up– not at all. Surrender is a careful, subtle observation of your own consciousness to look for flinching, clenching and fighting— and then releasing it. This may be the scariest thing you have ever done.
But the rewards are phenomenal.
Surrender happened when I lost the fear of dying because living was so incredibly difficult. OK, kill me or cure me. That became my mantra.
For me, leaving my son was the biggest splinter in my mind that tortured me. He was almost 12 when I left to escape mold. He stayed behind with his dad and has had a great and healthy life. He was internalizing my illness, getting depressed, and it genuinely made his life better for me to leave him. That tortured me. I tried to go back twice and got sick. I had to find a way to release it.
Surrender allowed my organism to stop spending so much energy on my frantic, fighting ego and become transparent to the wisdom and intelligence of something deeper. I have allowed THAT to take the wheel and drive “my life.” You can see it in the eyes of other people, if they have come to know the same thing.
The pain and malfunction certainly has not stopped overnight. (Often, healing involves more than restoration of function in the physical body.) But solutions come. Breakthroughs come. Coincidences and serendipity increase. My son and I have a wonderful long-distance relationship now. He’s 16. He came to visit me in April. Releasing my emotional holding around losing time with him has opened space for what is available now with him.
Every single identity that my ego grips onto has become an opportunity to dissolve it. What’s left is joy. What’s left when your ego goes quiet? The healing power of unencumbered life force that was always flowing through. I’m happy almost all the time now. I’m feeling better and better. You know what’s crazy? I feel joy even when my body feels crappy and things go wrong.
So I’m not going to defend my identity or your identity or “our identity” as sick people. But I believe you. I’m going to create a safe space for you to explore what is true right now– it hurts here, this isn’t working– and use it as a spiritual opportunity to look inward. Watch what happens inside your field of awareness. Watch very carefully to see if there are energy leaks. Ego is vampiric in its voracious demand of your lifeforce.
Notice what is able to witness your ego. What is that? Who are you really?
Fire your ego and surrender. ❤