“AWARENESS IS THE ONLY MEDICINE” Gautam Buddha
Do you struggle with this question often? Few days back I was struggling with it and do struggle with it whenever I am facing some disease. At this time of year, Pune has typical weather, having cool nights and very sunny/hot afternoons. As result of this change, many puneites suffer from throat infection, headache, cough, cold and fever. Usually I am amongst this lot. First two days are very bad. There is lot of pain, itching, weakness etc. But apart from these usual physical symptoms, the mental pain is more disturbing. It is very painful to see all others working actively, enjoying their life and me sitting at home, just lying on bed, can’t read/ watch TV and do nothing. All the theory, that “this is going to last just 3/4 days, just need to relax and rest, it is usual part of our life, and people are having lot more problems than this” etc goes out of window. Feeling of victim takes over. Against my principal of not taking allopathic medicines I have to take some analgesic/ antacid and in rare case an antibiotic. It is very depressing feeling. After 4/5 days, things start improving. Sanity returns and things go back to normal only to return when something goes wrong again and I get sick. This time things were following normal order but this time I had become little more aware and I was looking at this whole process more dispassionately and I could feel the difference. I am just sharing these thoughts here.
I believe, at the root of this pain is question, why me? Why I am the always one who gets affected. Why me, in spite of following very healthy routine. My exercise regime is fairly regular, I do pranayama/ meditation fairly regularly. My diet is decently balanced one without excesses of outside/ oily/ junk food. My lifestyle is also ok, without much of stress. I am not running any rat race; my relationships are ok; then why I have such a poor immunity system? I think this thinking process is more or less applicable to all of us. Isn’t it? But this time, when I was looking at this from different perspective, I could see the problem. This was real eye opener.
Whatever mentioned in last paragraph, is what I think, I am doing right. Is it fact? how many times, I am missing on exercise, pranayama, meditation. How many times I mess up diet routine due to various reasons. Even if I decide to eat right food, what is assurance that what I eat is good one and not contaminated by pesticides etc. Everyone feels that he is living stress free life, but is it really the case? Often we live in denial mode. We fake our happiness just to show to all surrounding people. We never face the reality upfront. Most of the times we play in the hands of our emotions and they manage us. All this has negative impact on our health. There is lot of material published which show negative impact of stress, emotional mismanagement on our immunity system. I realized that, we are not robots, and things are bound to get out of control/ limit sometime or other. Practically it is next to impossible to live perfect life following all rules. We all are bound by our duties/ work/desires/moods. It may impact desired lifestyle. But then, what is solution? Just to surrender to our desires/ emotions and live a diseased life, taking medicines every now and then
I think, we are following the above path. We have surrendered to our desires/ emotions and accepted that medicines are our part of life. We feel that medicine is only solution and popping a pill will solve our problems and we will be disease free. I think we need to rise above this.
First step is Acceptance. We have to accept that there is disease and there is going to be little discomfort for some time. There are so many things which are beyond our control and our body may get affected by it. Majority of the times accepting this is problem. My psychologist mama often quotes “Suffering = pain * resistance”. I fully acknowledge his statement. Most of the time our resistance is very hard which increases our suffering. Whatever feeling I have mentioned in first para are result of this resistance. We have to accept this and take remedial action based on expert (doctor) advice. As BIRBAL says in his story that whatever weapon is available is best weapon. We need not be purist to follow particular pathy. Whatever works well/ suits well should be used. Taking required rest while having settled/ quiet mind is helpful. Looking at our thoughts detached from feeling/ emotions is right way. In such state of mind, we can easily accept problems that may have caused this disease and we resolve to improve ourselves in future. I think that is what Buddha calls is Awareness. And That is the ultimate solution. I realized that this awareness is not one time solution but we need to practice it all the time. It is like boxing bout, one may fall number of times but battle is not lost till one gets up and starts fresh. Very often, we tend to be swept away by flood of emotions and we enter into negativity spiral. But to be aware is supreme, once we become aware, we can manage flood of emotions. The moment, we accept physical conditions related with particular ‘disease’ and take appropriate action, we will be ‘at ease’ and that I think is solution to fight disease permanently. I am fighting this fight and trying to get up every time I fall.
We will deal later about how to develop this awareness.
Do you fight similar emotional battles being diseased? Please share your views on above.