Illness as a Blessing

For the past week, I had been feeling pretty ill. It was quite an eye-opening experience for many reasons, the primary being that I hadn’t felt sick in years. In a very grandiose way, I had convinced myself that I could never get sick. Thankfully, I was humbled, and I was able to have an opportunity to learn so much from this most recent episode of illness. Here are some of the lessons I learned:

  1. Acceptance is the easiest way to live. While it’s one thing to know this intellectually, it’s transformational to experience it. When we are in a state of acceptance, we allow life to carry us instead of trying to swim against the current. I noticed when I first felt symptoms, I was trying to deny them. Although I intellectually knew the importance of acceptance, it was hard for me to actually carry out the practice of acceptance in regards to my health. We fear accepting things because we believe that contentment will lead to complacency; however, that does not have to be the case. Acceptance allows us to fully immerse ourselves in the present moment so that we can make the most appropriate choice based on where we are right now. It is through such a deep level of acceptance that we are able to experience quite profound moments and shifts.
  2. Be at peace with doing nothing. There’s a societal expectation that we always ought to be doing something and that we should always be busy. Do, do do, go, go, go. We fear taking a break because we feel like we’ll never catch up on our to do list. The truth is that our to-do list can wait and possibly be tossed out ;-). Life does not have to be about checking off items on our to-do list, instead it can be about enjoying the process of simply living and being. We can enjoy moments where we do absolutely nothing, and we can feel guilt-free about those moments.
  3. Sometimes we don’t need to know why. Curiosity without attachment to an answer can be a fun pursuit but when we are obsessed with finding answers, we can become stressed. I wanted to know why I was sick, what was my body trying to tell me? Instead of being unattached, I was determined to uncover why. But the why wasn’t entirely clear and fortunately, it became comical because I realized finding the answer why wasn’t what was important. What was important was my need to rest and do nothing, not to continue to run around searching for answers. The obsession with finding answers can drive us crazy. Whenever the pursuit of the why is no longer fun, we have lost touch with the truth.

All this to say, I feel much better now and I can laugh at the experience. We become so engulfed in the need to know why, the effort to stay busy, and the fight against what is. We make life much more complicated than it really is despite our inner knowing that life is so very simple. Sometimes we’re lucky enough to get sick so that we can be reminded of the truth. 😉

Lean In

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Something miraculous happens when we lean into life, openly sitting with all the sensations that enter our awareness.

We access the inherent joy of Being when we simply allow all feelings, thoughts, and physical sensations to exist in our experience without running away, avoiding, or denying their presence.

We are continuously invited to let go and choose love.

We have endless opportunities to happily coexist with all of life’s possibilities.

Will you lean in?

The Search

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“In search for truth, it is possible to become addicted to the search.” -C. Thoth

When I reflect on the past few years of my life journey, I see someone who has tried to find truth in books and through videos of “spiritual leaders.” I have spent years reading books and watching videos, trying to discover and address existential questions about life. Each time I complete a book, I’m left with more questions and sometimes even with disappointment. Finally, it dawned on me that the greatest teacher is experience. While books can be helpful, it’s more beneficial to experience things on our own and come up with our own conclusions as opposed to following someone else’s. One of the most profound things Buddha said was “do not simply believe what I say, you must see for yourself.”

Truth is so much more simple than we make it out to be, it’s certainly not complicated and even the youngest children understand (perhaps even better than adults). Truth can be found everywhere and in every situation and it’s constantly calling us home through our daily encounters. The truth lies in this moment but when we try so hard to find it or are trying to find something other than what is, it becomes elusive. Sometimes we search for something other than what’s happening right now because we are terrified of what we don’t know (e.g., the future, existential answers, etc). We hate not knowing but the reality is there is much more that we don’t know than we do, and that’s okay. Perhaps one of the most important things I have learned is the importance of being comfortable with uncertainty.

Looking for finite answers does not always serve me. Life is dynamic, ever-changing, and responsive. The meaning of life changes depending on perspective and our own subjective experiences. Similarly, what may be true for me may not be true for someone else.

When I look at how much time I spend reading and watching these videos, I see time that I can spend out in nature, hiking, swimming, or being on the beach. Time spent seeking is time that can be used “being.” I have decided to take a break from reading spiritual books and am going back to reading and even writing fiction. I’m also going to take a break from watching videos for now. I am going to go out and experience truth, live it, and feel it. Each day, I am returning to my inner child more and more.

Mahalo for reading! May you experience infinite peace & blessings!

*The photo is of a mountain range on Oahu, taken 10/21/2013