Healing is Sadhana - Spiritual Practice
True healing is anyway. The big fat life crisis kind. It becomes spiritual, a sadhana.
In the past for me to heal meant to employ some temporary mental discipline, of which for some reason I had plenty. To stop partying and drinking and eating crap for a while. That’s it. I’d clean up, chill out until I was over what ever it was and it often was huge, then head straight back out and do it again. A self imposed vicious cycle that I guess was typical for a young person, especially one who enjoyed life as much as myself and lived in denial of the fact my life was always impacted by disability and illness.
When I hit my 30’s the deal didn’t work so much like that. Illness and disease had always been a part of my life since I was born. Seriously, there was always something quite major and chronic at play. Maybe that’s why I played so hard in the world, to be normal, to make up for the time in bed or in hospital. I didn’t know it, but I was on borrowed time with my attitude and approach. My heart was in the right place though. The harder the call to heal, the harder I studied and prayed and meditated and every time, I ended up on top, armed with new knowledge. Food usually had the most fundamental impact. As a result it’s no great surprise that I ended up a whole food chef and health coach.
There are so many reasons as to why we get sick, it’s NEVER a one off grand statement or concept like we were out of the Tao or something for a moment. That actually is disrespectful to the truth. There’s beauty and grace that comes when eventually for some of us, a healing crisis comes. A jolt from the universe that slaps us over the head and leaves us spinning. I’ve had many a tango with the health devil and every time I’ve won and come out trumps. Oh I got so cocky! Last year however, he upped the anti and this time I really got something.
I got that there comes a time in our evolution, where we will encounter a debilitating illness or situation and the only clear way out, is to go to base camp. Become a beginner and treat the situation like a deity, with respect and devotion. Basically, the healing has become the focus of our spiritual practice. For some, it is the launching pad to spiritual practice and journey.
HOW DID I MAKE IT MY SPIRITUAL PRACTICE?
Firstly, I honoured it and respected it. Surrender was necessary. Stillness, contemplation in the presence of pain, fear and anger. Listening to my inner voice and universal voice for the clues and steps. Trusting my intuition and trusting that the time out I needed would be supported by the universe. Don’t worry, there were times I seriously fought with it, but now that was a fruitless use of my time and I’d always end up chewed up and spat out. Secondly, I threw all my devotional practices at it. Meditation, japa, chanting, puja. Sound like mumbo jumbo? Have no fear, over the coming month I’ll explain what they all mean. It was a very powerful practice.
The illness, became the teacher, my guide. Sadhana is a Sanskrit yogic term that applies to when a serious spiritual seeker meets their teacher or gets a random universal download, gets a transmission of grace and they start to awaken and take on the long often arduous task of practice for enlightenment. Sadhana is real commitment, the kind you can’t hide from because the grace has lit something inside of you that can’t be snuffed out. It becomes inevitable. I love the old school world of yoga and sadhana in that context and did it myself with dedication and reverence. Well, most of the time; I always add a splash of irreverence with everything I do, but hey it keeps things light!
THAT IS THE LEVEL I’M MEANING, OF THE KIND OF SPIRITUAL PRACTICE THAT’S INITIATED BY THE DISEASE.
The outcome actually isn’t that important, the internal shifts and attitudes and understanding are. Just as meeting a great and enlightened spiritual teacher can turn your life on it’s head and throw you into deep ‘sadhana’ or practice, so too can a diabolical health crisis. Just as meeting the teacher is a divine set up and act of tremendous grace, so too is getting this illness or condition.
Sit with that for a moment. I know it may sound radical and extreme to some. Some of you will know exactly what I mean. The teacher gives us tools and practices for our practice, we then take these tools and throw them, with everything else we have, at the healing process, the road to wellbeing. For those without the teacher thing, they quickly gain the tools if following the mindset of grace and find the right people at the right time to help.
Believe it or not, illness can be a gateway also to enlightenment. The level of surrender necessary, of stillness, of investigation is as intense as the most ardent of spiritual seeker. Another little fascinating insight is that enlightenment has little to do with whether we get sick or not, it’s just that the path to dealing with the illness is the same, the tools are the same. Many a great saint, and I mean the greatest of the great, suffered and got sick. It’s crazy and delusional to think we can meditate our way to a promised land of nothing ever being wrong, of no illness. The difference was their, the great beings, understanding and attitude to it. More of that next week.
So do you have a current spiritual practice? Tell me about it, what is involved, what’s the fundamental belief system and end goal? Have you merged it with a healing journey? Did it plunge you into a crisis or the dark night of the soul? Did it help give structure and hope? Did it shed light on your illness, on your soul’s evolution? What tools and techniques helped on the healing journey?
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Lots of love, here’s to healing, discovery and freedom xxx