Illness and Awakening – The Deepest Acceptance

I lived with major chronic illness for over 10 years.
Fifteen years later I am immensely grateful to the experience.
It played a huge part in my coming to consciousness.
It brought me to humility, tenderness and wisdom.
It forced me to look at the whole of me and let go of what was causing tightness or stress on the system.
It demanded I pay attention to what and how I digested the world, from the food I was eating, to what and how I was emotionally digesting my experiences, past and present.
It was a total revolution of awareness and understanding.

You just can’t experience this kind of thing without it teaching you valuable and humbling truths.
Of course you can also turn away from it in (over) medication, depression, resentment and resignation but that’s not the focus of my attention here. I am speaking to those who are confused, who long to open, who experience the confusion and shock, to those who seek awakening but might be ‘stuck with a persistent chronic (or acute) illness.’

This is really about love and the deepest acceptance of what is.

Yes, I was diagnosed with bowel disease. I felt it was the result of a lifetime of toxic living, major inflammation, buried fear and anxiety and a bad luck call.
I fought it and surrendered.
I loved it.
I hated it.
I listened to it.
I raged at my fate, at the unfairness of it.
I accepted the prospect of death, or the possibility of never healing.
I took it only as personally as I needed, which was a warrior’s task in itself.
I saw the body as illusion and still turned towards love.
I worked with all my beliefs, the good, the bad and the dark.
Ultimately I died into it.
And still I kept on inquiring into it, healing it, working with it.
And don’t misunderstand me, I also worked on inflammation, detox, nourishment, body work modalities, releasing deeply held stress and trauma, and so on. Mine was not a purely ‘spiritual’ journey. It was truly holistic.

The shock of a huge diagnosis in 2005 catapulted me (and Amoda my wife) into fear and panic. It totally engulfed my life but strangely it also focused my energy. There was something almost inevitable about it, it didn’t feel separate from my life. I don’t mean this on the superficial level, because on that level it DID come out of the blue. But on the deeper, intuitive, subtle level, there was a sense that this was a part of my life, albeit uninvited (maybe), but it would be unwise to completely push it away.

I had no choice, it came at me like a massive wave, crashing into my life, into our life.

Those of you who have experienced this know. When illness really strikes it is impossible to ignore. It becomes your new lover, your new teacher.
Illness moves in with you, whether you like it or not. And if you are in relationship suddenly you are in a threesome. It is exactly like an uninvited guest taking up lodging in your body and life.

It becomes your guru or your tormentor, and usually both.

Oh! it hasn’t been easy, it has been relentless. But it has compelled me to go so deep inside myself I found the mine of rubies, that which is untouched by illness, that which is innocent and always free. It actually liberated me. And brought me to love without attachment.

The thing that I learned most about illness is this. It is not ultimately about whether it physically heals, or goes, or any of those things. Of course on a certain level it is very much preferable to be restored to functionality.

But ultimately it is about the depth of the love it can bring us to. The body is a wild teacher, and illness is very wrathful. But it has so much to tell us about ourselves and about life.

This little poem sums up how I feel.

‘If you haven’t fully digested past experiences,
Assimilated what was nourishing
And eliminated what is no longer needed
You may have digestive issues
On all levels of your being.

The past is poison if it rots in your system.’

If this speaks to you, if you are experiencing some of this, I hope it has spoken to you and allowed you to go deeper, or just relieved stress for a moment, or you can feel my tenderness towards you and your suffering. It is all the mystery and none of us knows why or even what really we should do.

As Ram Dass wonderfully said, ‘We are all walking each other home.’

With love – Kavi

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Everything (Including Illness) is Included in the Spiritual Journey.

Everything (Including Illness) is included in the Spiritual Journey.

I spent nearly 10 years seriously ill, from about 2004 to 2014. I had major chronic autoimmune illness. I won’t share the details but enough to say it was dramatic, not life threatening but totally debilitating, and it completely shattered my ability to live a ‘normal’ life.
I wrote a book about the experience called ‘The Power of Illness to Change Your Life.’


http://a.co/d/3ShFibv

It also invited me into the deepest inner journey of my life.
I see that period of my life as an entirely transformational one.
I cannot begin to tell you how deep it was. It was total. It took me to every part of myself, every unexplored area, every vulnerability, every attachment, every fear.

It demanded I resolve all past grievances and traumas. It urged me to accept the prospect of death, or a life of permanent illness.

It took me to rage and anger at my past, at myself, and at God
.
And of course it had a huge impact on my relationship with Amoda. She hadn’t signed up for a relationship with this. To her utter credit she just rolled with it and allowed me to have my inner journey, supporting where and when appropriate and encouraging me to dive in deeper.

I took absolutely no medication despite the frantic advice of the specialists and doctors. To some, to many, that was irresponsible. To us it was necessary. I followed nature, I followed intuition, I followed some instinct that said, ‘This will heal, you will heal.’

It was tough, warrior-like tough. I have been on my knees, on the floor. I have given it all up to god, I have surrendered my body for the peace of love and had that prayer answered.
I have embraced the human journey with all its fragility and its temporariness.

And I am not one of the spiritual ‘nondualists’ who want to deny the existence of the body and cast it aside as unimportant. I am not one of those.

I say love the body. Love the life. Find out for yourself what it means for consciousness, for the soul, for the spirit, to be in the form of a temporary vessel that will inevitably perish.

Explore the link between thought, belief and wellbeing and illness.

Don’t be afraid of the body, and don’t be afraid of attending to it. It’s not the enemy of freedom. It’s not the shackle that ties us down. Thought and belief are the shackles that bind us.

I have learned to be free AND live fully in the body while I am here.

I eat well and healthy. I run, yes I run, a lot. I love the freedom and joy of movement. And when I can’t do it any more, I will see if I can love that. When old age arrives, I will see if I can open to it, I will seek to embrace the fear I have of form dissolving.

But I won’t deny the human experience as not ‘spiritual.’ Everything is included.

Thank you for reading!

Illness Triggers Vulnerability – Embrace it

I would like to talk briefly about how fragile we are and how vulnerable that makes us. We don’t have long on planet earth, a few decades if we are lucky, and then we are gone again into the eternal unknown. The majority of people kind of like it here, despite all the terrible things that happen, and all the suffering, the personal and global difficulties and the struggle just to live. We get used to it, we build relationships, we have family, loved ones, and attachments. That’s the nature of life.

And we expect that to last for at least 70 years, and maybe more. That’s not too much to ask, we think.

And then illness may come along and throw that idea under the bus. We might be 30, or 50, or (god forbid) even younger. In truth, in many ways, it doesn’t matter what age we are (except for the very young, and that’s an utter tragedy I can’t address here), it’s always going to be too soon, and it’s always going to mean the arrival of very deep emotions. That is to be fully expected. 

It’s going to herald the arrival of fear, and enormous vulnerability. Some of the depth of feeling will of course depend on the severity of the illness, but in my experience many of these mystery chronic illness’s trigger these fears BECAUSE they are completely unknown.

Illness knocks us sideways, and it catches many completely off guard. There is a totally new reality that arrives, a new context for everything. The truth arrives suddenly, we can call it impermanence. The facts of impermanence affect each one of us, no exceptions, but for those who are hit with illness, or even live in the unknown, this impermanence becomes a new reality. It changes everything. 

For the spouses, partners, relations, children etc, it is very hard. I know this only too well in my relationship. This marriage with Amoda my wife is our entire world. Neither of us have much family, we have no children, and we came to America and gave up whatever little we had in the UK. This is it, and we are in the boat together. To be ill triggers such a vulnerability, even guilt and sorrow. And it hits her very hard, destabilizing plans and possibilities.

But life is like this. Life is sudden and dramatic. It is disappointing and distressing. And it is impermanent. Life doesn’t play by our rules. It is unconcerned with what we want to happen and when. And the stark truth of illness bursts our illusions, sometimes dramatically and usually distressingly. 

The key to making it easier, if there is one, is to know this and to embrace it. In all my years of being ill, and walking the path of transformation, embracing the vulnerability, the let down, the heartache, the fear, anger and pain, the only way I have found is through love’s acceptance. I know that might sound new agey and trite, but when you are sick and suffering, such things begin to mean something real. Sarcasm and cynicism are the stronghold of the defensive ego that lives and dies in the matrix. They don’t make for good companions when the chips are down and we need to get real and intimate. 

Consciously embracing the vulnerability might not change anything, it might not get rid of the fear, or anger, or heal the body, or cure you, but it will open the door to a deeper acceptance of reality. That is the best we can do, and it’s the best gift we can give others. Everyone has to face the same thing. I have not met anyone who hasn’t had dreams shattered or had to face deep disappointment and heartache. It’s in everyone. And everyone will have to meet death.

But the difference between those who turn and face themselves openly and those who turn away in fear or blame, those who become bitter and twisted, is the difference between heaven and hell.

I am one who is bold and brave enough to turn and face the truth, even though it hurts like hell. I am not writing this because I have received some dreadful news, don’t worry. I do have some strange symptoms going on in my gut that I would like resolved and it’s creating a lot of discomfort and uncertainty, and we are in the US which means access to some health care stuff is more difficult (like getting a colonoscopy), but its more that it’s triggered my own sensitivity and vulnerability, and I thought I would share my insights with you.

I hope you are well, and if not I hope this brought you some solace and comfort. Maybe that’s the best we can do for each other.

Much love

Kavi

Sympathy for Suffering

The last few days, in fact in recent weeks, and particularly since we visited Santa Fe which is at 7000 feet, I have been revisiting some old symptoms associated with my ulcerative colitis. It is quite an unpleasant shock I can tell you. There is no blood, which is always pretty scary, but I have had mucus and irregular bowel movement and that feeling in the belly of discomfort and distress. (Sorry for the graphic detail!)

I am not trying to get any sympathy here, this short blog is about something else.

It is about the difference between feeing well and feeling ill.

I spent almost ten long years carrying illness and slow recovery. At times both Amoda (my wife) and I thought I was either going to die, slowly, or else carry sickness around for the rest of my life. It was bad, at times it was utterly demoralizing and I have spent time in despair and depression. I have been to the edge with my body and come back to tell the tale.

And my healing journey worked. It took such a long time, and so much patience and persistence. By the time I did my long water fast I still carried some remnants of scarring and discomfort in my colon, but after the water fast that disappeared. Since then I have had various issues, including a mysterious full body rash that lasted two years, and a borderline hashimotos diagnosis (thyroid malfunction and auto immune problem), but on the whole I have been getting stronger and healthier, to the point where people remark on my vitality and glow.

And every so often something happens and I get dragged back into stuff, and I remember.

I remember how tough it is to be ill. I think it’s real tough when the cause is mysterious and vague, labelled ‘auto immune’ without saying or knowing where it has come from or what to really do with it. Without knowing how to heal and how long it might take, it’s pretty daunting. That’s not to say acute illness is any better. In fact it’s all suffering.

It is tough. And that’s my point here. It is simple. It is very hard to function fully and brightly when there is illness. I am sorry. If it’s you who has something, I am sorry and I wish you great healing, or compassion and empathy, depending on where you are at.

Not everyone heals their body.

But everyone can heal their heart.

I came to the conclusion many years ago, when I was facing ‘the ‘illness for life’ thoughts, that it was more important for me to heal my wounded and broken heart than to be obsessed with healing my body. So I endeavored to do exactly that, and I remember one night I had what now seems like a deeply spiritual experience. Let me tell you.

I went out to the local woods and I lay down, fed up with pain and hardship, and desperate for some relief. I gave myself to the ground and it felt like a fell into a hole (kind of like a grave) and I realized I had reached the end of my tether. I came face to face with my mortality, and thus with God.

I remember saying (Inwardly), ‘God, you can take this body if you wan it, I no longer care and I am sick of holding on to desperation, but please help me heal this wounded heart. Give me some peace and love, and do what you want.’

I was so willing to let go of this body something changed. I actually became aware that life is vast and mysterious, much bigger than the smallness of ‘me and my body’ and how everything that we do, think, feel and experience is held in a love more exquisite and beautiful than anything we can ever imagine. If we could taste that love, what we might call God’s Love, for a moment, we may well not be able to do anything ever again, it may render everything else meaningless.

I have never forgotten this and whenever I slip back into anxiety or fear about illness, or death, or suffering, I remember it. It brings relief and great compassion, both for myself and for others who suffer. I know, through personal experience, that suffering is temporary and is not the truth of who we are.

But it is a challenge. And I feel for those who are ill, those who are at the end, those who are scared and those children who get ill so early in life. I have no explanations but I have an open heart that longs to hold suffering close and help carry it a little when it is too heavy.

Thank you for reading, may you be blessed.

Distortion in your Energy Field

Any distortion in your energy field may result in some illness or other. 

What does this mean?

It means that the river of energy that comprises your life, and all life, is flowing naturally and effortlessly from source into manifestation and back again.

Some elements on this level of reality are anti-life, toxic to nature, and disruptive to that natural flow. When they interfere with the river of (divine) energy they create a distortion in the flow. This can cause any number of problems.
The one we are concerned with here is ill health. Not just physical illness, but all perceived illness, including mental and emotional illness.

So what distorts the flow?

Here is where it gets interesting.

On the physical level things like some viruses and heavy metals, chemicals, wifi frequencies, and of course GMO produced foods. In fact anything that is made by man has been largely created artificially. It may feed us but it’s a (sometimes subtle) energy flow disruptor.

Let’s talk about the mental and emotional level.
Thought has incredible power. More than we imagine. Consider the fact that EVERYTHING that humanity has built, created, destroyed, and manufactured, started as a thought, and was then thought into life. If you don’t imagine that same thought turned inwards against yourself can have the same power, negatively, then you need to reconsider.

Thought can create, and thought can destroy.
It can also severely disrupt the energy flow within your finely tuned system.

Negative thought, toxic thought, grievous thought have an impact, and they distort nature.

Truth, like love, has a natural flow to it. Goodness, positivity, compassion, self love, joy, all these qualities, if they are true, are benign and even beneficial.

But toxic emotions create toxic thoughts. Old, unhealed wounds still exist in the energy field of your body mind system, and they distort the natural flow of energy.

That’s what I mean when I say distortion in your energy field may result in ill health.

We are way more mysterious than we currently understand. There are infinitely more things that affect us than we know, ranging from the gross to the ever subtle.

So many forces shape our lives, our wellbeing and ill health, and we are scraping the surface to understand. We like to think that our science is a long way to understanding the complexities of the human being, and that modern medicine is on the path to solving our health issues, but is that really true?

Chronic illness is out of control. Cancer is out of control. Depression is out of control. There are more people alienated by life now than ever. Something is patently not right. Most medicine doesn’t heal, it hides. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of science and medicine. When it’s used with discretion and wisdom. Sadly most medicine, and most doctors, are lost in the superficial paradigm that has no wisdom or depth in it. 

The greatest thing to know about pharmaceutical medicine is the discretion when to use it, and when NOT to. It is not a magic bullet.

They would laugh at what I write and what I say. But I stand by the truth of my experience. They said I would be on the meds for ever. I never took them once. They said surgery. I have no symptoms at all. What?

I resolved all my inner distortion, old conflicts, toxic thoughts, removed heavy metals, and enabled the natural flow of inner divine energy to flow again in my life and gradually healing happened. I chose not to take pharmaceutical medicine as I believe they are toxic, and you have to pay for the short term gain of symptom suppression. It is not good for the liver that is already burdened by the illness. But I am radical and have alternative beliefs.

It took years, and a life changing spiritual, emotional and mental deep dive into the very nature of my existence. I surrendered everything, battled hard, trusted deeply, hit rock bottom, got up and kept on going, and put one foot in the front of the other. Oh, and I never actually believed I had a disease. 

Go figure.

Heal the distortion.

With great love and (hopefully) inspiration – Kavi

More FREE than the BODY

More FREE than the BODY.

This is an issue that many people who are chronically sick and suffering pain bring to Amoda’s spiritual Satsang meetings seeking an answer that really delivers.
It is a tough question when there is constant pain and endless illness.
‘What do I do?’
‘How do I cope?”
‘I know I am not the body but it hurts so much I never have any peace.’
‘I am scared, angry, anxious.’
‘How do I deal with pain?’

These are some of the questions.

Here is my only insightful response to those questions, and it is my own challenge and endeavor. And it is tough.

TO BE MORE FREE AS CONSCIOUSNESS THAN THE BODY.

If that sounds weird, or impossible, I understand. But its what we are going to be propelled towards at the time of death anyway. At the time of death we are not given an option. We are pushed, dragged, or thrown towards freedom from the body. We can hang on all we like but at some point we must let go of it.
At that point we will realize WE ARE NOT THE BODY.
WE ARE CONSCIOUSNESS.
YOU are consciousness that has a body to live in this relative world. You cannot live here without it.
But it is not who you are.

SO. If it were possible to realize that fundamental truth, that you are not the body, while you are in the body, not theoretically but viscerally, you would be MORE FREE THAN THE BODY.

And as that freedom you would care much less about it.
You would not grasp as it as you might do.
You would not feel as anxious or scared about it.
You would, in fact, allow it to do its thing much more.

In fact your capacity to love yourself would increase dramatically.

It might have an impact on your nervous system and immune system.

But you would have that most sacred quality.

FREEDOM.

What I have just said is tough. It is about enlightenment, true awakening, surrender, humility, grace, and the deepest love.

I hope you understand. This is where I am at.

Chronic Disease and the Magic Bullet Syndrome

This weekend I was asked again about how I healed Ulcerative Colitis by a third party who was trying to ‘help’ someone in their family who was desperate and suffering. I have been asked this question in various forms many times, and been asked for ‘tips and suggestions’ about what to do.

And I have to say there is something about the asking of these questions in this way that frustrates me so much.

Why?

Because it implicitly suggests and hopes that healing a major chronic disease is something that can be done easily without making much change or dramatic transformation, as if there is some secret ‘magic bullet’ that I found that instantly solved the whole thing and allowed me to carry on with my life the same way without changing anything.

I dont mean this implicit suggestion is even conscious on the questioners part, or the sufferers part. It comes more from not knowing and desperately hoping that they won’t have to do THAT much.

Because the simple fact is that people don’t want to change that much. Even when they are ill. It may sound shocking but a lot of people are so stuck in their lives, emotions, habits, thoughts and beliefs, that they would rather endure chronic illness than venture beyond the safety zone of their lives and step into the unknown. The mind and emotions desperately want safety and security of the known. And that is what you have to leave behind if you are going to heal anything.

It is exactly the same journey and challenge on the spiritual path. You cannot reach awakening or enlightenment while your strongest desire is to stay in the realm of the known, which is where it is most comfortable.

Here is where it gets a bit strange. It is called the ‘comfort zone’ but actually I’ve never met anyone inside it who is very comfortable. True comfort is found where comfort zone dissolves and the walls of false protection come crumbling down.
There is no place for what is false in spirituality OR healing.

So to return to my point. When I get asked these questions I have to respond truthfully. This is the kind of thing I say.

Dear ……

The journey of healing for me was an extraordinary undertaking that totally changed my life. I didn’t expect it but it happened because I surrendered to it and gave myself to it 100% without holding anything back. It took at least 10 years of dedication and struggle, self love and warrior-like strength.

It doesn’t have to take that long for everyone BUT it DOES take the same amount of courage and resourcefulness. Chronic illness, by the time it manifests as symptoms, has probably been lurking in the system for many years. It has something to do with many aspects of one’s life, from the physical to the emotional and the mental. Some of those things can be changed, looked at and transformed. There is no magic bullet to this, although there are helpful things. It is a big journey and a profound invitation for those who experience it. It is actually life itself rising up and saying, ‘Something you have been doing, some ways of living, eating, thinking, some emotions you have been carrying, no longer serve you and you need to change them.’

The experiencer can take that message as self blame or self negation, in which case they will suffer more, or they can step up to the challenge and make a big decision that they will meet this with openness, strength, vulnerability, willingness and power.’ With those qualities, with a lot of support, preferably from natural healers, functional doctors, and appropriate therapists, then that person will, step by step, slowly slowly, go on their journey. No one knows where it will lead. That is the mystery.

But I will guarantee you that it will change them, make them deeper and wiser, more self loving, more aware, more powerful, and more knowledgable than any course in pharmaceutical medication could.

And they may heal their chronic illness.

Thats why it’s difficult to offer tips and suggestions.

With great love and kindness.

Kavi’