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!

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.

Don’t Let Your Diagnosis Define You – Untether Your Mind

I have listened to many people talk about their health condition, diagnosis, or injury. I have met a lot of people who have healed, many who have defied their diagnosis to do so. And I have met many who have believed their diagnosis and somehow resigned themselves to it, and it has become their reality.

And what I have learned is this:

The mind is VERY POWERFUL, more powerful than we generally believe. It has a power beyond the accepted paradigm, and can be a phenomenal assistant in healing the physical body.

And belief itself, when fully activated, can unleash the mind’s potential to change reality.

Now, at this early stage of the discussion I want to say one thing: There are no guarantees in this life. You may have a disease and do everything in your power, follow all the best diets, harness your mind, live in total peace and love, and still you may not recover. Or the opposite.

There are no guarantees, because life, death, and everything in between, is shrouded in mystery, and we don’t really understand it at all.

But to blindly accept what comes towards you as ‘the truth,’ or fact, when it comes to your illness, or your life, can imprison you and deny you great opportunities.

Here is a case in point from my life. Some of you may have heard me speak of this incident before. It was when I was diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease in 2005 through tests, and I had an appointment with a chief consultant in the University College Hospital in London to go through it. I had no idea what to expect. 

The consultant was absolutely 100% certain and utterly convincing in his approach to me. He told me I had this ‘major disease’ and I was going to have it for life, I would be on medication for life starting on steroids to ‘get it under control,’ and if nothing else worked I would have to have my bowel (or some of it) removed. He delivered this message as though it was standard procedure and nothing out of the ordinary.

I was bewildered and shocked.

And then I woke up and decided to ask questions about what alternatives I had. “None,” came the reply.

I argued for Ayurveda and Chinese medicine. He laughed both off as useless and even dangerous. He said it had nothing to do with diet. They had no idea what caused it. He was amused by my questions and desire for alternatives, and it was easy to see he was totally convinced he was in the right. He would be, he was a consultant with years of practice who had seen this condition time and time again.

But I had one trick up my sleeve. He had never seen ME before. He had never met anyone quite like me. Even he admitted that. I was alert, aware, inquisitive, and I simply wouldn’t accept ‘as truth’ what he said.

I decided that the only thing I could do was sign myself out of their care and ‘go it alone.’ He thought I was utterly mad and wrong, even irresponsible, but he couldn’t stop me. I remember his withering look that said,

“You will be back.”

I NEVER RETURNED.

I NEVER TOOK ANY MEDICATION.

I NEVER HAD ANY SURGERY.

AFTER A LONG JOURNEY HEALING I NO LONGER HAVE ANY SYMPTOMS AT ALL, FOR YEARS.

Let’s face it, its gone. Healed.

If you do your research, you will find that my story is common. I am not unique. So what is this all about?

I just didn’t believe what he said. But I didn’t just dismiss him and do nothing. I listened to him, I took it all very seriously, and then I chose to take other action. I will not have someone define my reality, not when it comes to something as mysterious as my health. Science is a reliable tool for measuring and testing but it doesn’t define reality. There are too many anomalies when it comes to the body: Miracle healing. Placebo effect. Nocebo effect. Spontaneous healing.
All these things actually happen, and as long as they happen, it means they CAN happen. And as long as they CAN happen we must allow for the possibility.

BUT I return to what I said earlier:

The mind is VERY POWERFUL, more powerful than we generally believe. It has a power beyond the accepted paradigm, and can be a phenomenal assistant in healing the physical body.

And belief itself, when fully activated, can unleash the mind’s potential to change reality.

If you are going to follow your own path, if you really want to harness the power of the mind, you have to work hard, you have to get into your mind’s weaknesses and doubts, the self sabotaging, the erroneous beliefs.

You can’t just dismiss the beliefs of the current arraign with looking for something deeper, wiser or more intelligent to replace them with.

That is where the true journey takes place. That is the spiritual journey. But first you must untether.

I hope this speaks to you. I would love to hear from you about your experience. Comment below and tell me whats going on!

Love 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.

What Happens If You Turn Your Back On The Conventional Medicine Paradigm

I talk with many people along the path, and when they discover my journey with chronic illness and what I have done to heal it, almost everyone becomes intrigued and can relate to it.

In the circles I move in, which are mostly the spiritual circles, the holistic circles and the ‘evolutionary movement’ circles, everyone without fail is frustrated and feels let down by the conventional medical model. Everyone sees through its efficacy and ability to be truly holistic. And everyone without fail is experimenting with alternatives, exploring what healing actually means, and stepping outside the conventional matrix in their search.

That makes things pretty exciting, but also pretty scary. Because in so many ways THERE IS NO MAP.

And I have to say there is more of a map than there used to be. And here is the most important point to understand on the healing path.

The map only shows the way. Like all journeys, it is the DOING of it, the STEP BY STEP actuality of it, that changes anything.

That is a totally different mindset from conventional medicine. This mainstream approach does not involve you, does not demand any participation from you other than taking the meds or turning up for the operation. Please remember I am not talking about acute emergency treatments here, but mainly lifestyle caused chronic conditions.

But many folks are very scared of taking the unknown ‘path less trodden.’ And from what I see many are stuck between a rock and a hard place. They are caught between the mainstream medical model and the alternative ‘find your own path’ model. And so they don’t embrace either one.

To those people I say, ‘Don’t sit on the fence. Commit to one way or another. Or find your balance between the two. But find your own heart, find your own authentic path, find your power somehow. That will be the defining ingredient in your actions.’

The key is to finding your own inner authority, intuition and intelligence.

My ‘healing’ was about reaching a state of inner harmony and wisdom in which I learned to accept the things I could not change and change the things I could.

Wellbeing is about adaptability and flexibility. Too often we are reading that wellbeing is only achieved through rigorous training, exact exercises and punitive diet. That is not wellbeing. Thats self punishment.

Sure it all has its place, and discipline is a vital component in self mastery. But the key is inner wisdom and ‘warrior-like’ poise. Self knowledge and knowledge of the natural law is key to everything.

And the ultimate healing principles are found, not in the body, or even in the emotions, but in the inner sanctum of the heart and soul. The ultimate healing is that of making peace with everything within and without.

If you can resolve everything into love’s deepest acceptance, come what may, then you are ‘home’ and it will not matter what happens. It is not easy, and it is a path that unfolds, but it is a practice that brings depth and conscious awareness to your life.

And from that divine place you can work in a relaxed and forgiving way with your own body, loving it back to health, or letting go of it as we all must ultimately do.

Be well.

The Body Is Always Pointing To Love

I have this statement on my website:

The Body Is Always Pointing To Love

What does it mean and isn’t it a bit woohoo and weird?
And how can the body and love be connected?
And what happens if the body gets sick and dies?

Good questions!

What I am suggesting is that the body is a reflection of consciousness and personality. It stores all the stories we have had, all the dramas of our life, and all the things we could not process during our childhood, youth or adulthood.

And that includes all the times we moved away from love’s innocence because we were afraid.

Your body is the reason you are here in this world. If you didn’t have a body you wouldn’t be here. As consciousness you owe a lot to the body you have. It is probably the greatest miracle of high tech, biological, electrical engineering we could imagine. It is extraordinary in the extreme, but to reduce it to its chemical or biological, or even electrical components is something of an insult, because it is so much more than that.

The Indians first came up with the awareness of inner energy vortices inside the body that vibrate at different frequencies and have different purposes. They called them chakras. Chinese medicine has studied and used the inner energy system of the body for its acupuncture work for centuries, and so its not new information to be aware that the body has deep intelligence that we don’t really fully understand.

BUT…you are not the body. Well, in truth, you ARE the body and your are NOT the body. Ultimately you are consciousness. But while you are here in form you are intimately connected to your body. 

And therein lies the word intimately. You as consciousness are intimately connected to your own body. But the body itself will perish and die. It will develop issues, get old, wear out. It will carry scars and wounds and let you down, and finally dissolve into the dust from which it came. Your body teaches you about who you really are. 

And since who you really are is consciousness, which is unconditional love, it is fair to say that the body is always pointing you to love.

I would actually go one step further and say that life itself as we experience it, all experience and everything that manifests, is pointing us to love, the love that is our unconditional nature.

But we miss that because we are so full of our stories and our hurts and wounds and fears and resentments and grievances. We miss the best bit of being human. And what is that best bit?

The best bit is forgetting we are love itself and getting lost in the dream and the drama, and then waking up again and finding our way home and remembering our true nature. 

That is the best bit. It’s worth all the effort of being lost.

But finding your way home to this exalted, yet utterly natural, state, can be tricky. It takes persistence, great humility, and warrior-like guts. And sometimes a guide to point the right direction.

I like to think I am one of those guides, a pointer in that direction.

My website: www.kavijezziehockaday.com