In my college days, I used to body surf off the coast of California. When I interpreted or read the ocean correctly and was at the right place at the right time, I had an exhilarating ride to shore. But if I was out of touch with the ocean's rhythms, I either missed the exciting ride, or else was actually ground into the sand as the wave crashed over me.
It is important to recognize that the ocean did not intentionally hurt me in order to punish me or teach me a lesson. The ocean itself was offering a wonderful opportunity -- any suffering I experienced was simply the natural consequence of my not being attuned to its nature and rhythms.
Being "Out Of Synch" with Spiritual Truth
Understood in this way, any form of disease is ultimately an opportunity — an opportunity to stop thinking and doing those things that are somehow out of synch with my Spiritual truth (my truth as a being of Spirit), and to begin thinking and doing those things that are in synch. A health "crisis" whether a physical, mental, emotional, relationship, or financial crisis in our lives — forces us to reflect on, re-evaluate, and change our current routines and thought patterns.
A health crisis often makes it impossible to hold on to our old routine — in order to experience peace and well-being, we have to make some kind of change. From this perspective, sickness or disease is not necessarily a "breakdown" or a step "backwards," nor is someone who is overtly sick somehow "worse off' or "less Spiritually evolved" than someone who seems completely well.
A health crisis may signal that I have become healthy enough to "evolve" to a deeper level of healing and wholeness — to move "forward" in my journey toward Self-realization. "Getting sick" does not necessarily reflect that you have made some new mistake, nor does the persistence of symptoms reflect a "failure" on your part.
Healing Your Life: Attaining Inner Peace
Some people seem to have developed deep insight and Spiritual Self-realization, without resolving all of their symptoms -- for instance, even though Ram Dass cannot physically do all of the things he could before his stroke, he has evidently healed his life at a very deep level (see his book, Still Here). Even death itself might be one step on an on-going healing journey, rather than the "end" of the journey -- might be the emergence of the next level of wholeness and Spirituality, rather than a "failure" to heal.
For the Spiritual-Holistic perspective, to be "human" means to be in the process of awakening from an illusion of separateness (separate from Spirit, and from the world) to the truth of your Spiritual wholeness. This does not mean you are bad or wrong while you are still lost in illusion as a human being, you are simply in the midst of the process of waking up to your truth.
From this perspective, your disease is not an occasion for guilt or self-judgment, but an opportunity to more fully recognize and express your Spiritual wholeness. You simply are who you are here and now. You did not create yourself, nor did you create the ideas and beliefs of the Separative-Technological thought-system in which you find yourself. There is no blame involved here.
Opportunity to Expand Your Awareness
Spirit will continue to expose the limitations of your understanding, the limitations of your ability to fully experience and express perfect peace, love, and joy. The exposure of these limitations is often manifested in your life as some form of disease -- otherwise, you would have no motivation to expand your awareness or wake up to your truth as a being of Spirit. So it is never a matter of blame. It is always simply a matter of your responsibility -- your ability to respond to the revelation of your current limits by opening your mind and heart to a deeper truth.
For the Spiritual perspective, every health crisis -- every experience of disease in any area of your life -- is an opportunity for you to reclaim your responsibility as a Spiritual being, to reclaim your ability to realize and send forth your truth as a being of Spirit. From this perspective, blame is always an inappropriate response to illness or disease. Blaming, whether blaming myself or someone or something else for my disease, misses the point.
The point is always to wake up starting from here and now, to let go of all blockages to Spiritual awareness, and actively turn your awareness back to your Spiritual truth. For the Spiritual-Holistic view, that is the message and the gift of disease — or more generally, that is the message and the gift of every life experience.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher,
Alight Publications. ©2004. www.alightpublications.com
Lighted Clearings for the Soul: Reclaiming the Joy of Living
by William R. Yoder.
A powerful new paradigm of understanding, which transforms spiritual ideas into the direct living experience of the wholeness and holiness of life. Combining theoretical discussion, practical exercises, and personal anecdotes, the book enables readers to free themselves from the thoughts and beliefs that limit their happiness and their ability to experience and express unconditional love.
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Another book by this Author
The Happy Mind: Seven Principles to Clear Your Head and Lift Your Heart
by William R. Yoder.
About the Author
William Yoder has doctorates in both philosophy and chiropractic. He has taught Eastern and Western philosophy and religion at major universities. His studies personal study with the Option Institute, and with such teachers as Ram Dass, Michael Hatncr, Gail Straub and David Gershon, Wallace Black Elk, David Spangler, Brant Secunda, and Thich Nhat Hanh. He and his wife have taught workshops in both the private and the corporate sectors on the topics of health and healing, human potential, self-actualization, and spirituality.