- December 11, 2013
- Posted by: Sean Fargo
- Category: Blog
There is one consolation in being sick; and that is the possibility that you may recover to a better state than you were ever in before. – Henry David Thoreau
Have you ever been thankful for feeling crummy?
With cell phones, work and social life clamoring for our attention, there never seems to be an opportune time to be bedridden with impetuous sneezes and a skin-chaffed nose.
And yet there are benefits to being sick, like slowing down, calming the mind with slower movements, and remembering what it’s like to prioritize self-care once again. In other words, being sick can help us regain our balance.
The next time you’re sick, I invite you to list some of the benefits you notice. You may be surprised to see how many there are. Reflecting on your list may change your mood and, in turn, your physical health! Here is a recent list that I jotted down:
Noticing the quality of each breath
Having time to read
Speaking with a raspy, sexy voice
Rediscovering the beautiful simplicity of broth
Pretending I can escape entropy
Pretending I know what entropy means
Planning new self-care practices
Drinking more water
Noticing how much it hurts to not be kind to myself
Knowing that my body is doing it’s best
Remembering that I am not in control
Dreaming funkier dreams
Finding more time to meditate
Feeling love from others who wish me well
Distinguishing physical discomfort from unnecessary mental suffering
Appreciating the feeling of health
Imagining the waring battles under my skin between cells of ease and disease
Wondering what I would do differently if I got a ‘6-month to live’ prognosis
Putting life into perspective
Forgiving myself for not being 100%
Cultivating gratitude for being alive in the first place
Such Is Our Nature:
In cases of extreme sickness, facing death with increased acceptance can have a rather remarkable potential for progress on the path to a wise heart. The magic wand that turns death into a moment for high realization is simply letting go of all aspects of experience. Such detachment grows with the realization that, with the inevitable passing away of the body, it becomes meaningless to attach to things related to the body in one way or another, hence it is better to overcome such attachments while one still has a chance to do so; that is, while one is still alive.
All that is needed as the basic incentive for letting go is the realization that death cannot be avoided, that death is an inevitable aspect of life.
“This is not just characteristic of today,
It is not amazing and not even surprising,
Who is born will die,
What is so surprising about this?
From the moment of birth
Death is certain for those who live,
All who are born die right here,
Such is the nature of living beings.” – Theragāthā
Can you think of more benefits to being sick? I’d love to hear what benefits you’ve noticed.