Meditative, Qigong Healing
Sitting upright, supported by Earth
Warm breath of compassion
Releasing holding patterns of dis-ease
Permanence, a self in control
Clear recognition only gentleness heals
Then standing, feeling the exchange
Of energy between this body
And its surroundings
Invisibly connected to all life
The possibility of universal benevolence
Always a choice despite chaotic patterns
The last week and a half were challenging. From viral gastroenteritis to a cough and cold, from asthma like symptoms to worsening muscle strains, from irritation, impatience, disappointment, and exhaustion, it felt like illness was taking up permanent residence in the body. There was so much self-identification with dis-ease states and the mental formations they invoked. There was also a frantic rush to swat the emergence of each new symptom with a medication as if it were an annoying fly that would never go away. Killing it was the only choice.
Or was it?
As I start to regain some mental clarity and physical strength, it feels important to reflect on what created more suffering, and what eased the suffering. (The word choice of suffering is very personal. If it rubs you the wrong way because you may have a heavier, incurable illness or stress that feels more significant than what I am sharing, feel free to substitute suffering with another word.) Identifying with any symptom, dis-ease or mind state was painful. Trying to overcome it with wholesome mind states like kindness, compassion, even joy was also deceptive, because I wasn’t allowing true feelings like irritation, impatience, and disappointment to throw big tantrums. I wasn’t allowing the fear to be felt, the dark cloud of doubt to be seen and known. The choice to reach for certain medications for relief was wholesome, but there was a subtle aggression against the body for misbehaving and falling apart. The belief in permanence of it all was so strong, that the urge to control the situation felt paramount.
When I chose to feel the cough and compromised breathing with gentle compassion, surrendered to supine meditation posture and gravity, released a known timeline for healing, and reached out to others for loving, healing energy, something changed. There was less identification with an invincible or dysfunctional, in control or chaotic, mindful or mindless, compassionate or critical being. Most days there was a certain percentage of each one.
We live as if everything is black and white, a dualistic mentality that does not allow for shades of gray or degrees of uncertainty. We are healthy or sick, balanced or crazy, paying attention or clueless, kind or vengeful. Is it possible most of us might just live in between the two extremes, always trying to build a reliable house on one side so as not to fall into the abyss between two cliffs of ego?
The need to know, to have things planned and figured out is strong in me. It’s a survival mechanism based on causes and conditions. Now there is recognition, compassion, forgiveness, wisdom to cushion each fall into the abyss of becoming.
The karma of now always offers two choices, suffering and the end of suffering. Robert Frost wrote that two roads diverged in a yellow wood. If you are anything like me, you might see trails in the wood well-trodden in the past from deeply ingrained patterns. There aren’t just two roads, but many paths.
Through meditation, Qigong, wise friends, writing, or whatever your support systems might be, may you feel connected to all life, the possibility of universal benevolence always a choice despite chaotic patterns.