Since I got sick in 2012 and got worse in 2013, which led me to the Buddhist practice, I have also been learning a whole lot about how dis-ease creeps up into our minds and bodies. It’s becoming more mainstream than ever with the widespread nature of chronic illnesses people have to live with.
As my fabulously kind doctor says, modern (western) medicine is great at helping in crises but it has no idea what to do with chronic illness where the body has forgotten how to be healthy and how to restore health. It is taking a step-by-step approach of trying to pull up anchors into a boat so it can maybe start sailing again. It is very hit-and-miss and he relies on his extensive experience of working with such health conditions.
My therapist from 2008 first introduced me to this idea that illness and healing both come from within us. Popping a pill to fix a symptom often disrupts our being’s way of healing itself. However, I’ve learnt through the years that this is only a part of the story. For example – for someone like me who underwent major trauma and emotional neglect in my childhood, my body, being and conscious never learnt the mechanisms to be well. Not popping a pill does not magically restore me back to health, because my “being” did not necessarily internalise the default state of “good health” or “natural state”.
Sidenote: Further reading on how trauma disrupts this process can be found in this superb book – The Body Keeps the Score: Mind, Brain and Body in the Transformation of Trauma.
Today, my unwell stomach prompted me to reopen this classic book about healing – You Can Heal Your Life. It has a long list of symptoms at the end and how a certain thought pattern tends to be behind a health condition or symptom. I often find it as a handy reference to remind myself where I am stuck and perhaps let go of that pattern. I can’t say that I have been able to release a great deal of them using the method but it certainly helps improve my self-awareness.
As I was skimming through it today, I came up at a section which said this, (copyright belongs to the author and publisher, see more in the book):
I was not aware that all good begins with accepting that which is within one’s self, and loving that self which is you.
Later I learned to love and approve all of me, even those qualities I thought were “not good enough”. That was when I really began to make progress.
I have given this exercise to hundreds of people and the results are phenomenal. For the next month, say over and over to yourself, “I APPROVE OF MYSELF”. Do this three or four hundred times a day, at least.
Saying “I approve of myself” is a guaranteed way to bring up everything buried in your consciousness that is in opposition.
When negative thoughts come up, such as, “How can I approve of myself when I am fat?” or “It’s silly to think this can do any good,” or “I am no good,” or whatever your negative babble will be, this is the time to take mental control. Give these thoughts no importance. Just see them for what they are – another way to keep you stuck in the past.
Gently say to these thoughts, “I let go of you; I approve of myself.”
Does this sound familiar in context of the Buddhist practice? Saying over and over – I approve of myself is similar to chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo where you are reiteraing – I am a Buddha. When you do this with determination, it brings up negativity a.k.a. devilish functions and fundamental darkness. And then you strive to rise above it and again reiterate – I am a Buddha, it doesn’t matter what I look like, where I work yada yada yada, I am still a Buddha.
And then Louise Hay goes on to write (bless her soul):
Even considering doing this exercise can bring up a lot of stuff, like “It feels silly,” “It doesn’t feel true,” “It’s a lie,”… etc.
Let all these thoughts just pass through. These are only resistance thoughts. They have no power over you unless you choose to believe them.
This is similar to my Buddhist practice’s teaching of when you try to move your life in a positive direction, you will be met with resistance. In the face of this resistance and obstacles, persevere. Continue to chant Nam Myoho Renge Kyo, continue to believe and have faith in your life’s greatest potential and your own Buddha nature.
And in this way, Nam Myoho Renge Kyo clears your consciousness and you sow the seeds of good health and happiness. When you first start to see evidence of it working, believe in it.
And if you’re reading this blog and skeptical about the Buddhist teachings, that’s ok. Go read this book by Louise Hay, it sheds a lot of light on how it works, just with a different, more powerful method. Modernised version of Buddhism, if I may say so.
As she says:
One of the great things is that we do not have to know how. All we need is to be willing. The Universal Intelligence or your subconscious mind will figure out the hows.
In Buddhist parlance – Your Buddha Nature/Greatest Potential is the Universal Intelligence, apply the strategy of the Lotus Sutra.
Every thought you think and every word you speak is being responded to, and the point of the power is in the moment. The thoughts you are thinking and the words you are declaring at this moment are creating your future.”
This describes three thousand realms in a single moment.
What this means for me:
It relieves a lot of my anxiety about not knowing what the right thing to do is. I have strong determination to really cherish my own life and appreciate and love myself. I will continue to chant whatever I can and let go of doubt and really believe in a lofty future I can create for myself through my practice.
I can let go of wanting to do affirmations, instead, when I chant, in addition to thinking Nam Myoho Renge Kyo – I am a Buddha, I will also tell myself – I approve of myself.