In this winter season we are often surrounded by others who are suffering from colds or the flu. Although we do our best to wash our hands and limit contact with those who are sick, we may also become ill.
In Mind Body Intelligence we learn that pushing away difficult experiences causes us greater suffering. What might it mean to be open to the experience of being sick, and how would that help?
The first leg of the journey toward compassionate healing begins with acceptance of the body. We tend to be very critical of our bodies, especially when they do not meet some standard of beauty; cause us embarrassment; or require us to make accomodations by staying home from work or a fun social event. When we are well, we sometimes forget that getting sick is part of the nature of our bodies in this life. We can become hard and critical, or impatient.
Most people are not aware that our critical internal voice, known as the Critical Witness in MBI, is often a response to anxiety or fear. We can think of the Critical Witness as the voice of a frightened young parent. Being critical is the parent’s (unskilled) way of getting the child to behave differently. A more mature parent knows that criticism isn’t helpful. They are capable of comforting the sick child and nursing them back to health. A mature parent can assess the situation calmly and determine the proper home remedy, if medical help is needed, or both.
We can choose to engage this more mature and loving part of ourselves, to come and attend the sick child. A good parent wants to know all about what is bothering the child. What is wrong, honey? Do you have a fever? Where does it hurt?
We open to our experience and breathe in to the symptoms.
“Breathing in I am aware that my throat is sore. Breathing out I send re-assurance to the suffering part of me.”
“Breathing in I am aware of being frightened by my illness. Breathing out I send compassion and reassurance to the frightened part of me.”
When this wise and compassionate part of ourselves is invited to appear, we can begin to relax into taking good care of our bodies. Energy that might have been spent in irritation or annoyance with the inconvenience or pain of illness, becomes the energy to make a cup of tea, get into bed or make an appointment to see a physician. You might ask for some tenderness from those around you. You might have the experience of being held and loved in your own internal world.
May this information benefit you, those you love, and all sentient beings, everywhere.
© Ellen M. Adelman PhD 2013. All rights reserved.
Mind Body Intelligence tm is a trademark of Ellen M. Adelman PhD
and the Sage Healing Institute.
For more information visit www.sagehealinginstitute.com.