We live in a progressively fragmented world, and this fragmentation affects every aspect of our lives. Even natural medicine is not immune to the tendency to view cancer and other serious illnesses with a narrow focus, addressing only one type of treatment or concentrating on only one aspect of health (for example, diet, exercise, or chemical exposure). I believe this myopic view is the result of living lives that are chronically stressed, composed of frantic time schedules, fast food, and sedentary work. When we simply go through the motions of daily existence, life can begin to feel robotic, mundane, and meaningless. To live fully, we must wake up to the expansiveness and possibilities of this great gift of life. Sometimes, it takes a significant life crisis to awaken us.
I consider myself blessed to work with people who have serious illnesses. For many, the diagnosis of a life-threatening illness brings life into crystalline focus, making clear what is most important. My patients have taught me that having a chronic illness, such as cancer, is an invitation to attend to our true nature. I view this as a deep spiritual calling to life, which is much different than simply trying to hang on and survive. This is the essence of the great spiritual teachings of the world, which encourage us to live, not in the past or the future, but in the present. It is only in the present moment that space (eternity) and time (the material world) come together.
I believe that we are not meant to merely survive, even in the face of significant illness. To live fully, we must reflect on our “being” rather then our “doing.” We must always strive to understand our true nature and allow our doing to become a reflection of our being. We must live being wholly alive in spirit, and it is in this way that we heal on the deepest level of being. All too often, it’s easy to lose ourselves in the distractions of daily work and responsibilities, and to disconnect from our true spiritual center. But we are not meant to merely function, we are meant to involve ourselves fully in life by actively living in accordance with what the soul is seeking.
To discover the soul’s desire, we must pray. Prayer deepens our faith, brings us into harmony with our inner selves and the Universe, and enables us to understand and to put into practice our true nature. Prayer enables us to see God, and if we see God during prayer we will also see God in each other. In this opening of spirit, we are able to fully love one another and ourselves. Everything that is superficial falls away, and we become whole and are healed at the deepest level of our soul.
However, the mystery that surrounds spiritual growth and healing will not occur if we are not open to it. I am certain that I do not want to live in a world of spiritual stagnation, fixed positions, lack of imagination, with little or no creativity, without the expression of art and music, without the pursuit of selfless love. I want to be free to live in the here and now, listening to my inner soul and responding to that voice. A proverb in the book of Psalms tells us, “If today you hear My voice, harden not your hearts.”
This is a reminder that God calls us to be fully who we are, and who we are meant to be. This means living in the here and now. Living in the present moment removes barriers, takes down defenses, creates space and gets “small self” out of the way. The small self prefers the safety of following the norm, which is what others are doing or telling us to do. Although it may feel like a safe way to live, we miss out on the unique opportunity of our lives if we ascribe to anything other than the true calling of our soul.
Our map for wellness is to join together time and space, the thinking rational mind and the spiritual mind that dwells within, and to have our being and our doing be a reflection of each other. Our holy task is to be a light for the world, living heavenly days right here, right now, on Earth. We do this by finding time for silence and stillness, allowing for the healing and enlightening spaciousness that exists between thoughts. This is where and when our soul speaks, and our job is simply to listen.
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