Using Mindfulness to Not Agonize Over a Bad Diagnosis, by Dr. Manijeh Motaghy
With So Many Illnesses, Life is A Constant Practice!
How Not to Agonize Over Bad Diagnoses.
So much of this life we live is clear, obvious and so much of it is a mystery. Everyday we hear about all these bad diagnoses. I can talk about how the science and medical field have evolved and grown and yet, still ailments are on the rise. Talk about the causes of the bad diagnoses and point to different statistics. I prefer however, to leave that to other experts and stick with what I’m good at. To point your attention to your own mind and the causes of discomfort in the inner world of your experience.
With Mindfulness this agony can come to an end.
Our bodies were built to fall apart and each of ours will eventually do so in different ways. The hard truth is that this will happen even when we change our life styles, eat healthier and exercise. (Please do pay attention to these things.) Know that it is not the body that experiences difficulty or pain. It is the mind that agonizes over physical pain and unpleasant diagnosis. With Mindfulness this agony can come to an end. It’s important to reflect that at the end, there is aging, sickness and death for all who are alive. There is no escaping it for any of us, unless of course we become enlightened.
During my recent 10 day silent retreat
in England with Ajahn Amaro, I had an insight into birth and death. While in that attentive, focused and serene state of mind I realized that there really was no birth and essentially no death. I realized that the beginning of my life was not the day I came out of my mother’s womb. Before that was an embryo, before that eggs and sperms, those eggs and sperms were a part of someone else’s bodies and went back to their parents and grand parents and all the way to the beginning of life, whenever that was. I never not-existed. My birthday dates back to when life began. Likewise, it wouldn’t be possible that such an immense enduring power of existence would go out of existence simply when the energy of life is separated from what I call, my body. There also exists the essence, the intention, the energy of all my thoughts and actions. I realized, they will live on along side all other beings’ essence, intention and energy of life that have continued to live on. This insight had an immense impact on my state of grief for my son. My grief just dissolved.
that my son’s life didn’t start with me, nor is he done existing. I reflected, that thankfully, I was a wonderful mother to bring him to this practice before this life cycle of his ended. My heart has ever since been delightful instead of painful. Furthermore, I began to reflect on my own mother’s role in my life. How, the essence, intentions, energy of life, thoughts and actions of my past lives needed a body to manifest themselves in the here and now and how she offered a home and welcomed my essence, intentions and energy of life. My gratitude for her has increased to no end. There is nothing I can do for her to repay this debt. In fact, I am eternally grateful for all mothers and fathers who have housed my essence and intentions, giving me a chance to continue developing and growing, evolving and moving closer to the ultimate freedom.
So, with a boundless heart of compassion,
I urge all of you to be with this process of declining health, whether it’s yours or someone else’s declining health that you know or and or love. Know that it is not the body that experiences difficulty or pain. It is the mind that agonizes over physical pain and unpleasant diagnosis. We could observe this agony and cool the mind by breathing, shifting attention to senses in the present moment. Notice where you are, what or who is around you. Realize that in the moment there is nothing wrong. Nothing threatening. Just some floating thoughts of fear and worry. They are just thoughts and nothing more. Feel your body and give rise to a sense of gratitude for the body that has served you so well for so long. Reflect, that as long as you have a body, there will be pain and discomfort. Don’t let your mind become bewildered as if this just happening to you and it is not supposed to. The more you resist, the more you will induce pain and suffering on to yourself. Wisely reflect on the impermanence of all things.
Impermanence does not mean the end of anything!
It means shifting, changing, moving and inconstancy. It is not against anything or anyone. It’s just the way of this world. Let your life be a constant practice. Take deep generous breaths and brighten the mind with thoughts of gratitude for all that has been offered to you by this ever moving, shifting, changing inconstant universe. Open your mind to every little thing around you and let joy penetrate your heart.
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