Painting by Shulamit Elson

After we met with Dr. N things settled back into “normal.” If one means by normal that no one is speaking about the big elephant in the room.

I am still pressing for a second opinion, third actually, from another outside facility. Doctors within the same institution tend to think the same way. But I needed to bide my time until the family is ready to deal.

Meanwhile, I am reminded of Samuel Johnson’s remark (18th century)  how the prospect of death “concentrates the mind wonderfully.”

I remember that my own illness pushed me to review my own life and caused me to reflect on how I would like to live going forward.  I was young, so admittedly, there wasn’t much to review….but the questions of how I was living at the time, what I was doing and for what reason, became paramount in my mind. What would I do if I managed to live? What was the meaning of my life?

The  call to review one’s life can occur at any time but it is pretty nearly universal in times of crisis.  Compelling questions arise about relationships,  achievements, happiness,  the path not taken, meaning, etc.

We get angry at ourselves for not measuring up to the standards and goals we have set, and we are angry at others for the hurt they have caused us.

 In my own crisis,  I realized that to go forward, reconciliation was imperative.  But to reconcile requires forgiveness —of the self and others. Forgiveness is hard, particularly self-forgiveness, and it doesn’t get any easier just because you know it is good for you.

The reality is that internal divisions take up space, directing limited bandwidth away from the goal of inner peace and mental and emotional freedom and healing.

Questions arise; how effective have our coping mechanisms been? After years of reviewing our pains and disappointments have we found justice?  Are we securing the life we want? Has our refusal to forgive, our resentment, our vindictiveness, our self-punishment advanced anything? What, if anything, could ever make us whole again?

A turning point comes when we recognize that our defenses are hurting us, keeping us from a fulfilled life. Only then can we be open to finding a path to joy.

The only freeing option is forgiveness.

Without forgiveness we use up precious bandwidth,  and we tie ourselves to our suffering for our own faults and to those who have harmed us.  We are not endless sources of energy. When portions of our psyche are taken up with anger, self-recrimination and resentment, we diminish the energy available for other activities.–such as healing and love and joy and attainment.

But even when we do see the wisdom of forgiveness we don’t always know how to go about it. 

There is, however, a clear path to forgiveness, one that if pursued with discipline and consistency,  allows forgiveness to arise naturally. 

This is the path of Compassion –as a disciplined daily and moment to moment, practice, directed to all beings, including yourself.  The path brings clarity and kindness, allowing you to let go of the old and allow new opportunities in.

  All humans share a potential for gifts and greatness.  But each of us is also flawed, and capable of being blind, foolish, behaving out of ignorance and cruelty.  Once you understand this in your very being, you are freed from limiting judgements and grudges, and can move on with your life.

A by-product of this compassion practice, is forgiveness which arises naturally, without force.

The practice of compassion will change your life, in the moment and in the future, and bring you the integration and joy you seek.

So if you are angry at yourself for getting sick, compassion is a place to begin and end. Accept yourself as a member of the human race, not superior to the stream of life, prone to illness and fragility, but also hopefully resilient enough to heal.

Compassion is an act of will, which can be generated with intention in every interaction you have.  And it can be generated through MediSounds Sound meditation.

As a human being you are not perfect and never will be. Correct wrongs, but let go of the punitive and self-defeating judgements which produce a divided self…..and gain inner peace.

With inner peace you can devote your energies to your healing and to the furtherance of the goal of a meaningful and fulfilled life.