In an effort to overcome a challenging illness, human beings often undergo intense emotional and physical churning that engenders a massive spiritual shift in their consciousness, says Jamuna Rangachari
s humans born on earth, we are obligated to evolve.
The meshes of earthly life are designed to facilitate evolution through external and internal friction. No matter how much we try to evade this responsibility, we have to fight our demons and ascend to a higher frequency of existence. And until we have done the required inner work, the body remains a repository of all that which is unhealed and unresolved in our life, in the form of chronic aches, pains, and almost incurable diseases.
For the longest time, we were programmed to believe that the human body is destined to fall sick and deteriorate gradually. Therefore, all illness is nothing but a gradual progression in that direction. Physical suffering has to be tolerated as inevitable and borne with a smile.
Yet, as illnesses surmounted, and the human race reeled under it causing many to lose time, relationships, and their cherished dream, the search for perfect health gained momentum, unleashing a slew of spiritual and metaphysical discoveries. The yearning to house a body brimming with health and vitality motivated people to introspect, go on healing journeys, try various alternatives, and change several key elements in their mental and emotional make-up, making the entire process a kind of spiritual practice.
Yet, not every illness is curable; some of them are beyond repair. The caregivers of such patients have to put their lives on hold to accommodate a severely challenged soul among themselves. And this alone has on many occasions caused people to discover qualities hitherto unknown to themselves, such as, patience, compassion, perseverance, humility, sacrifice, and unconditional love. Secondly, illness too, like any other major setback in life, is supposed to help us learn, evolve, and grow.
My own battle with multiple sclerosis became a form of school, a training ground, from where I emerged stronger and empowered. When I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2007, I was devastated. There was no known cure or any guidelines on what someone afflicted with this problem must do to keep herself reasonably healthy. During those days of intense turmoil, I serendipitously came across the book, Tough Times Never Last but Tough People Do, by Dr Robert Schuller. The book talks about people who courageously withstood and overcame mammoth challenges that came their way. It speaks about building a positive self-image, no matter what the problem, and creating a positive world for yourself. It motivated me to read positive stories, and take inspiration from people who remained cheerful and upbeat in the worst challenges of their life. Around the same time, the then editor of Life Positive, Suma Varughese, wrote an article called Karma and Grace in the magazine, which injected me with a fresh dose of hope. The article beautifully highlighted the fact that when faced with a challenge, one also gets the requisite strength to handle it. She elucidated that the difference between the karma we earn and what is actually visited upon us is huge, and that divine justice goes hand in hand with divine grace. This further inspired me to face my challenge with fortitude.
I then started exploring all kinds of alternative therapies to heal myself. I also decided to focus on the positive in life and being grateful for all that I had. After experimenting with several modalities, I finally stumbled upon acupressure which healed me completely. Gradually, I shifted to focussing on my emotions, to heal any underlying psychosomatic issues that could possibly have triggered the problem. Today, I am certain that it was my keenness to work on my emotions and develop a positive attitude that resulted in my overall healing.
I have observed that overcoming any stubborn illness is a form of sadhana. Whether it manifests as several days in bed with the flu, or years of struggle with a chronic illness, getting sick has a wonderful way of stopping us in our tracks, forcing us into new priorities, and redirecting our lives. The harder the struggle to get well, the greater the dividends in terms of finding one’s core strengths and discovering hidden abilities.
Leena Haider, a businesswoman and Heal Your Life practitioner from Mumbai, was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 44. She says, “The breast cancer diagnosis transformed my life. Of course, I went through the initial shock and trauma, but once I came to terms with it, I realised that it was just my body telling me to change my thinking. Till then, I always put myself and my needs on the back burner. This was my body’s way of asking me to stop doing that.” She came up with an action plan that put all her learnings as a healer to the test.
“I started affirming that all the resources required for my healing would come to me. I used a lot of affirmations, prayers, essential oils, Bach flower remedies, Reiki, EFT, and other modalities to help myself. In the process, I became more authentic, learnt to nurture myself, and had the courage to speak my truth. Today, in hindsight, I realise that I wouldn’t have taken so many bold decisions and lived life as per my choice if I hadn’t had this diagnosis.” She concludes, “I believe that everything happens for a reason. Deep down, I know that I went through this experience so that I could help many women with the same condition live happily.”
Since she worked on removing her illness with commitment and dedication, it became a kind of sadhana for her. And like any sadhana done with determination and sincerity, it fructified into her growth and empowerment as an individual.
Illness unleashing a career
Once we realise that everything in life, including illness, can be converted into a lesson, we never stop learning and growing. We need to know that for every problem there is a solution. While many give up in the face of unbearable illnesses, there are others who discover their indomitable spirit and never-say-die attitude while fighting their ailments. So many people would not be where they are today, had crippling illness not forced them to extract every ounce of courage and faith present in them to make something out of their lives. The illness became a laboratory where they constantly experimented with their mind and life to find a way to victory.
Sai Padma, a 44-year-old from Visakhapatnam, was born healthy but got afflicted with polio at the age of one and a half months. The attack crippled her voice and movement of limbs. Her parents, both of whom were doctors, did their best to restore some kind of normalcy to her. After receiving several shock treatments—the only treatment available then—her voice and upper limbs became active but movement in her legs could not be restored.
Sai Padma decided to use the faculty of her restored voice to her advantage and completed a diploma course in classical music, along with finishing her graduation in commerce and a diploma in computers. She then wanted to study chartered accountancy, but sadly, all the institutes she approached, politely declined to admit her, saying that they cannot accommodate her. Finally, one institute accepted her after much persuasion. Once admitted, she poured her heart and soul into mastering the subjects. But then, there was another challenge waiting for her. “Life twisted again after I finished my CA internship. I would come down with severe fatigue, pain, and constant fevers,” she says. She was diagnosed with a condition called gross scoliosis for which she had to undergo surgery but recovered well through sheer grit. Currently, she is pursuing her MBA (finance) so that she can help finance various disability related sectors and make women more economically independent.
A similar experience took place with Amarjit Singh Narula, 53, an ex-civil engineer and a resident of Mumbai, who suffered from ulcerative colitis for 13 years from 1986 to 1999. Since allopathy did not (and still does not) have a solution for this problem, he explored many alternative therapies and healed himself through them. He is now an alternative therapist himself who combines acupressure, colour therapy, and nutrition. He even published a book and is a television show host on Aastha channel since 2005. Recounting his journey, he says, “I have learnt that nothing is forever, not even sickness. If we accept our illness and not curse it, we shall indeed be given a solution.” He learnt to forgive everyone and also became very caring as an individual. He is clear now that he has found the purpose of his life as a healer.
Life always challenges us in one way or the other. But the fact is that every challenge makes us better and stronger.
Kallolina Potra, an alternative healer from Delhi had helped many people heal through the use of acupressure, magnet therapy, and mudras. But recently, she herself came down with a health challenge. She got a fever, suffered from severe pain, and had to depend on her husband for everything. She was later diagnosed with suffering from chikungunya fever. Once the cause of the disease was discovered, she started the onerous task of healing herself through the techniques she applied on others. She placed the magnets, pressed the relevant acupressure points, did mudra therapy, and within a few days, was back on her feet. Now that she has recovered, she is even more confident about her own healing prowess. With the experienc
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