Both the body and emotions are not just healthy but if caught in a temporary tailspin are programmed to return to homeostasis, provided the mind does not interfere. Therefore, asks Suma Varughese, why worry?
It is astonishing how life leads you through a voyage of discovery through the various circumstances and situations it sends into your life. Who would have thought that a series of health challenges that have visited me relentlessly ever since the first week of May, would have helped me discover the key to one of my biggest existential questions: In a world of uncertainty and no guarantees, where was safety?
Being fearful by nature, I found it very hard to come to terms with this truth, despite all my years of working on myself. My immediate reaction to any challenge would be fear, worry and anxiety. The mind would fast forward to a doom-ridden future. Only thereafter would my spiritual training kick in, help me discover the lessons I had to learn, look for possible solutions, and also wait for the silver lining to reveal itself.
Illness particularly, got me into a sweat. I would worry about eating the wrong food (and most food has ended up falling into the wrong category over time), about exposing myself to fans, ACs and open windows, or about eating heaty food or cold-giving food. And should an illness manifest, and it inevitably did, my regret at having brought it on, my worry about what would happen to me were immense.
Since May, therefore, as issue after issue visited me, beginning with an abscess on my left little finger, then a crippling arthritis attack, followed by a urinary infection (UTI), a chest congestion, and a frozen shoulder, not to mention Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), I was reduced to a state of stress and anxiety.
The IBS manifests as an inability to burp, and on the day of my nephew Naveen’s 50th birthday, for which great festivities were in store, it chose to act up. As I tried to burp, I noticed that I was tightening up my stomach. I decided to loosen it instead, and behold, burp after burp smoothly emerged, eventually leaving me with a robust appetite for the delicious biryani.
As tiny as it was, the incident unfolded amazing insights. The first was that the body was absolutely healthy, and it was the mind, with its worry, stress and anxiety, that was coming in the way of the health manifesting. I have had both these insights coming to me at several points of my journey, but this time there was a rock-solid certainty to it. Why was I worrying? Because of my deep fear that my poor eating habits were destroying my health. But the body was not ailing, it was healthy. And even if went through some temporary illness, it relentlessly strove to return to homeostasis. So why worry?
And the same could be said of my emotions. If the mind did not interfere, every negative emotion would eventually return to peace, whether anger, fear, grief or shame. Why then did I have to worry? It was worry that was the problem, never the body’s or emotion’s health. Therefore worry was not just damaging, it was also redundant.
Ironically, I have been even more ill since the realisation, the body converging into a grand climax of fever, cough, cold, chest congestion and UTI. However, the worry, fear and anxiety are considerably less, for I am able to step out of the way of both the body and the emotions. And I have the faith that my turbulent present will surely fructify into a more healthy future. Thathasthu!
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