The Healing Power of Being Sick
Like pretty much everyone I know in my home town of Bisbee, Arizona, recently I, too, had the opportunity recently of spending a few days in bed coughing, blowing my nose, nursing a persistent headache, and just feeling miserable and sorry for myself. This is not a common experience for me. I don't get sick very often. This winter, it got me twice. And it got me to think that perhaps, as is the case with so many things we live through, the physical experience has its mirror effect on the mental and spiritual planes, or vice versa.
I have a number of friends who are professionals in the world of alternative medicine, others who work in the health food business, and some who specialize in herbal treatments, homeopathy, Kinesiology and so forth. Whenever I am sick, I have but to make a phone call or two, and herbal remedies in the form of healing teas, capsules containing exotic roots and plants, and complicated potions that I have no clue what they contain, clutter my bedside table before I can say "porridge." I know very little about alternative medicine, but I trust my friends, so I go with the flow and swallow and rub and do as I am told.
By the same token, I avoid the commonly used pharmaceuticals like the plague. In my experience they either just prolong the illness or replace their symptoms with other, equally unpleasant ones. I am only talking about things like the common cold or basic flu. When it comes to more serious illnesses I listen to my medical doctor and follow his orders and take his prescriptions because, in my mind, herbs and potions are like finely tuned instruments while antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals prescribed for the more serious illnesses are like sledgehammers. And sometimes, we need a sledgehammer to get the job done.
Okay, enough about my opinions regarding conventional and alternative medicine, and back to the perception that perhaps a temporary illness (like a heavy case of the common cold that puts you in bed with nothing but your misery to keep you company) can have a healing effect on your mental and/or spiritual status. Because if it's true, as my friends in the alternative medical field tell me, that a cold like that is a form of cleansing, I have to admit that laying in bed and staring at the ceiling for a few days offers its own form of cleansing. And healing.
Here is what I learned in the week I just spent, mostly, in bed.
When you are in a position where your body is parallel with the earth, and facing up, your field of vision does not contain a horizon. Obviously, you have to ignore the ceiling and other obstructions. Just imagine yourself under the open sky, instead of in your bedroom.
I know, this is not exactly a great revelation or a particularly clever observation. However, it did make me dwell on the whole concept of a view with a horizon versus one without. After all, life is very much like that. When you look up, there is no horizon and you are at the center of everything. We are now just talking symbolism, of course. But sometimes, that can bring us somewhere exciting and inspiring.
Consider this simple little truth. When you are standing outside, let's say in the desert, and you look straight up, your field of vision not only has no boundaries in the form of a horizon, it also places you in the center of it all.
I remember seeing a really cool animation many years ago. It was like a flying camera lens that starts with a view of the cosmos, way out there, past our Milky Way. It very quickly zooms closer and closer, speeding through the Milky Way, flashing past stars and asteroids, past the Sun and the Moon, focusing on the earth until it fills the screen. The view keeps getting closer until you see a landmass, than a lake, than a man in a boat in the lake, than the view goes through the man's cornea into his body closing in on organs, blood stream, then molecules and finally particles until it offers a view remarkably like the start of the animation, showing that the world of particles is much like the world of galaxies. The infinitely large and the infinitely small.
Here is what it all boils down to.
This creation may be finite, but its source is not. The source from which we come is not finite. It always has been and always will be. Even if you, as a human being are very much finite. So consider this: in a space of infinite dimensions, every point is the absolute center.
This is an undeniable truth. If a space is infinite, it has no boundaries. If it has no boundaries, you can pick a point anywhere within that space and it will be at its precise center, because the surrounding space will always be infinitely large in all directions. This is one of the many things Numerology, in its roundabout way, taught me, and the reason I love this strange science.
Consider also that you, as a human being taking up a temporary space and a limited time slot within an infinite and timeless space, are therefore also by definition, the absolute center of all of creation. Not just from a perspective of space, but also of time.
I am not making these claims in order to boost your ego or my own. I am simply throwing this out in case you ever doubt the importance and value of your existence. Because the reason for your being here, right now, has its source in something infinite and timeless, and unimaginably beautiful.
Which is why, when you look up into the night sky, you get this powerful sense of being very, very small. And yet, at the same time, you should recognize that you are also very large. Incalculably large, in fact. Out-of-this-world humongous. Truly and utterly gigantic. And the more so because you have been given the opportunity to know yourself as such.
Right, I am going back to bed. Obviously, some of the herbs and potions my friends gave me are playing tricks on me.
Or are they?