The Benefits of Being Sick
This week’s topic follows on the very first Monday morning missive, and to take things a step further. Not only is it normal to be sick, but, in fact, there is benefit to being sick. I know this notion sounds crazy and you might think that reasonably I would limit this idea to sicknesses that most often are resolved without intervention, but, actually, I mean this with regard to all sickness, short-term, long-term, acute and chronic, flagrant or subtle. You could say that common to all sickness is the pain; the physical discomfort, the emotional discomfort and the spiritual discomfort. All conspire to make being sick painful.
So, yes, I do mean all sickness. And I mean to point at the benefits of feeling pain. I’m not talking about suffering here. I’m talking about pain. Suffering is what happens when we won’t or don’t feel our own pain. Pain is what happens when something needs to change. It could be a big change, a small change, a simple change or a complicated one, but when we are experiencing pain, there is a call for change. Then the question becomes will it be a forced change or a change by choice. Will we endure the reality of what happens when we ignore the call or will we choose to change course before things get to painful? And what happens when the changes come so fast and furious that we can’t keep up?
Well, we get sick. That is what happens when change is happening faster than we can choose. How do we regain our power of choice? How do we catch up with change? We slow down or we speed up. When we slow down, we can tune in, find out more about what is asking for change and find our way to the next moment for change. When we speed up, try to get ahead of things, often we find that we are choosing without knowing, trial and error choices. Better than no choices, those made on the fly, but still chances are not always good that we will find the right rhythm in that speed. Speed requires a kind of ballast, a kind of balance that we might not have sometimes. On the other hand, slowing down, i.e. BEING sick, actually affords us a view, we can’t get otherwise. We can begin to appreciate ourselves, our bodies and our world, as we get slow enough to see what the choices are. It may not be glamorous, it may not be obvious, but the slow way is a treasure trove of insight waiting for you.
There are lots of ways to slow down. What is your favorite?