Learning to handle the Fear of Disease and Death?
As a child, I remember asking my mother, how long can be live in this apartment? Is this our permanent house? She said, 'Yes, We can live here till me and your father, retire'.
I asked, 'Where do we go after that?'
She did not have an instant answer.
Then she told that we have to vacate. 'But it would be after a long time, maybe 25-30 years." That was beyond my comprehension. I thought let me live now. Why think about that now?
As a child, it is very difficult then to even imagine that I have to leave the home I loved. The garden. The playground. As I grew older though I played, with the happy and sad moments, that this is not permanent has been running in the background. The school and college life was unconscious preparations to live elsewhere: To learn to live without depending on the government quarters. It has been 30 years since left my hometown now. Revisiting my native brings back old memories yet I am convinced that I am happier now than if I had stayed there with my childhood needs of staying in the same quarters. Second, the reality is also that I cannot stay there as I am not an employee of the central government now.
Once I heard a businessman say, I plan for what I need to be after twenty years and work for that now.
As a child one has been told to prepare for twenty years to live a life that is reasonably happy and settled.
As an adult, you plan for retired life with financial and health goals. They are important.
The ultimate reality of life also needs to be planned for. That cannot be planned with intellectual deliberation, discussion, and self-reflection alone. For none of this works. In fact the more one thinks and says I know it, I am aware of it - the more he or she does not know.
Living life as though one will never die may force one to die as though he or she has never lived..
Regular practice of yoga opens up dimensions within oneself which would be beyond comprehension. A systematic guided practice that includes all aspects of Yoga - Hatha Yoga, Pranayama, Mantra Yoga, Meditation. 60 minutes every day. Regular Practice that will help your professional goals, personal goals, and spiritual goal.
I know that I will die, anyways. Let me live till then.
The above could be a statement that is used to suppress the fear that keeps surfacing, while the psychological turmoil of anxiety, fear, depression, anger, rage - rages. The symptoms of this dominating life are shown as lifestyle diseases - Diabetes, Hypertension, Hormonal Dysfunction, Gastritis. We seem to have the medical answer to manage these symptoms, yet most know that these are attempts to put down a raging fire with buckets of water. Today we have designer buckets yet the fire never seems to end. It shows up from one disease to the other.
Lifestyle diseases like diabetes, hypertension, hormonal challenges, etc are key indicators to show that the way you are handling your mind, body, and energy is not right and that they are moving beyond your control. Trying to negotiate with the body with only doctor visits, pills, and surgeries without preparing for the ultimate reality of death is like trying to plead with, negotiate or manipulate or threaten the owner of the house from evacuating you from your rented home. It may not succeed.
Doing what the majority does, complying with the prescriptions may not be the only discipline that helps in the spiritual realm. Like a good school child who gets the first rank sitting on the first bench, lauded with medals and certificates; who gets utterly confused when exposed to the reality of the society; societal constructs may help to are to live comfortably without disturbing the other. They could be important. But these norms and discipline may not be sufficient to clear the ultimate test of life and death. For that is a formless-timeless space.
Lifestyle diseases, psychological challenges can be a wake-up call
Psychological challenges like anxiety, depression, etc are indicators that fear inside is growing.
To learn to live in sync with the mind-body-energy aligned is the ultimate learning of life. Any other learning would be rendered useless Unless one learns this. Any other knowledge, any other achievement however big or small, would be rendered waste if this is not gained and achieved.
The Bhagavat Gita
'One in then thousand think about me, one in ten thousand of those who think about me practice the right practice, and a few among them do the right practice regularly. Hence a few reach me'. Others helplessly are tossed by the forces of nature, (Nature here is not a cyclone or Tsunami or a Pandemic. It is the forces of one's own mind)
I have two choices.
I can live gracefully, without damaging the organs and the body, by learning to live healthily; learning and applying the tools to understand the life process, the energy flow, the functioning of mind and body systematically - which will help me live and leave gracefully. If I already have a disease- which actually means that my mind and body are not at ease ( DIS-EASE) while I consume medicines to manage symptoms, I start off with a plan to learn to take charge of my life and energy in my hands. Learning that will help me master the art of life and death.
I can live unconsciously, hedging my life on temporary methods, pills, etc; trying to make the most of the body by indulging at times, justifying my actions and habits, as many around me seem to be doing so and also that these are socially accepted; suppressing the fear of death that keeps surfacing with many more tools that seem to be entertaining. Eventually, I may not leave the body but will be kicked out, into a substratum that may seem to me new and painful as I have not trained for that.