Wellness: Thanking Illness, by Parvati Devi

Colds. Flus. Injuries. Accidents. We have all suffered from various illnesses to varying degrees of severity. When we are met with something that challenges our health, many of us can feel irritable that our busy lives have come to a grinding halt. The illness can feel like it is in the way. Our body is no longer doing what “we” want “it” to do. We feel less in control, perhaps even powerless, and that can bring up all sorts of deep emotions — and possible spiritual awakenings.

Many may choose to medicate their way through any discomfort until it has passed and they can resume their lives. There is nothing wrong with medication, as long as it is done with mindfulness, not as a means to move away from or numb our sense of personal connection, the voice of our soul. There is a time and place for everything.

If you are faced with an illness, perhaps try to thank the illness for the experience you are having. That may sound backwards, but perhaps it is not. If we give thanks for what we have, we begin to release resistance to it. When we release resistance, we let go of undue energy tied up in things that do not serve our highest good so we may return to flow. At the root of gratitude is non-resistance to what is. Gratitude is a state of receptivity. Gratitude is not born from a closed fist, a closed mind, a closed heart. When we open, we receive. When we give thanks, we feel abundant and tapped into the infinite.

Our tendency may be to push away pain and discomfort. We want it gone. It will pass eventually. What if instead of pushing, we thank the pain for the discomfort? What would happen? Does the pain or discomfort offer any wisdom? Is it simply an interference? Look again. I am quite sure that within the pain or discomfort there is guidance to your spiritual growth, the voice of your soul clamouring for your attention.

I have had many physical ups and downs over the course of my life, from the minor to very severe. Through first-hand experience, I have seen the frailty of the body, and the immense power it has. When I stopped fighting it and expecting it to do what I wanted it to do, I started to work with it. I started to see that my body offers my consciousness a direct link to Nature and helps me remain in balance within a much greater whole. In this way, mindful connection to the body roots our spiritual evolution and keeps our ego in check.

Next time you get a cold, or are in a situation that asks you to slow down, practice seeing the situation and your body differently. Instead of resisting what is, give thanks. Give thanks for the situation so you may go deeper inside, get to know yourself better, learn to live with greater interconnection, to see this moment as grace.

Parvati Devi is the editor-in-chief of Parvati Magazine. In addition to being an internationally acclaimed Canadian singer, songwriter, producer and performer, she is a yoga teacher and holistic educator, having studied yoga and meditation since 1987, and developed her own yoga teaching style called YEM™: Yoga as Energy Medicine. Her current shows, “YIN: Yoga in the Nightclub” and “Natamba”, bring forward a conscious energy into the pop mainstream.