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Why Do We Get Sick?

In my studies, it has been suggested that we make meaning in our lives with questions like “why?” and “what is this for?” If we find that our current ways of perceiving and understanding are causing meaningless suffering, that is a call to continue wondering and exploring. It is in struggling and wrestling with questions such as this, that we can change what an experience means.

It occurred to me that I have spent my life answering the question “why do we get sick?” Not asking it, in the sense that I truly wondered and wrestled. No, rather I answered it with my life. I grasped onto the explanations and meaning that were offered and crafted my life as a response to the query.

Clearly my life was a response to the question, “why do we get sick?” I lived my life as a testimony to its way of perceiving and understanding.

  • contamination from environment & technology
  • contamination from lifestyle & habits
  • contamination from consciousness & karmic debt
  • failure of technology, policy or bureaucracy
  • failure of lifestyle & habits
  • failure of consciousness & healing – failure to free oneself from contamination

That was the story my life told. That was the response I gave with my life. But “why do we get sick?” was being answered from the understanding that “sick” is a threat to one’s best, most authentic and worthy, self and life. It is an aberration, a departure, a diversion.

So, what is it for? To find a way back, all the more clear and empowered. It is a path to the true Self and the most authentic life. One walks that path by way of the chance to live freely despite its limitations; to find healing despite the devastation it can wreak; to remain oneself despite the strength of its defining influence.

The primary source of this way of perceiving and understanding may be that this culture puts forth a concept of the soul (some version of a fully realized individual or self) without any concept of it being from here. It’s a soul that is not of this place, merely in it. It’s a soul that is bound by nothing and to nothing. It is whole and intact without ever being made by others or a place. Whatever it is, wherever it came from, it exists as a self-contained legitimate thing. Damage – deep damage, can be done to it by failing to validate and nurture it at early stages. However, the power to affirm itself later lies waiting, dormant and untapped, within. The power to be already exists fully formed. The key is for the individual to recognize this.

This self-contained legitimate soul/self exists without being from here. It exists without relationship to this place, only in relationship to others of its kind. Not, however, existing by way of relationship. It exists independently. Freedom, independence and self-fulfillment are therefore its mission. Its life is used to tell its story. Sickness, then, shows up as a foil, crucible or purifier to the soul or self.

This is what I have known until recently. Now I am wondering …

Why do we get sick? Because we are from here. Because we exist within relationship. Because we are made, not simply born, and therefore can be unmade and remade by forces that we exist within. And, perhaps in our society, some sickness (I am wondering about functional illnesses in particular) may be the natural outcome of not knowing these things. Of having no stories, no initiations, no meaning for these truths. So for us, perhaps, we get sick so that we may remember.

In gratitude:

photo credit: Thiophene_Guy Mutually oblivious flowers and tourist via photopin (license)

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