My spirituality is an important part of who I am and how I approach living with a chronic illness. I believe that we are a part of something bigger, a kind of universal oneness and I believe in our role as co-creators of the universe. This belief guides me towards actions that consider both my wellbeing, the wellbeing of others and the wellbeing of the planet as a whole. I can extend this concept to believe that by compassionately taking care of myself (as long as I do so without doing harm to others or the planet) I am constructively adding to the universal wellbeing. Whether any of this is fact, doesn’t really matter too much to me. My faith leads to my actions which result in better health and wellbeing for me and a little more love in the world. That’s enough of a reason for me to believe!
One aspect of my spirituality is the belief that challenges present us with the opportunity for learning and growth. Unfortunately though, this belief is often flipped to imply that we are presented with challenges in order to learn particular life lessons; that illness means there is something in our life that needs healing; that we are ill because we haven’t yet learned the life lesson that our illness is supposed to be teaching us…allowing the idea to develop that we are somehow to blame. To me this is just a poisonous flip of logic! Please don’t let anybody blame you for your illness or for not getting better (including yourself).
I believe that illness is just illness, it does not have a purpose! It may be that with a healthier lifestyle, or a healthier mind/body/spirit wholeness, we have a better chance of preventing or healing illness, but that doesn’t mean that we are to blame for illness, or lack of recovery. None of us could ever know how big a part our experiences, perceptions, actions or lifestyle played in us contracting or perpetuating an illness. And none of that can change. The only thing that we can now influence is the future. The only constructive influence that faith and spirituality could possibly have is on things that have not yet happened. Don’t make the mistake of applying spiritual concepts to trying to understand what has happened up till now. There is just nothing to be gained from that!
Another reason I can’t align myself with the idea of ‘you’ll get better when you learn the lesson you’ve got to learn’ is that I do not accept the concept of an all-powerful destiny. I believe that we are all co-creators of the universe. What happens in life is a result of an interaction of the all the energy that we put out there. We get to make choices and influence that energy with our thoughts and actions. Challenges do give us the opportunity for growth and we can choose to learn, develop and grow in many different ways; each of our choices playing a part in universal creation. Our challenge is to keep making the choices that will positively influence our health and happiness, the happiness and health of those around us and the health and wellbeing of the universe. But that doesn’t mean there are particular lessons that the universe has in store for us and that nothing will move until we discover and learn them.
For me faith and spirituality have no other purpose that to guide us towards a healthier, happier future. They have no role in explaining anything that can no longer be changed! I refuse to be a part of any spiritual system that allows or encourages blame and punishment.