1.24.2013

The Enlightening Mat: Fear of Illness

drawing painting body healing illness
drawing of body healing

We fear illness. More specifically, we fear the feeling of powerlessness and our inability to control the body's choices that may result in pain, disability, or death.

Fear of illness is the fourth universal fear that holds you back from openly sharing your true nature with the world. To read my whole blog series on the six universal fears, click here.


Fear of Illness

When confronted by illness we come face-to-face with our vulnerability -- the pure essence of our true nature. To run from our fragility, we may spend excessive energy safeguarding ourselves from illness by constructing a hyper-aware, healthy lifestyle or a type of emotional and physical bubble that limits risk-taking. As a person with a wee bit of hypochondria I've done both.

However, I'm not alone. Sometimes I feel like the whole world has a mild case of hypochondria. It's catching. There isn't a day that I haven't gone to yoga and experienced the after class aches-pains-sickness-and-disease conversation in the ladies dressing room. Just like women enjoy talking about food as a way to bond, we also love to share our stories of illness as a way to connect.

Illness is a safe topic and like the weather everyone can participate. However, underneath the surface of our chatter about illness, cures, doctors, home remedies, etc., there is a vast landscape of poetry expressed by our souls through the medium of our bodies that goes unheard.

The pain in our body delivers messages and unless we translate these expressions into needs -- the language of our souls -- then we may miss an opportunity to hear the yearnings of our pure essence.


How to Dissolve Your Fear of Illness

To dissolve your fear of illness, you must accept that you will never be safe from pain, sickness and death. It's there, and it's going to happen. You can't run away from the experience of illness. One way or another it tracks you down because dis-ease is a message asking you to tune into your soul.

That's the most important element to embrace about illness -- it is a love note from your soul. When you open the message, you will hear it say something like this, "I love you, but you're turning the wrong way. I want to ..."

You may have thought of your body as a mysterious and uncontrollable piece of equipment you have to refuel, take in for tune-ups, and occasionally fix. But now, if you see your body as a vehicle for your soul, every cell becomes a signalling system for what your true nature is wanting and trying desperately to communicate. Your soul is the driver of your body, but sometimes you think of it as the back-seat driver and illness is soul's solution for putting it right.

To develop more insight into your soul's language of needs communicated through the illness of your body, download these two free worksheets:

Visual Body Healing

Body Soul Connection


Ease is a form of pleasure, disease a loss of pleasure. A specialist in disease should begin his questions for diagnosis with issues of pleasure. Are you enjoying life? Where is it not pleasurable? Are you fighting pleasure somewhere or in some part of your body that is seeking pleasure? The history of philosophy demonstrates the remarkable fact that whenever soul is placed at the center of concern, pleasure is one of the most prominent factors discussed.

Along my own path of healing, I've noticed that asking my soul for what it desires -- its longings and pleasures -- naturally point me towards better health. Switching to fruits and vegetables, practicing yoga, resting, and going for long walks were all things my soul desperately wanted. Once I tuned into my soul's message behind my poor health, it didn't take much discipline to change my lifestyle because it was no longer "I should eat better," "I should exercise more," and "I should get more sleep." Instead I heard these desires as things that give my soul the most pleasure, and now I feel them as enjoyable physical experiences instead of things that I have to do to keep my body running.

My last thought about illness is that sometimes it might be a type of boundary. A way of constructing a stop sign for something coming at you that requires decision making or change. Maybe you're not ready to receive it, give it, or do it. Or maybe it's not what your soul is truly wanting so you create a force field of illness to keep yourself safe until you can get back to center and sort things out. Rather then tear down this fence that the psyche or soul needs, perhaps it's an opportunity to sit with the pain, have compassion for your fragility, and understand your fear of change and growth. It's your personal stop sign that says, "I'm vulnerable right now. Please handle with care." 

The Enlightening Mat is a blog series exploring moments of awareness that come to Beth Hemmila while practicing Bikram Yoga.

To shop for yoga charms that celebrate the different poses click here to view this blog post Sterling Silver Charms for Bikram Yoga Postures.

1 comment:

  1. My own recent journey with illness, vulnerability, and even the realization that I could/will die ironically brought me closer to life. Each moment of the day is precious, each day a gift. I just need to be open to receiving the gift. But I will admit that up until that point in my life a fear lurked deeply inside me that I might one day be seriously ill.

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