Eric’s Comment on “Illness as Practice”
“Illness as practice” is something I’ve found myself working on in the recent past. My son brings home some of the most interesting bugs from his preschool. Norovirus, the winter vomiting bug, passed through the family four times last year, and we all tested positive for influenza-A the year before that. It felt like I was hit with a freight train and my daughter was hospitalized for it. Great times!
At any rate, I happen to have this book on shamanism that talks about illness as a form of healing. In many indigenous cultures, shamans were “created” after surviving a severe illness. The book is rather thick and I’m still re-reading and digesting certain parts, but it gave me a lot to think about. It does feel like the monkey-mind quiets down during illness. It’s purifying in a way.
Last year, after the second visit of the puke bug, I was completely exhausted. I went to bed and, rather than dreaming, fell into the deepest silence I have ever known. Like falling into a black hole. I’m not sure if it was a formless realm or just a profound state of rest, but I woke up feeling like a new person.