30 March 2010 0 Comments

Symptoms As Positive

I love symptoms. Why? Because they are direct guidance from the body.

Symptoms tell us where to dig to identify the exact issue to address to support health and personal growth.

Symptoms are doorways to deeper self-awareness.

You may well ask, Do we have to be sick to grow? Heavens no. The more intimate we become with subtle variations in sensation, emotion, expression, and motivation, the less we depend on symptoms to let us know. Meanwhile, they serve us.

Avoid falling into the perfection trap of thinking that being symptom-free makes one somehow better than those who have symptoms. I have never seen anyone without symptoms. I have only seen people who were not able to identify any themselves.

Having known many at close range, I have observed that even the most advanced spiritual teachers, doctors, and healers have symptoms. Our symptoms may relate to excessive sensitivity to energy, compassion unbalanced by detachment, or issues taken on from clients or followers, accidentally, or in a spirit of sacrifice.

As long as we have bodies to learn with we will have symptoms to learn from.

Symptoms, intense feelings, or inner experiences do not mean that something is “wrong.” Wrong means it should not be there; that it is bad. Symptoms are information.

Fern SpiralSymptoms can be cleansing, awakening, balancing, or deepening. They reflect to us and help us to own parts of ourselves we have been cut off from, so we can become whole.

Distress is a guideline. Distress, carefully heeded, can keep us from developing unnecessary symptoms.

Ellen Hayakawa (author and spiritual leader) and I were discussing the modern trend toward believing that being positive means not having unpleasant feelings. Ellen laughed hard and said, “How do they think we can be so positive!? It’s because we go deeply into our suffering and do our inner work! The reason we HAVE positive energy is because we do all our work on the shadow/sh*t side of things.”

Life is a full spectrum deal. Being positive is not about fearing and avoiding feelings. Shutting off parts of ourselves is not a positive process, but speaks to the kind of defense against life that fragments us in the first place.

It is positive to use any discomfort we feel to learn to address our real needs. Self-knowledge and openness to life free us to feel authentic joy, love, and peace.

Symptoms invite us to look at how we care for ourselves, what we feel inside, and how we manage our energy. They serve us in owning our whole, radiant selves through thick and thin.

Has a symptom improved your life by giving you the chance to discover things about who you are and what you need?

Please share your story in the comment box.

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