By Peter Cutler
After reading spiritual teacher Jeff Foster’s experiences of his suffering from Lyme disease today, it reminded me of my own experience of suffering from a recent spinal disc injury
For four days the pain was blinding and continuous 24/7. The most surprising was the suffering. I had not experienced suffering in some time and had become unfamiliar with it. For almost two days I experienced suffering which was related entirely to a sense of self. It was a brilliant, humbling, and needed wake-up call that perhaps I still had some spiritual work to do. You think? This process never ends.
By the third day, I stopped resisting and I fully accepted the situation. The body may be in chronic pain for the rest of its days. It may be unlikely that I would ever walk again. I started researching wheelchairs although at the time I could not sit without pain either. And the body would probably not last nearly as long as I had thought. The previous day I enjoyed the body and abundant health and vitality of a fifty-year-old athlete at seventy-two. And today I had the body of a crippled old man of ninety. I accepted all of what life was showing me.
Wanting anything to be different from the way it is only leads to unhappiness and suffering. Things simply are the way they are. Resistance equals suffering. Acceptance equals peace.
By the third day, the suffering was over although the level of continuous pain remained for another two days.
The sense of a personal self that I experienced for the first two days was resistance to life and truth. And this resistance creates suffering. Was there very intense continuous pain? Yes. Was this pain bad? Of course not. Good and bad are only conditioned thoughts. Should the pain not be here? Of course not. It is here. Once fully accepted the added suffering that comes from the illusion of a self and resistance to what is faded away.
By the fifth day, I was able to lie down without pain which was an enormous relief and I was filled with gratitude for this. I could not stand or sit for more than a few minutes without extreme pain, but I could lie down without any pain. In this situation, we can be extremely grateful for such seemingly small things.
Many people expressed their love and compassion for me being in this situation. That was very nice, but I knew they did not understand that by then I experienced no suffering at all. I was totally happy, at peace, and filled with unconditional love for all. This had become my normal way years ago. I had two days when this was not my experience, two days of suffering, and this was a very valuable and important lesson and one of the many great benefits I received from this injury.
I learned that I could completely eliminate all pain for as long as an hour and probably longer by shifting my attention fully to my true infinite undivided nature. In this way, I was able to continue offering the silent transmissions twice a week while sitting, even though without shifting my attention in this way I could not sit for more than three or four minutes. Eventually, I began offering the transmissions from bed as it was probably not healthy for the body to sit that long. But this showed that it was possible.
I also learned that I could heal this injury in a time the experts thought was impossible through energy alone. And so it is healed today.
I received many blessings and important learning from this injury that I could not have received in any other way. My attitude is gratitude because I understand the truth of suffering.
All bodies will experience pain at some point, sometimes extreme pain. Some situations will not be what we would choose. This body is subject to sickness, old age, and death. Eventually, it will die. We may not choose these things, but they are inevitable. They are part of the life of all bodies.
When we resist this inevitability, we resist the reality of life. When we resist reality, we experience suffering. It’s very simple. The experience of a separate self is a resistance against reality. The experience of a separate self is suffering itself. When we accept reality as it is (Not as we think it is as this is just a thought and not reality.), we are free of suffering which can only come from illusion and resistance to reality.