FLY the plane

We all want to “fly.”  I use to play soccer and hockey as a kid.  We would talk about being “in the zone” and how it felt like we were flying.  As parents, we want our children to “fly.”  A diagnosis of T1D is a tremendous shock to life.  Those of us who really understand it know that it has a lot to do with energy in the body.  We need energy to fly.  As a teenager I often felt “grounded” because of all that I had to account for in order to participate and compete.  As I would find out later…..T1D would require me to become a marathon pilot.  There was no landing the plane.  I could crash! I often did not feel well.  When I was too high I was tired and apathetic.  When I was low I was uncertain and reactive.  My behavior in these times affected everything around me.  My mother was my co-pilot when I was young.  I had others along the way willing to get in the cockpit with me but they could always leave.  Not me.  I needed to stay and “FLY THE PLANE.”  Why?  Why this experience?  

It’s not easy.  It doesn’t feel good.  If God is all powerful, all good and all that then why this suffering?  I think I know why.  We live in a world that is a world of duality.  Anything that arises can only do so with its’ polar opposite.  Type 1 Diabetes is, in the physical world, a major challenge that causes much suffering.  There are a lot of other things that cause just as much suffering and more.  But T1D is definitely up there on the Opponent’s favorite physical curses.  But, for every curse there is a blessing.  Or, at least a lesson.  And, perhaps, lessons are the highest blessings.  

None of us knows the Big Picture.  Maybe we got caught in traffic and missed our flight because, in the big picture, it saved our life.  I don’t know.  However, living with diabetes for over 42 years now has awakened me to a TRUTH that is apparent, at least to me.  Every thing is made of energy.  And if it manifests in the physical world then it has a deep root in the non physical.  And we are here to find and to journey upon a quest back to Source.  Ok.  I might be getting a little metaphysical here, however, think about!  If you are reading this you know what I mean when I use the metaphor of “Flying The Plane.”  Food is the fuel, our body is the physical plane itself, checking our blood sugar levels is like checking the altimeter and insulin and the delivery of insulin is our acceleration system.  If we are too high we need to step on the accelerator.  If we are low we need to “take our foot off the gas pedal”.  Can’t go too low our we could crash.  Can’t stay too high for too long our else the environment gets too thick to stay in the air.  There are a lot of things we need to account for that are our “turbulence.”  Thinks like stress, hormone levels, being sick, quality of insulin, exercise, infusion sites.  We learn as we go.  There are three rules to flying a plane:





A Spiritual “Map” of the T1D “Territory”

Yoga is a map of everything. Most think yoga is a physical exercise. Asana (The Pose) in yoga is but just one “limb” of the eightfold path and Hatha Yoga (The Poses put together in a typical yoga class) is but a sub group of the four paths of yoga: (Karma Yoga (Action), Jnana Yoga (Knowledge), Raja Yoga(Self Discipline) and Bhakti Yoga (Union with Source through Devotion)).

Yoga is a spiritual map because the destination is ‘union’ with source and the journey is revelation.

T1D is an interesting challenge looked at from a spiritual perspective. Each one of us is different and unique so, therefore, there is, practically, infinite perspective. This is but just one. And to do this I am going to draw from how yoga perceives the “I”; “The Self” in its totality.

According to yogic philosophy, we are composed of five ‘bodies’ called Koshas. The five Koshas are described as “sheaths.”

I should stop here and tell you why I am drawing from yoga as the metaphor. I started practicing yoga 22 years ago. In 2006 I wanted to deepen my practice. I went to a month long (200 hour) Yoga Teacher Training and Certification at The Kripalu Yoga School. I have completed an additional 150 hours towards my 500 hour certification.

When I was at teacher training one of the master teachers had an interesting response when I told her I have been living with Type 1 Diabetes since age 14.

She must have known more about the dis-ease than most.

She said……….

”Now, THAT is a YOGA POSE!”

in front of a class consisting of 65 women and 8 men.

There is another reason yoga is an appropriate and powerful metaphor…

Yoga defined means “Union.” I’ve heard yoga defined as “union of body and mind in pursuit of the soul.” I see it more as “Soul uniting with Source through body and mind.” Yoga is about energy; Prana ; Life Force. Think about T1D….The physical body is not capable of producing a critical component to the system of processing the food we eat (our external fuel source/carbohydrates/energy) into internal fuel/glucose molecules in the blood/energy.

To be a bit more accurate, we are missing the “key” that opens the cell door for the glucose molecule to enter.

This DIS-EASE is about Life Force itself. Without injectable insulin we would not be able to stay on this physical plane. So, the challenge becomes one of learning about the “Key.”

The journey can be very revealing.

The five Koshas are:

1. The Physical Body: The Anamaya Kosha

2. The Mental Body: The Manomaya Kosha

3. The Energetic Body: The Pranamaya Kosha

4. The Wisdom Body: The Vijnanamaya Kosha

5. The Bliss Body: The Anandamaya Kosha

Here is a short 5 minute youtube video introducing the Koshas:

The Koshas describe the “Self” in five aspects.

Confronting, Understanding, Integrating, Mastering and Aligning these 5 aspects of “The Self” is the journey and the destination is union with Source/Bliss so that it may permeate all of the sheaths.

I was diagnosed in November of 1976 at the age of 14. My physical body was “broken”. All I wanted to do was find a way to fix it. I am still searching.

How does one align a broken body to the mental, energetic, wisdom and bliss bodies? I mean this is horrible. Over time, I am understanding how the physical is the last manifestation. Source is Bliss and Bliss is Source. Start there. “But why would Bliss want to create a physical body that doesn’t work; That is broken?

There is Truth and then there is your perspective. A spiritual map like yoga is only that….a map. A map is a representation, a perspective.

Diabetes can be a catalyst for an amazing spiritual journey. The Adversary’s name is imbedded within the name of the condition itself and has many of his characteristics; insidiousness, thirst, deep falls, dangerous heights, victim consciousness, anger, resentments, shame, self-pity…..I could go on.

The Physical Body needs a lot of attention when living with T1D but once a safe “flying” altitude is established we can choose to explore the other aspects of our self.

It is true…..

”Now, that is a yoga pose.”

I hope this brief outline of ‘a’ spiritual map of diabetes has been of value to you. It is but just a small piece of the puzzle, I think.