I recently finished writing a series of blogs entitled, “Transforming Diabetes.” It was a culmination of work I have been doing over the last 5 years dealing specifically with the process I have used in managing and, intermittently. mastering diabetes. If you are interested in reading about my perspective and what I have discovered in my 34 years of experience then click on Transforming Diabetes under the Categories section of this blog site. Start with Post #1 and proceed from there. Diabetes is called a “chronic” dis-ease. Webster’s dictionary defines chronic as –
“1. lasting a long time or recurring often: said of a disease, and distinguished from ACUTE. 2. having had an ailment for some time (a chronic patient) 3. continuing indefinitely; perpetual; constant (a chronic worry) 4. by habit, custom, etc; habitual; inveterate (a chronic complainer) – n. a chronic patient —chronically adv. —chronicity n.
SYN. – chronic suggests long duration or frequent recurrence and is used especially of diseases or habits that resist all efforts to eradicate them (chronic sinusitis); inveterate implies firm establishment as a result of continued indulgence over a long period of time (an inveterate liar); confirmed suggests fixedness in some condition or practice, often from a deep-seated aversion to change (a confirmed bachelor); hardened implies fixed tendencies and a callous indifference to emotional or moral considerations (a hardened criminal)”
At age 14 I was “given” this serious, complicated, dangerous and, often times, insidious, physical condition to address. I guess it is called chronic because it is here to stay. There is no cure. Prior to 1921 any human being who “caught” this disease died in a matter of weeks. And it wasn’t an easy way to go. It is death by starvation. Today Type 1 diabetics can live longer. Some even make it past the current average expected life span of a human being. We have injectable insulin and we have better tools to deliver it and to test our blood sugar levels. The real chronic characteristic of the condition now is the constant monitoring of insulin dosage, food intake and blood sugar levels. It is a 24/7 job.
In the past five years I have been working on “ways” to assist others in confronting, understanding, integrating, mastering and transforming that in their life that they have become aware of as a chronic condition. My intention in my service is to guide and support them in discovering, experiencing, and practicing the “work” they must engage in and celebrating the outcomes they realize. My experience with a dark and challenging physical, mental, emotional and spiritual chronic condition has shown me a path that has produced movement, softening, change and a “light at the end of the tunnel.”
Is life itself chronic? It can be.
The Buddha, in his teachings, said;
Better a single day of life
seeing the reality of arising and passing away
than a hundred years of existence
remaining blind to it.
At the core of the Buddha’s teaching is the path to liberation from suffering by becoming conscious that we are, and for that matter everything in the universe, is constantly changing and impermanent. “What arises is bound to pass away.” And at the subtlest level the tiniest particles of the universe which make up everything are “arising and passing away at great rapidity.” Quantum Physics is telling us that these tiniest particles are the most real thing there is. In reality everything is a big vibration.
I was not brought up with religion or God in the household. The only time I went to church is when there was a wedding or funeral. There was no discussion of God. I was deeply immersed in the material world and there was little thought or contemplation of the purpose of existence or a power greater than ourselves. On the contrary, I was taught that I held the power and that I was great, I could be the best at anything I wanted to be.
Then I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.
I was fourteen. Had just started High School. As the oldest of four, always felt I was the trailblazer for the experiences my younger brother and sisters would have in a few years. My father was a doctor and was always able to “fix” anything that went wrong. As I was laying in the hospital bed that first night and my father came to see me I became keenly aware that he was not going to be able to fix this. Looking back, up until that point, he was the closest thing to God that I had in my life. I went to either him or my mother for what I wanted. When I saw the look on his face as he saw me hooked up to an IV and having lost 25 lbs in 3 days I knew that whatever I had was not going to be taken care of by him. It was time to look elsewhere. This is when I started my search for a cure. Looking back, it is also when my search for God, in this life, began.
Why me? That is what I asked myself over and over. I was so self centered that Why me turned into poor me. Poor me turned into screw this. Screw this did not work so I started looking for answers outside of the seeds and weeds of resentment that I was watering all day with the thoughts and behavior of self pity. I began to find clues at first. Little tid bits of information that were indicating that perhaps I was not the center of the universe. So, I started looking outside myself. When I got to college I took courses in philosophy, psychology and religion. When I got out of college I worked for a company that was into asking and exploring the bigger questions of life. I attended “self improvement” seminars. In the last ten years I have been introduced to and have studied some of what I call “Mystical Maps of the Territory.” They are maps of how the universe is structured and how things in our universe work. Of course, science is a map. Science is an evolving map and while some cling to it as “The Map” it has never been “The Map.” Just look at history. Science is always evolving and transforming. The world is not flat. At best science is an ever changing map. If we are ever to learn from history we must say that science as a map for getting to original cause is probably not the best map to rely on. Religions are maps of the territory. Every religion offers answers like how we came to be, what our role is, where we are going, what are the rules, what is the best way to play, what is the object of the “game,” what are the penalties and what is the reward or payoff? No religion has yet done it for me. I have not been able to commit to, accept or have faith in the way they say it is. I have checked out just about everyone of them. Everyone of them falls short for me. My experience is that a lot of people stop here. Some of us that stop here envy those who have found faith. Others of us pity you. Our conclusion is that we are not meant to know the answers or that, in truth, we make up our own answers. The result of this is agnosticism, relativism and tolerance of “whatever floats your boat.” I stopped here for awhile and it was the darkest part of my life. I felt like giving up. Somehow, I forged ahead and became aware of some of the “mystical” aspects of religion. These mystical approaches are the roots of what is now organized religion and they appeal to me much more and I have found real value and wisdom in them. They seem to be the deep roots leading to the seed level of Truth (Original Cause).
The primary perspective that all of these mystical maps propound is that the journey is inward. Inward!? I went from being self absorbed and self centered and was able, with a lot of struggle, to shift and begin looking outside of myself and now you want me to head back in? OK. I did a U-Turn and headed back in. But something was different this time. These mystical maps taught me that the journey inward contains an element of duality. There is polarity built into the world we live in, here, on this tiny planet in the booneys in one of a trillion billion galaxies in the universe we have named the Milky Way. The nature of things is that for every cause there is an effect. In order to generate electricity you need both a positive pole and a negative pole. To conceive a child you need a female and a male. The Yin and the Yang. So, as I began looking in I saw that there was duality everywhere, including, within me.
Wayne Dwyer said, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” This best illustrates the duality we face. Our purpose here seems to be a birth from unity into duality and a journey back to unity. “The Way” seems to be the creation of a middle path or resistor that connects the two poles. In the example of electricity, if the positive pole connects directly with the negative pole then there is a short circuit. The way to create continuous light is by adding a third element to the situation. A filament that acts as a resistor will result in a light bulb staying lit. It will allow for the continuous flow of electricity or power. Perhaps that is the way it works in the big game of life. Perhaps we are spiritual beings existing, for a time as a human experience, and our purpose is to find the filament that will connect us back to The Original Cause – HOME. Some have identified this power as Love, God or Light. The Kabbalists call it Creator or Light. And Light is defined as Fulfillment. The negative pole for fulfillment is Desire. The interplay between Desire and Fulfillment is the Spiritual game. All facets of desire and fulfillment are in play. It is the Light’s purpose to fulfill our desires. It is our role to desire the Light. One clue to further understanding this interplay is that, according to Kabbalah, Fulfillment is the seed of desire. Fulfillment existed first. In fact, Fulfillment created desire.