The Purpose of Spiritual Practice Reveals Itselfby Robert Meagher on 10/04/22
During April, I experienced a protracted bout of influenza. For 10 days I pretty much stayed in bed, only to get myself out of bed to do something, anything to relief my discomfort. It was only after 14 days that I started to feel well enough to return to regular activities. It is during times of unwellness—dare I say suffering—that spiritual practice, if one has a spiritual practice, comes in very handy.
I remember about 4 or 5 days into the illness, I wondered if I might need medical attention (in the form of hospitalization), as I simply could not stop coughing. The pain and discomfort in my chest worsened. Days 6-9 saw the virus move into my nasal passages and head. Yet the coughing maintained, although not so virulently.
Throughout the 14 days of unwellness, there remained a steadfast reminder of the very simple spiritual teaching… “This too shall pass.” It’s true, everything and anything ephemeral shall pass. We may not know how it will pass, but it will pass. This gentle, constant reminder “This too shall pass.” always offered me the opportunity and gift of acceptance through the teaching… “Let go of what was. Accept what is. And have faith in what will be.”
Even when I was feeling my most uncomfortable, I repeated the mantra, “Accept what is.” It was in the acceptance of my current state / condition that I consciously allowed forgiveness to permeate my state of being. I have had a tendency during past illnesses (e.g., colds, flus, etc.) to feel sorry for myself, whine, complain, commiserate, get angry and cranky. There was none of those emotions this time around. It sort of surprised me. But I realized my spiritual practice was paying off!
Each day when we sit down to meditate, read spiritual teachings, participate in dharma through community interaction, or whatever our spiritual practice may be, we are training our minds to be at peace with whatever presents itself to us.
While I cannot say I felt ‘at peace’ for the 14 days of my unwellness. The absence of feeling sorry for myself, whining, complaining, commiserating, getting angry and cranky, suggests to me I was at peace. This simply would not have been possible without my spiritual practice. Why I engage in daily spiritual practice had not only revealed itself to me, but it has increased my resolve and commitment to maintain my practice.
Robert Meagher has been ordained as an Interfaith Minister and certified as a Sacred Attention Therapy (SAT) Therapist. Robert is the Founder and Spiritual Director for Spiritual Guidance and Co-Founder of the Center for Human Awakening.