When I was a child there was a time when I dreaded going to school. One particular day I woke and decided to pretend that I was sick. Sore throat, headache … a mother can’t prove that you don’t have a sore throat and a headache, not like faking the flu or something, eh?
So I played out the little charade with my mother, and she bought it. I laid in bed all day, so relieved not to have to be in school. What if I didn’t have to go tomorrow either?
My mother was in and out of my room, so all day I pretended that my throat was sore and my head hurt. I vividly imagined what that felt like, how I would act were it true. By the end of the day my throat became a little sore. By the next morning, I was sick.
This was a revelation to me. I could make myself sick! At that time in my life, it was a gift of magic – I kept myself sick for two weeks to avoid unpleasant things at school.
It didn’t occur to me until thirty years later that if I could make myself sick, it logically followed that I could make myself well.
When we’re sick, it’s easy to slip into the misery. We’re distracted by pain or discomfort, foggy-headed, fixated on the symptoms: how does this feel; is it worse; will it get worse; how do I fix this? We run through remedies in our minds: drugs, surgery, time. We believe that it takes ten days for a cold to run its course. We believe some malady requires certain drugs to cure.
If we believe it, how can it be otherwise? In believing, we have created.
Our human minds are stubborn in holding onto those materialist beliefs of cause and effect, even if we’ve experienced something that reveals them to be a fiction. But we can re-train our minds. We have that choice.
The most effortless state of a body is health.
Think about that for a moment. The most effortless state of a body is health.
I had to vividly imagine my sore throat to create it, then I had to maintain that mind. After two weeks of that, I knew I had to let that go and face school. You can’t have a sore throat and fever forever. I decided to be well. I let go of the sickness and released the reason for it. I consciously chose to do that.
I let go. I returned to no-effort.
Where do we get in the way of that effortless health? In our minds. We hold onto fear, we resist, we criticize ourselves and our bodies. We believe misinterpretations of reality instead of noticing and trusting our own experiences.
If we begin to remind ourselves – as often as necessary – that health is the natural and effortless state of the body, my experience tells me that we will begin to heal ourselves.
Each person is different … take the drugs, have the surgery, lie on the couch with a cold for ten days … an overnight transformation is unlikely. I start at the very simple beginning, an awareness. “Oh look, I still believe this drug will help me. That’s okay for now … I’m becoming aware that the natural state of my body is health, and that the state is effortless. I’ll just relax into that thought, infuse myself with ease for a few moments or a few minutes as if that were real.”
Perhaps within that relaxed moment I’ll find the value that I placed on being sick or uncomfortable. I’ll find the way that I thought that would protect me or serve me. And then I can begin to mentally let that go. To release the tension, the effort that it took to hold that belief in place.
Each day is an exploration, an adventure in experience. We have the choice to allow that experience to begin to return to its natural state: effortless.