plumbers_edinburghSo you’ve injured your knee, maybe tore some muscles in your shoulder, or perhaps are dealing with a chronic disease process like arthritis or fibromyalgia.  It really doesn’t matter because what is common to all of these conditions is the body’s natural tendency to heal.  Yes, that’s right heal.  No matter what has happened, the body will always strive to find some sort of balance or homeostasis; and it does this most effectively if we stay out of its way.  When we get right down to it no one really knows just exactly how the body heals itself from injury, disease, or cancer.  We know that it happens, but can’t understand the trillions of processes a second that occur to change atoms into molecules, into protein chains, into substantive tissue all along miraculous time frames.  And even if we did know, we’d most likely screw it up anyway, trying to improve upon what nature has been perfecting for several billion years.

Think of it like this.  Imagine that you are a professor of History, and not just any professor, but the most world renowned teacher of History alive today.  There is nothing that you don’t know of the subject and you’ve earned more accolades and awards then would ever fit on the wall in your office.  History has become your life and you spend your time doing very little else.

One day you discover that your hot water tank is broken.  It’s leaking and filling the basement with water, the fuel system looks shot and it smells kind of funny.  After making a brief assessment my guess is that you would call a plumber.  Of course you may chose to study for a year or so about hot water tanks and how to repair them, but by then you’d be cold, wet, and smell kind of funny yourself.  So plumber it is.  You make a conscious choice to allow someone or something more skilled and knowledgeable than yourself to make everything good again.  You may gripe about the cost, but you can now go about your day and absorb yourself in teaching history once again, knowing all is well.

Of course one snag here.  You could be the type of person who wants to show how smart he is, or simply not trust that the plumber is going to use the right parts or maybe cheat you on labor.  So you decide to stay and scrutinize his every move.  “So why are you using that pipe?”  “Shouldn’t you be using a Phillips head?”  Now the one hour repair estimate turns into a six hour project because you won’t leave the poor guy alone to do what he does best.  You want to see great results? Get the guy a cup of coffee and a sandwich.

Now imagine that you are recovering from heart surgery, orthopedic trauma, or even dealing with a chronic disease.  Of course you have a doctor, and you may trust him; but you’re not a hot water tank are you?  The doctor can only do so much; the real expert on healing is your own body.  Our bodies have been healing themselves for billions of years, trust me it knows what its doing.  When we are recovering from an illness or injury and randomly try various medications, supplements, or procedures without really knowing their effect it is akin to the History Professor running circles around the hot water tank banging it with a wrench and hoping it will help. When we try to control every aspect of the healing process with worry, anxiety, and impatience it is like annoying the plumber.

The real question is how do we get our bodies a cup of coffee and a sandwich?  How do we support without getting in the way?  We do this through meditation.  Meditation allows the mind to quiet and opens the body to healing.  When we meditate regularly it is like sitting back and watching the plumber work, and every once in awhile saying, “Good job mate, it’s coming together now.”  All you have to do is watch.  Watch every day and you will be amazed at what you learn.  Resist the temptation to judge the plumbers work, or even make suggestions; if he needs something, he will surely ask.  How to understand what he is asking for is another topic entirely, but one worth investigating in the future; for now simply develop a relationship with your inner repair expert.

Sit comfortably with a straight spine.  Focus attention on the breath or some other singular point, object, or sound.  Hold attention on your chosen object and open to the sensations of your body.  Judge nothing that you might experience, trust that healing is at work.  When your mind loses focus or wanders, simply smile (actually smile) and return to your original object of focus.  Release any frustration or desire.  Stay with your breath or word and allow the body to relax.  It is most important to smile when you notice the mind wander.  If the whole time is spent in re-focusing your attention then at least you’ve spent 10 minutes smiling; surely an improvement on the average day.

-Brian Trzaskos, IRQTC