My journey with a neurological condition has been a tremendous learning experience! It has taught me so much, not just about recovering my health, but also about myself, life and spirituality! I can safely say that I am a far better person and far more knowledgeable than I would be otherwise! Despite my daily challenges I feel immeasurably enriched and very optimistic about my future!
Recovering from this neurological condition [parkinson’s]] is mostly about restoring body chemistry. It’s about ‘convincing’ the neurotransmitters that are produced in our brains [mostly dopamine and serotonin] and the hormones that are produced in our endocrine system [mostly adrenaline and cortisol] to return to normal levels. We want more dopamine and serotonin and less adrenaline and cortisol. Which the body wants as well by the way. It wants to be in homeostasis.
Contrary to the language used on most parkinson’s disease websites, I do not consider myself to be battling parkinson’s. Nor do I think of myself as suffering from a disease. What you fight, fights back! When you believe you are suffering from something, you put yourself in victimhood! I’m not fighting with anything and I’m certainly not suffering!
Deepak Chopra says anger is an inflammatory emotion. Parkinson’s is considered to be an inflammatory condition. Until I understood the role of fear in the development of the neurological condition [parkinson’s] I’m experiencing, I thought anger was the root cause. I still believe that anger plays a role, so it is important to understand it in order to dissolve it so that recovery is possible.
This is a story I told the students this past week at the martial arts club where I teach.
I first told you about Dog in February. His mission is to help children feel good about themselves and more recently he had a very important message to convey to humanity. It was too important to tell everyone one person at a time, so he hatched a plan. He hopped on on a ship and traveled across the Pacific Ocean to China. There he made his way overland to Nepal. Once in Nepal, he headed straight for Mount Everest, the tallest mountain on the planet. The summit of Everest is so high there is insufficient oxygen to breathe and therefore, those who attempt to climb it must bring their own oxygen.
Experiencing a neurological condition has undoubtedly been the greatest challenge of my life. It tests me every single day! It has also been the greatest learning experience of my life! It has taught me a great deal about my body and about life itself! And so, based on what I have learned, I offer you the five essentials of what I believe to be the key to why I have fared relatively well given how long I have been experiencing this condition [at least 13 years] and why I believe I will recover.
The basis of Buddhism is The Four Noble Truths as discerned by Siddhartha Gautama [the Buddha] when he became enlightened. These truths are:
- All life is suffering [filled with challenges]
- Suffering is the result of ignorance [lack of awareness]
- Ignorance can be overcome through awareness [spiritual consciousness]
- Awareness is achieved by following The Noble Eightfold Path
Each month at the martial arts club where I teach, we have a theme related to, “feeling good about yourself.” This month, we are celebrating being kind and I’m pleased to say I was recently the recipient of a random act of kindness!
Fear! As confounding an aspect of human experience as there is. On a physical level, the feeling of fear is meant to keep us alive. Confronted by a hungry lion in the jungle or a jilted ex-lover at the shopping mall, it tells us to fight, take flight or freeze [I recommend option two as it relates to the former flame]. On a spiritual level, it keeps us from, but guides us towards, love.
I think we can all agree that the state of affairs on the planet is quite dire at this point in our history. I could present a long list of societal and environmental indicators as evidence of this, but I neither want to depress or scare anyone. Safe to say, things aren’t good!