aysgarth fallsI started suffering from mild asthma when I was about 18. I seem to have inherited it from my father. With all that I have been doing over the last few years I have been much better as I do not need to take inhalers regularly anymore. I find that I tend to suffer when I am stressed or when I stay somewhere overnight. My regular use of inhalers shifted when I moved out of a place that had carpets everywhere. It was also helpful to realise that having certain plants (especially succulents) and cut flowers indoors exacerbated my symptoms. Over the years, when staying somewhere overnight, I have tried to stay in places that do not allow pets (wondering if I am allergic to pets). We were away for a few days in August and I started to suffer on the first night there.

Despite being on holiday, I started to eat as healthily as I could – fresh vegetable soups, brown rice salad. I have learnt a lot about how to take better care of myself from the book ‘The amazing Liver and Gallbladder flush’ by Andreas Moritz. I started drinking ionized water to detoxify. I tried not to eat late in the evening and going to bed around 10 pm. All this helped to some extent but was not enough.

My mind loves to wander every time I try to meditate or to be mindful. So I could stay with this thought for only a few breaths but something started to release and shift within me during these few minutes. I felt lighter and I could feel the tight band around my chest relax. My suffering did not disappear completely but I felt tremendous relief, so much so that I did not need to use the inhaler after this experience. I felt that nothing had changed in my surroundings so it must have been the shift in my consciousness that had brought about the relief that I experienced. I slept through the night and woke up feeling quite peaceful and calm.

In the past when I suffered I used to look for ways to fix the suffering as in trying to get rid of it. This was the first time that I had thought of accepting it gratefully, surrendering to it rather than resisting it.

The more I reflect on this, the more I appreciate all the various things I have been doing that could have helped bring about this shift and I am very grateful for it all. There are mainly two people that I am really grateful to for helping bring about this shift in my consciousness.

I have been hearing Phyllis Lei Furumoto (the lineage bearer for Reiki, Usui Shiki Ryoho) say in the last few months that her illness has been a gift, that illness is something to welcome. It was only while I was in the midst of suffering that I finally understood and appreciated what she could possibly have meant by accepting her suffering as a gift.

Phyllis shared a wonderful insight from a Reiki Master in Uzbekistan in the last webcast for the month of June where she talked about how when a Master grows and develops with Reiki, their family and students benefit from these shifts as well. Having been through this experience, I cannot help wondering about what Phyllis’ current experience could mean for the entire Reiki community.

I was also very fortunate to be able to go and listen to Thich Nhat Hanh in August. I did not know much about him but felt drawn to learning from him after having read about him in the book Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert in February this year. I wished that he would visit London so that I could go and see him like her. I received an email from a friend telling me about Thay’s visit to London the same evening. Having manifested my wish to go see him so wonderfully, I booked a place for the event right away. Coming up to the time of the talk, I felt that it would be good to read some of his teachings. I managed to get his book ‘Essential Writings’ from the library, a wonderful condensed version of his teachings.

In this book he talks about how breathing mindfully can help us to be in the present moment. He also asks us to not run away from our suffering as it can help us grow. He says that suffering acts as compost for us to grow more understanding and compassionate, and this will help us to heal ourselves and others, and will bring us peace.

I feel that in my moment of suffering all these thoughts came together and I was reminded to apply them to myself. I remembered the next day that I had read about surrender and acceptance in Eckhart Tolle’s book ‘Power of Now’ a few months ago. He explains the concept of acceptance really well and clarifies the difference between surrender and resignation. I have found it very helpful to release the negative connotations often associated with acceptance.

I feel that there are layers and layers of stuff in our being that we have to work through. So this is by no means an end to my suffering. But I do feel liberated as in not being so fearful of suffering anymore. I feel that I have found a wonderful tool to help me cope better with suffering.