The Buddhist Way of Transforming Sickness into Happiness
for www.elephantjournal.com –
According to Buddhism, our mind shapes our reality. Whether we are happy or unhappy, healthy or unhealthy, is determined by the way we think. Buddhists also believe that sickness is the result of our psychological condition.
The interesting thing about Buddhism is that it identifies suffering. There are some things in life we can’t avoid, and sickness is one of them. Our bodies are prone to disease, and it’s something biological that we can’t keep at bay.
However, Buddhists ascertain that our psychology plays an essential role in how we perceive sickness. And, how we look at our illnesses highly dictates the possibility of healing.
To put it differently, we can’t stop the experience of illness or disease, but we can stop these conditions from disturbing our mind.
Though sickness is not favorable, we all experience it. Some people suffer from chronic diseases that constantly wear them out, and they tirelessly look for a solution that puts an end to their suffering. Several diseases are burdensome to the extent that we become the prisoners of our own bodies. Medicine is the answer, but there’s also another answer that lies within us.
Lama Zopa Rinpoche says that experiencing a disease can itself become medicine. He explains that we can transform any problem or failure into a daily spiritual practice. It’s our choice whether we turn problems into major obstacles or transform them into happiness.
This notion might be difficult to adopt, especially for the people who suffer from acute diseases. How can one transform something so vicious into something pleasant? It takes time to practice—and, most importantly, faith and willingness. We can put it to the test, and see for ourselves. Changing perceptions is arduous, but it’s also possible and beneficial.
I can relate to what Buddhism suggests whenever I fall ill. If I’m in a bad mood, my physical pain grows. However, when I’m in a good mood, my sickness feels less intense. I’ve come to realize that it’s not about the intensity of my sickness, it’s about the intensity of thoughts in my mind.
Our bodies are connected to our brains, and it has been shown that stress causes many health problems. Whatever goes on in the body is a direct reflection of what is going on in the mind.