Many years ago, I did not know that every activity has its own value in terms of energy taxing the body. I thought seeing God in temples is exempt as it gives you new energy and recharges you. Pilgrimage is seeing God, not only in temples, but in every encounter met. I was on pilgrimage in India for more than 2 months and had criss crossed the land in trains, buses, planes, seeing everything, contemplating everything. I was high on God. But when I came back to the San Francisco yoga center to continue with my duty there as the director and main teacher, I fell sick and did not understand why. I just could not operate the same way, as if my mind was not able to compute and make decisions as it used to do so well, to be a leader of a group.

I went to the doctor and showed my lymph node swelling into a bump. She measured it up with a pen and ruler and said, “Oh, maybe it is cancer?” I felt terrible. More tests needed to be done, but hearing these words brought fear to my heart. I could not understand.

The second doctor I visited, seeking a second opinion, on hearing that I had just come back from a trip to India, said, “Maybe it is tuberculosis?” Again, my mind panicked, I imagined being on quarantine and not being able to teach. I decided to look for acupuncture – Chinese medicine’s help. The doctor, an old Chinese man just said, “It’s ok, just relax.” I felt good after the treatment but was wondering why he did not tell me what I got when the other doctors had ready-made names to explain my conditions. I wanted to have a name, a label, even though the other names heard created shocks.

The scenario kept repeating. I went to the doctor in the hospital and came back sicker and depressed. I went to the Chinese doctor who kept saying nothing, and felt better. I decided to cut my medical card, quit going to the doctors and only go to the Chinese doctor. I have to keep listening to my inner voice and affirm my wellness and do the right things, including daily keep up with meditation and asanas, pranayama and especially not accepting that I am sick.

One or two weeks later someone told me to have a consultation with an Ayurvedic doctor, a man from India. It was my first time visiting an Ayurvedic doctor. His first question was, “What do you eat?” “Tofu and noodles,” I answered. “Tofu is not food and noodles are not good,” he replied. He gave me some rose tea and asked that I sip the tea. That was it. I sipped the tea and realized how often times my mind was worried and ungrounded. It took the drinking of tea and an Ayurveda consultation to realize I had suffered from what is called a Vata imbalance caused by too much travelling and too much feeling high on God.

The daily routine of yoga and meditation, the tea, the ayurveda herbs, but most of all the awareness of my anxious mind and the conviction that I am well, solved my disease and the lump on my neck disappeared. I just had an infection and the body was just telling me that, no cancer or tuberculosis.

I learned that wellness is our birthright and positive thinking instead of fears and anxieties are essential for health. I also learnt that wellness and disease are part of life, difficult to be labelled. Wellness or disease are not static and not opposing to each other but are dynamic manifestations of the constant movements body-mind and spirit are going through daily.

Spirituality is directly related to wellness as the body is an instrument of the spirit. The body is however limited, even though it is a powerful instrument. Changes in the spirit download higher energy to the body and mind, and sometimes the body needs to collapse to renew and readjust itself to the new journey. All diseases are not bad and sometimes necessary.

~Sharing from Swami Sitaramananda

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