I was incredibly honoured recently to be able to attend a talk in Sydney with His Holiness, The Dalai Lama on his recent tour of Australia. I instinctively knew that there was something he had to say that would relate to CFS and that I could bring back to you. Scribbling notes in my little notebook in the dark while he was talking was such a thrill and I’d love to share with you all some of my insights into how his message relates so clearly to CFS/ME and to our individual and collective journeys.
The one thing I was left with above all else after the event was the incredible spirit, kindness and love radiating from this amazing man. He is incredibly witty, has an amazing sense of humour (click here for further proof!), but most of all he truly speaks from his heart, unafraid of what anyone might think or of other people’s agendas. His message is one of love for all, and he sees himself not as any kind of Guru or anointed messenger , but as a simple Buddhist monk. His humility and kindness of spirit were seen through the whole talk in the way he interacted with everyone around him. He truly is an incredibly special human being and I’m eternally grateful to have been able to hear him speak in person.
4 Lessons from The Dalai Lama
Everyone wants to be happy with no problems at all in their lives, but people create their own problems- they become a “slave of emotion”. Wow- this was definitely me throughout my illness, even towards the end when I knew it was all coming to an end. I kept obsessing about my health, and made my fearful thoughts into self-fulfilling prophecies. If you’re constantly thinking about CFS and all the ‘what ifs’ that play a huge part in it, then you end up being caught in a vicious circle that it’s incredibly hard to get out of. I know, I know- how the hell are you supposed to think about anything else when you’re feeling like this, right? You need to get out of your head and into your heart. Meditation is also amazing (trust me, I know people talk about meditation all the time, but it really is unbeatable).
Move away from the fear that you’re going to get worse if you go for a walk outside when you feel like it. Get someone to go with you- what’s the worst that can happen? You’ll come back to bed and give yourself a huge pat on the back, or you’ll get outside, discover that it’s too much and come back inside. Most of all, if you take these steps, you’re ever closer to cracking that fear barrier- what’s stopping you?
Relating to lesson 1, check in with your emotions frequently- are you actually causing negative emotions by beating yourself up about your illness? Are you being too hard on yourself? CFS is an illness where I’ve found to my detriment that the more you fight it and deny what is, the worse it gets. Acceptance is key. Mindfulness is key.
“Your happiness is my happiness. Your suffering is my suffering”- I wish I’d heard this when I was very ill and to a certain extent, took my anger out on my family and friends. All they wanted was for me to be happy, healthy and well. At the time, I interpreted it as them not accepting my illness and accusing me of being lazy. Cut your loved ones some slack, cut yourself some slack. As The Dalai Lama says, “Do not let anger develop- this is the real meaning of forgiveness“.
*(This is also the main reason I set up this website, so you can connect with others in a similar position to you and know that we share our dark times. You are not alone.)*
“Fear eats away at the immune system”- wow. This is something we all need to hear right now. When your body is in a perpetual state of fear, there is no room for love and your health suffers. Most of the time, you are not doing this consciously- your illness was not deliberately and consciously brought on by you. But perhaps the fear that led you into CFS caused your immune system to suffer and not let your body do its job properly. It’s far from easy, but learning to lean in to love and away from fear, is a life practice, but one that will reward you greatly.
Let me know what you thought about these lessons- did any of them ring true for you? Comment below!
Leaning into love, Katie xxx