The Title is:
LEARNING FROM LYME LITURGY
A Liturgy for taking Chronic Disease, Affliction or Obstacle as Medicine
The Daily Form
There will be three types of commentary, namely ‘How to’ and ‘Explanation’ and ‘Related Observations;’ sometimes these will be clearly separated, sometimes not.
The Title is fairly self-explanatory though here follow some explanations of most of the particular terms used.
Liturgy: could also be called a ‘Chant’ or a ‘Sadhana.’ The ensuing work is a meditation text designed to be chanted out loud, something which immediately joins body, speech and mind in an easy, effective manner.
Learning from Lyme: This is the thrust of the text. Though meditations may later be involved the main way to get through illness is to learn from it so that illness itself becomes both teacher and medicine. Of course this is on the personal, spiritual level and has nothing to do with which sort of doctor you choose to work with or which sort of medicines. There is no implication here that doing this Liturgy is a substitute for doctor-patient care. But the fact remains that Lyme is a very effective teacher. Probably there will be a post soon on this point alone.
Chronic Disease, Afflictions and Obstacles: when beset by difficulties this meditation text will help you handle them. From the point of view of this text, there is nothing all that special about disease beyond that it is difficult to deal with. In the case of Lyme, for example, which is similar to a wide variety of chronic disease syndromes, you might find yourself beset by various combinations and intensities of chronic: insomnia, brain fog, digestive disorders, muscle pains or even paralysis, organ inflammation, emotional instability, depression and so forth, all of which end up with the same overall condition of ‘being sick sucks!’ For an idea of Lyme in particular, you can watch the youtube entitled ‘Under our skin’ which tells the story of a young woman tormented by it. There are many other videos and countless books and articles. This series will not delve into Lyme Disease except insofar as it represents a mild to severe chronic obstacle to be dealt with, one which often requires your full attention and resources to overcome. Marshaling the motivation and force to address it represents some form of life-altering learning process, hence the title ‘Learning from Lyme,’ though you could substitute ‘chronic disease’ for Lyme. I like the alliteration for one thing, and for another it was the original title since that was the specific condition I was dealing with.
But what about ‘chronic obstacles?’ The point here is that if you have any sort of chronic, i.e. long-term, difficulty then no doubt you have chronic issues to address, probably bad habits, an unfortunate situation or whatever, but in any case it has become a part of your life, moreover a problematic one most likely a source of ongoing suffering. Even if you don’t have a specific chronic disease diagnosis per se, if any sort of chronic malaise is allowed to continue year after year, say, most likely you will find yourself coming down with something that can be given a medical label in the near future. Ultimately, it makes little difference what the label is or what medicines you are (or are not) taking for it: the chronic difficulty can be helped with simple meditation practices which burn away the fog of confusion or raise the spirits above any sense of doom and gloom which chronic disease tends to engender in anyone so afflicted.
Medicine: Medicine is usually a physical substance our doctor tells us to take in order to cure whatever ails us. But going to the beach for a week can be a medicine too, or finding a new faith which provides an invigorated sense of purpose in heart, mind and body. Again, this is not to suggest that sick people don’t need to see doctors, just that there are other forms of medicines than those found in pharmacies. The medicine offered in this text is to use meditation as a way to enter into the suffering and confusion of chronic illness and use it as an object of meditation which in turn changes it into something workable, valuable even hence in the title it says to ‘take’ any difficulty as ‘medicine.’ We could also say as ‘teacher’ or ‘blessing’ but medicine works just fine since this Learning from Lyme Liturgy is specifically designed to help those struggling with chronic illness to find a way to raise their spirits and in so doing, hopefully, also help diminish the condition or if not at least diminish the suffering involved with enduring it.
The Daily Form: What follows is the full version of the text which was composed in a particular way in order to address the needs of the author who had been enduring over two months of very serious chronic insomnia such that he was no longer able to practice simple sitting meditation. The exhaustion, the scattered mind, the brain fog were all too much. So the initial part of the text is deliberately a little verbose, the intention being to lasso the mind just by the simple act of chanting something for about ten minutes before attempting any form of meditation whatsoever.
The idea was to present something a little like landscape passing by a train or car window, something interesting to watch passing by without requiring any intellectual heavy lifting so even when certain philosophical issues are raised, as the ensuing commentary will show, the idea is not to delve into them deeply, just let them pass by gently without applying the slightest effort.
The title is not chanted out loud. The text which is chanted begins after the next heading: “Preamble” which will start with the next Post on this blog.