Boon to the Bedridden

In movies, when we see a person shackled, often there is a tremendous physical struggle. The distraught prisoner has no chance of escaping the restraints, but that does not mean he or she will not vigorously try. As time passes, in many cases, the captive learns that chances for freedom are much greater if he or she uses the mind, not the body, to subdue fears, come to terms with the situation, and formulate a game plan for survival and eventual emancipation.

From experience, I can say the transition from being a normal, functioning person to becoming a bedridden patient feels much the same way, like an unfair sentence to the dungeon. In these cases, the physical struggle is futile, for the body has been dealt its blows. Oh, but the spirit!–it’s the inner voice that cries, “No. NO! Not this. Not me. NOOOOO!” even when the tears have stopped, or for some, in lieu of them at all. In a matter of time, the jargon is reduced to this: “What good is my life anyway? I’m just a waste of space.”  To say it feels like a desperate situation is an understatement.

What I learned, though, is that the mind is so very capable of resilience and can restore a sense of order at a much faster pace than the body’s healing timeline–if we put forth the effort. We can make peace with these foreign limbs and organs our spirit inhabits. We must–if we are to be liberated in the most important of ways.  To borrow from a cliche, a footless journey of a thousand miles indeed begins with one mental step.

Times like this caused me to reflect, “What is it about being up and doing that is seemingly linked with my identity?”  Exploring this would take a whole other post.  For now, let me share this: Our brain can provide the breakthrough after one critical truth is faced: our bodily existence does not entirely define us.

Just as a prisoner will realize that controlling the mind will lead to the best outcomes, a bedridden patient must acknowledge the same. It requires digging deep and realizing that all the activities one has been doing originated with thoughts.  Getting dressed, driving around for errands, visiting with friends, going to work, exercising, and all other ‘regular’ daily tasks were always done intentionally, even if our mind was wandering and we weren’t fully present.

And so mustering up thoughts with great intention is not only where healing begins for the bedridden soul, it is where one comes to learn more about one’s true identity. You can come to know more intimately the seeds (thoughts) that have propagated the fruit (actions) you’ve yielded in days past. It will occur to you the physical actions you once considered the entirety of your individual manifestation to the world is just one portion of the masterpiece of your being. I have heard that our body is but an instrument of our mind, and this what what I mean to underscore.

So should this message ever reach a bedridden ‘captive’ who is battling shock, depression, an identity crisis, suicide, apathy, or any derivatives of such, I now offer you this balm: without moving a muscle, you hold the power to hush fear,  produce the compass by which to reorient, and mastermind a plan that surpasses survival. You indeed can live freely, never to be bound again to the untruth that a healthy body is required to contribute to and change the world.


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