THERE is a much overlooked but tremendously positive aspect to the suffering of any physical complaint. And that is that simultaneous to the malady endured, there are portals open and responsive within the individual for necessary change during this period. This change, although marked in the physical makeover (simply through the manifestation of the disturbance in the body's own environment) is the very elemental storm to sweep through - just alike to an electrical charge of a thunderous event - and creates new fields for thinking, and of the revised ego that is determined to express itself now differently.
How often have you yourself entered into a time of physical sufferance and resumed afterwards feeling different about yourself? The changes are changes in the consciousness becoming enabled to dwell within the body and cohabit with a now permanent function.
Many, many times it requires that the physical body is palpably upset before this change can be recognized and remain. Likewise one can witness the folk who have relatively perfect health, traveling their years with little or no fundamental change within their thinking. This is why, for these dear people, that when sickness or complaint does come, and comes in hard, it has been an undeniable change in their external lives which has been the provoking catalyst.
There is often a spin given to this, to say that external circumstances are blameworthy, however it is more of the case that for the very healthy there is little which moves their interior life in a lasting way, and a developing way, and it will take an outer motivation to shock the system into such change, rather than an inner willing per se.
So if a man is challenged by the outer world, inasmuch as he might have lost his wealth for example, and this calls for many changes within his own thinking thereafter, about himself in the main and about managing his fears etc. as well, then ill-health may well follow. In fact, you can count on it; unless he began life poor and has lived according to that all the while.
Yet this is in itself not a sinister reaction at all. One could say that it was misfortune which prompted his physical decline, however it is an adaptive response and not blameworthy in itself. Grief and loss is only one exterior change requiring physical adjustment. To someone who changes from decades of a fortified constitution into sickness, winning the lottery could equally contest the physical just as much as any unwanted occurrence in their life.
An example of all of this lies in respect to one changing one's habits, where the individual is resolute to consciously be different in some better way; and yet the habits prevail over the conscious will, stubbornly fixed - even though the ego of the individual has decided otherwise. So there becomes a distance of time between such deciding and the infilling of being.
Within the higher and deeper aspects of the person there can be desires and also frustration, which calls for change within the material existence; and this is personal to that person (not merely an abstract qualification, but built upon interior reasons and experience) and eventually the working consciousness finds that the impulses coming through from these desires become stronger and more perceptible.
It is not unusual to find scholars and scientists, philosophers and striving men, to all have chronic ill-health in common. That these individuals try to extend themselves beyond themselves, can be of itself enough to call for many changes, firstly in their physical body to accommodate these changes, to then become living members within their own traveling psyche.
Madame Blavatsky took to herself what was given to her (rather than come to in slow and consistent understandings), and endured a painful existence assimilating these truths into a working operation throughout her disabled life. She knew the cause and the consequence and accepted both, fully knowing that by the quality of future living truths, all men will eventually be freed from physical ill-health altogether - that the short-term sufferance was just that.
Rudolf Steiner also bore one physical complaint after another. There are no exact records as to his string of ongoing and repeating difficulties, but he endured them and dealt with this on a daily basis. Unlike Madame Blavatsky, this was not largely caused by the influx of ideas to reconcile within himself, but rather came because of the sword he chose to temper himself with. His whole nature was compelled almost, to explore and discover new spiritual truths and to be able to test them for himself before relating their existence to the world. This also came with a price. An enormous heraldry!
Within the average man it is enough to change within the sphere of personal thinking, to alter the concepts which affect and inflict, enhance or enrich the general perspective. And this occurs more infrequently than commonly. Yet with this soul [Dr. Steiner] there was an avid determination to go beyond his own needs for change in perspective, and pioneer the truths which were then to be given out into the world with a charitable signature from his fresh experience. So even though his ego was well established and quite capable to incorporate a world of ordinary ideas into himself, he took on a bulk which would cause certain death to most, who were ethericly unprepared.
It is also interesting to note, that even the saints whose bodies survived for centuries later uncorrupted, actually endured physical maladies whilst alive! Therefore we may be kind to ourselves and to others, when it comes to considering the metaphysical implications of illness itself. The truth is that we can be sure that it is a condition current to all men, and not specific to just one cause, and can be a necessary benefit for the consciousness and its own health and achieving.
Please do try, when feeling physically under par, not to imagine that by mentally arriving at a set change you will effect a physical cure immediately. The exciting part is that the illness will reveal to you, will deliver to the consciousness the change birthed all of itself - without a feverous struggling or pledge for such betterment.
You will know and recognize the epiphanous moment. It may be that a whole new character transpires, rather than one single concept. It may be that there is a strength experienced, or a holiness, or a quietude. Certain difficulties could dispel, or enthusiasm could renew, resolution can be arrived at, or even simply an acceptance of a reality hitherto rejected. Yet for all of the horribleness physical discomfort brings, there is this gift, every time ('every time': given that we accept it). We are also, according to the highest law of free will always offered the opportunity not to accept it. In this way it can present and represent over and over if prompted by the ego which is undecided.
Another interesting point is, that any physical/egoic battle won over through illness does not need to be readdressed - either in this life or any other. Now firstly it should be said, that there can be a chronic problem which either is the vehicle for much change or symptomatic of none. This cannot be judged by anyone outside of the sufferer, we should add here. As tempting as it is to cast judgments of others, for the point only of testing theory, we must be mindful that primarily these intimacies of being are exclusive to the individual and it is unlawful to even believe that we understand another's entire reasoning or circumstance.
Having said that, if there has been a change brought about during or at the end of this ill period, then that change (until changed) will remain after death in the consciousness and into the next life and beyond.
Sickness is not prerequisite to lasting change by any means, yet at the same time it could be said that given the current homeo-status, it is a necessary adherent to the process at present.
Our relationship to our bodies is a mysteriously, curiously, wonderful subject. It is not a matter of perfunction at all, that we indwell and manifest in the way that we do. As spiritual beings, as little gods, we draw together and maintain an entire cosmic chain of planetary activity that appears as flesh within this world. Our bodies comprise stellar storms and habitat; coherent to both the Will and the Knowing of our Father, and the Creative License of Christ living too.
Given that, it is no small thing when a man should change his mind and endeavor to do so lastingly! The environment of his soul-life is recommenced with a dynamic tantamount to a country changing government. This must be so, because it is not upon whimsy that the higher ego chooses what it does; it is not a frivolous casualty that the soul seeks out beyond itself - it is hard won wherever the pain is manifest.
All foods dull the thinking. If it is nutritious food, the provinces (the stellar community of the fleshly existence) shall live cooperatively in the main. But then if this experience of eating is one which is not nutritious, then the community will be agitated and the original joy of the dull thinking provoked, will be replaced by an illness which calls for a re-examination and a more alert awareness.
Either way there can be pleasures associated with this food-mood, where we are as much consumed by the process as it is by us. Taste is secondary to this pleasure. It is a pleasure one can think little about, because it is a pleasure that negates the thinking once entered into!
Folk have likened the appetite and eating of food to human sexual intercourse and it is not the same at all. (A comment by the way: the two do not translate in principle in respect to this). Also of course, there is the hunger which comes from need being responded to and the charity of the feeding involved; but largely men eat and overeat because it gives a relief out from themselves and dispels their coherent awareness in the process.
Fasting radically is dangerous because it will cause a shock to the etheric and astral vitalities which will then issue a response accordingly (which is undesirable), but fasting with fruit and vegetable juices and pure water, will reorganize the thinking processes wonderfully. It is ever so curious to find the difference that this makes upon the being, that taking food as food (with solid form and chewing and subsequent digesting and overcoming and assimilating) will confuddle the reasoning, whereas pureed and with the original vitality intact, will enhance the reasoning tremendously! So in times of shock, illness, or for the prevention of ensuing illness, we can move to these beverages to help enable the necessary renovations called for in our bodies.
Self mutilation is misguided inasmuch as it does not accomplish a change or a relief within the consciousness, however the individual that goes to this behavior is not only turning upon themselves physically, but is putting their own will upon their own will as well.
It is interesting to see how quickly we do not recognize our former selves once changed; whilst also the former self can contest the new self and vice versa. The will of the current man begging to become something different and preferably better, contests his own self and perhaps also confronts a catalogue of contrary experience and a witness-crowd of complaining ghosts. All because he seeks to change, there are parts of former being he must deny in order to so.
But in the extreme of self mutilation there is also a devastating rage which ensues from the complainant, and this is overall a poor behavior which brings no good - just one more astral calamity. They would be better advised to swap to their juice diet for a couple of days and review their thinking that way!
'Stress' also will be greatly improved by following through with this regime. One day a week given solely to fluids* will give time enough for the mind and body to reorganize harmoniously, whilst also affording special time to the thinking processes which are then freer and more in touch with the ego of the present day man and his future directives pressing in.
During this one day it is most useful to contemplate your own directions, needs and desires and be observant as to what comes before the mind, asking to be addressed in earnest, in working consciousness and following through into your life lived as well. If we are given to these episodes it will follow that the extreme periods of sickness will become alleviated - at least in relation to what could have or would have ensued.
However, if sickness does come upon you, be also excited and comforted with the thought that the phoenix of thought will revise itself out from these demanding times, and watch with a fascinated expectation as to what then follows within you!
*[Obviously fresh is best. The Brothers have warned about the overuse of orange juice. Carrot juice has been recommended previously.]