When is a cold just a cold? And when is a cold something greater, purification? It is true that sometimes a cold is just a cold. Right now I am in the middle of something more than just a cold. How do I know?
On the physical plane we pretty much know where the virus came from. No mystery, no surprise. It is clearly running its course. But on other levels, this illness is just a mechanism for cleaning out whatever needed to be cleaned up. Once we are practicing sadhana, everything is geared to our education and liberation. Even a cold. The people who have contacted me to wish me a swift recovery have related based on their own experience; few are aware that something more is going on.
In my twenties I read the autobiography of the Chinese Zen master Empty Cloud. When he was in his fifties he fell into a river and was dragged out, seriously ill. People were sure he would die, yet that event precipitated his liberation.
In 1978, when I had a resistant strain of malaria, I experienced my own death. I left my body and was no longer Rohini. There was no sense of separation from anything; consciousness and bliss were all that there was. Everything was perfect. A decision was made for me to return to my body; I did not make that decision, for I do not exist in that sense. This was an amazing experience brought about by a horrific illness.
In 1979, when I experienced the dissolution of the world in the waking state, the event appeared to have been precipitated by a life crisis. But just as malaria does not give everyone an experience of the Truth, neither does a traumatic life experience. Baba, my Guru, orchestrated everything for me.
In 2002 and 2003, I was being treated for breast cancer. After my third chemo, while in bed unable to do anything but go deeper within, I had a very powerful experience of how to exit if I needed to. I would never wish chemo on anyone, and I promise that very few people who have undergone it have had the experience I had. It was not the chemo; God and my Guru used the event to further my sadhana.
I have no regrets about any of these events. They have all contributed to my learning what is important and what isn’t. What is true and what isn’t. What is me and what isn’t.
So today, as I look out the window at the finally sunny sky after five days of being miserably sick, I know something is gone. Something has been washed away with all the fluids that left my physical body. It is too soon to know, but the vehicles have made a shift, and I am content to have it that way. I surrendered to being sick and continued to practice, witnessing while also being a full participant. Manifestation is different.
I do not expect anyone to notice; after all, I just had a cold. So much of sadhana is accepting the reality that most people will not recognize the internal workings of the world. They miss much, but it is a choice. And my work is to stay focused on the Heart and learn what I am supposed to learn.
Purification in sadhana gets subtler and subtler. The vehicles may look the same, but once we are no longer identified with our vehicles we are realigned, and all vibration and motivation and manifestation through those vehicles is utterly changed.
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