Overcoming the Fear of Illness
Are you scared of getting sick? Well, that’s a sure way to make yourself sick! Read on to find out what causes this fear and how to grow beyond it.
Sadhguru: Everybody wants to be healthy. At the same time we must understand that once you have a body, illness, old age, and death are natural processes of life. Taking good care of the body is definitely our business but once we have a physical body, we know that illness may happen at any moment. However, if you are paranoid about ill health or death, you will not take good care of the body. The very anxiety of what may happen will destroy the body. If you become excessively concerned about illness or health, that itself becomes an illness. An illness is something that restricts your life. That is why you don't like it. But just the fear of illness also restricts your life.
There are so many people whose fear of illness becomes very strong once they cross forty or forty-five years of age. When they were young, they didn't have this fear because they thought they were immortal! It is only as you grow older that the fact that you are mortal comes to you. Your fear is not of illness, your fear is of the death. Illness is the passage – the first step towards death. You are still not addressing death directly, but you are addressing illness because you know that if illness comes, the other one will follow.
Generally in social situations, people have been going about convincing you that fear of death is natural. Unfortunately, people think that whatever the majority is doing is natural. If the majority of people were smoking cigarettes, people would say smoking is a natural thing. They were saying that a few years ago. Certain groups of people still say, “What's wrong with smoking? It’s only natural.” A human being is not made to smoke. You are not an automobile! Similarly, the fear of death has been made natural by social situations, but it is not so.
If life happens, death is a natural process. Being afraid of a natural process is unnatural. This fear has come because of a certain sense of ignorance and unawareness. We are not in touch with reality and we have gotten deeply identified with this body. This has happened because we have not explored other dimensions. If we had explored and established ourselves in other dimensions of experience, the body would not be such a big issue. But now our whole experience of life is limited to this body. No matter what kind of teachings other people give you, whether somebody tells you that you are atman, paramatman or whatever else, your experience is limited to the physical body. So the fear of losing it is natural. But if you establish yourself in other dimensions of experience, the body becomes an easy thing to handle. Life or death won't make such a big difference.
Atman: Used in Sanskrit literature to refer to the individual's soul.
Paramatman: Used in Sanskrit literature to refer to the universal spirit.