October is celebrated as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the world over. In this article, Sadhguru looks at the process of chemotherapy, and how someone can go through this treatment with the least turmoil.
Q: Sadhguru, I discovered towards the end of last month that I got my second attack of cancer. They said I must go through chemotherapy and radiation and the doctor said my chances of recovery depend on how I’m able to take it. Now, this is where I find myself in a dilemma – how do I take it? Do I calmly accept the drug as it flows into my veins? This is one feeling which I am getting. The other feeling which I am getting is that of fighting back. I just want to know, how should I look at it?
Sadhguru: Coming to the doctor’s statement, “It all depends on how you take it.” Yes, it all depends on how you take it. “Should I fight it?” How can you fight an enemy that you cannot see? And cancer is not somebody. You are the cancer. A part of you has turned against yourself. You can't fight it.
“So what should I do?” It is just that largely, most human beings are always working against himself or herself in some way. If you created a moment of anger, you are working against yourself, isn't it?
So, in some way, most people have some kind of cancer. Only when it manifests physiologically it becomes a medical issue. Till then it is your problem. Now that it’s physiologically manifested for a variety of reasons, fighting cancer is not the way. Fighting for something and fighting against something are two different things, isn't it? And anyway, it's best to take the fight out of it.
If you want a plant to grow and blossom into beautiful fragrant flowers, you can think you are fighting the earth and getting flowers out of it. Or you can see it as a great love affair, that your involvement with the earth gives out such beauty and fragrance for you. The second is a more intelligent way of doing it because your experience will be pleasant. The result we don’t know, it may flower or the cow may eat it up. But whichever way, if your experience of what you are doing is very pleasant, the result will become irrelevant to you.
“Then does it not matter whether I live or die?” It matters, that is why you must do it the way it works. Just because you are a brave man, you will fight and die, that’s of no use to anyone and that’s of no consequence to your life. Maybe it happened your way or it didn’t happen your way, but what is most important is, at least you did the right things. So when death stares you in the face, it's a great possibility. Because it is reminding you that you are mortal, which is not a simple thing. Most people have forgotten that they are mortal, they think it only happens to somebody else. No, it's going to happen to you and me. How it happens is different but it's going to happen to you and me.
So, about how to deal with the cancer, the yogic practices can help you but first go through the allopathic treatment. It's a most aggressive and invasive treatment but it's best to go through that rather than take chances. Medicine is only looking at how to kill the cancer cells, while the yogic systems look at how to improve the healthy cells so that they can take care of cancer by themselves before it even develops. There are many things that can be done in the yogic system, but with cancer, the risk levels are so high and the time allowed is so little, we don’t usually take a chance with that. It's best to go through the treatment and then do other things so that recurrence doesn’t happen.
Editor’s Note: Isha’s latest ebook, Cancer – A Yogic Perspective, gives Sadhguru’s insights on the various causes of cancer and what can be done to go beyond the disease. The book includes methods and practices to help one lead a healthy and joyful life. The book is available on a “name your price” basis. Pay what you want and download it.