Transforming aging and illness into the path

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The following is excerpted from a letter Bob sent to the Abbey.

It has been a year since my knee surgery, and my knee is now just like a normal knee. What has proved even more challenging is my experience and diagnosis with Parkinson’s. It has allowed me to practice deep acceptance, presence, mindfulness, and slowing down!

I asked myself: How will I use this ripening of karma in my life to nurture deeper wisdom and bring this disease into my spiritual practice? I contemplated my life situation and what life has taught me so far and set my intention for my new journey:

If it’s better for me to be ill,
I pray for the blessing of illness.
If it is better for me to recover,
I pray for the blessing of recovery.
If it’s better for me to die,
I pray for the blessing of death.

–A mind-training tradition prayer

Bob giving a talk at Sravasti Abbey in front of the Chenrezig Hall altar.

Bob Wilson at Sravasti Abbey

I vow to bloom where I am planted  and to let go of my own suffering.

I wanted to manage my “earth suit” (body) and at the same time not create a solid self. I started to look within and ask myself: Who is sick? Am “I” my illness? Can I maintain my awareness and presence as I notice what arises in my body, mind, and emotions? Can I let go of rejection, impatience, and fear? If I do, what happens to my mind and emotions?

I chose to set my motivation: May whatever symptoms that arise in my earth suit be a teaching for me. May I use them to deepen my compassion and wisdom and may be a blessing to all beings in every realm. I remind myself that I am a caretaker of the earth suit that my consciousness is associated with in this life. The body is not who I am in totality.

With deep appreciation for our wonderful Abbey community….which brings peace to a chaotic world!

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