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Are you really sick or just sad?

Living life in the new normal, whatever that means for you, has been new; to say the least. It has brought with it its own challenges. Recently, I've observed that some of us get triggered somewhat more easily. Perhaps living in isolation during this pandemic has taken away more, from mankind who is innately a social being, than it has given.

Some recent encounters have made me question our tolerance levels. Whether they have reduced drastically or perhaps whether those around us are less sensitive or is it simply that our cups are so full (in not such a good way), that it takes very little for us to tip over into a fit of rage, irritation, a melt-down or impatience.

This morning, as my 4-year-old was climbing into the school bus, he inadvertently stepped on my toe while turning back to wave to his little sister. Before I could stop myself, I had fallen prey to the uncontrollable urge to point out how his carelessness had resulted in soiling my big toe.

As he turned back to look at my toe, he very casually said to me, "oh you can just wash it off" while he continued to climb into his school bus. So plainly dismissive of the illogical urgency I had displayed as if my now soiled toe could not somehow be undone! I was left speechless by his remark as I urgently made haste to kiss my wise boy as he left for school.

My not-so-grown-up grown-up child was suddenly tutoring me in deep life lessons. Teaching me the nuances of virtues like patience and detachment. In hindsight, I contemplated why I was triggered so easily by a little muck on my toe. Why was it so important for me to reprimand my child for something so inane?

I quickly realized that wanting to teach your child (a lesson) comes with the territory of being a parent. But often enough, inadvertently so, we are the ones in the learner's seat. Then, recently, one of our group chats with a large number of members had several disgruntled messages. As I scrolled through them on my handheld, curious to find out what had so many people wound up; I soon realized, tiny matters had several in a bind.

Has our threshold for tolerance diminished so drastically? Or are we perhaps so idle that every possible "act of wrong" upsets us? Who really has the power to upset me? Is it all and sundry or is the power still in my hands? Am I still in the driver's seat or is my emotional state in the hands of the media, friends, family, co-workers, and even the passenger beside me on the cramped train?

A few months ago when I had the opportunity to spend a large part of my evening with a cardiologist, owing to my father's sudden heart trouble, I was shocked to hear that healthy youngsters (even those as young as in their mid 20's) were being brought in with sudden heart attacks/cardiac trouble. He said a large percentage of their cases were attributed to healthy individuals who had suffered an emotional setback/tragedy that resulted in a (physical) cardiac condition. Almost as if the heart couldn't take the grief.

For several years I have experienced and later studied this phenomenon of how our emotional state eventually manifests in our physical reality in some way or another. It catches up sooner or later. However, this was my first encounter with a doctor who admittedly witnessed this philosophy in action.

I remember this discussion with him set me thinking about whether we ascribe enough importance to our emotional well-being. Those of us who practice mindfulness (this not-so-new fad that has created quite a buzz) often believe we are "health conscious" or live our lives according to the principles of "conscious living". But what are we really doing on a regular basis to contribute to our inner well-being and emotional-spiritual health?

Is just healthy eating enough? Or do we believe the 10 minutes of deep breathing and yoga are going to save us? Or a 5-minute youtube meditation, while sitting in the back of a cab on our way to work, will ensure we remain in a zen state all day? Or perhaps parroting those positive affirmations every morning will change our outlook on life? Are we in search of transformation inside out or still in the heart of hearts just looking for the quick fix? Are we really ready to discover what self-effort is required for true self-growth? Are we really ready to do the work?

The heart chakra, a.k.a. the anahata chakra is the energetic representation of the physical heart. It is no coincidence that when the heart chakra is overflowing with bottled-up grief, it is unable to function at its optimal level. In the same way, when the grief, sadness, depression, anxiety, and stress levels get too much for the physical body to cope with (contain), it is only natural for it to erupt in some physical form. Be it through a sudden heart attack, panic attack, auto-immune condition causing inexplicable pain, PCOD, tumors, or even the inability to conceive a child in spite of physical health parameters being perfect.

Medical science has still not been able to prove the cause-and-effect relationship between emotional stress and physical well-being. Given how advanced a science it is, were it to figure this one out, to my mind, humanity and healthcare would be touching different highs. Perhaps this discovery would not be very lucrative for the medico-ceutical industry. Then again, whose hands are you choosing to leave your own well-being in?


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