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Hunting down the cause of ME/CFS & other challenging disorders - Lipkin in London
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Suffering and spirituality

Discussion in 'Spirituality and ME/CFS' started by Nielk, Aug 17, 2011.

  1. Wayne

    Wayne Senior Member

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    Is There a Spiritual Purpose for the Negative Power?

    Ni Nielk, Hi All,

    I'm not entirely sure what direction this thread is taking (if any), but thought I would share a bit about my own spiritual path of Eckankar (even though I realize it's not exactly a general interest topic). I wrote a fairly long post on it a couple years ago on the ProHealth board, but it's length and focus may not necessarily be compatible with this thread. So I thought I would just paste the introduction to this post (below) and leave a link for anybody who may want to read it. The post is entitled:

    Is There a Spiritual Purpose for the Negative Power?

    The introduction below is the same as in the post, so if you do click on the link, go directly to the main text below the dotted line. Thanks all for your contributions. Nielk, I've been surprised and fascinated by some of the things you've mentioned about Judiasm. Had just never heard them before and found it very interesting.

    Best, Wayne
    ....................................................................

    Written on 4/23/09

    Ive been considering this post for quite some time, but havent been sure about how to approach it. I finally decided to just sit down and give it a whirl and see how it progressed. I should mention at the outset that much of what Ive written will contrast significantly from the Christian perspective on this subject. It will also likely be quite different from anything anybody may have read. Not sure if that leaves me between a rock and a hard place as there may not be anybody who will be happy with my little dissertation. :)

    I would expect however, that anybody who reads further will take it all with a grain of salt. I should mention also that Im not posting this to try to convince anybody of anything. For those who have read some of my previous posts, you may recall that I feel that unduly trying to influence anothers beliefs without their permission is against the spiritual law.

    My hope then, is that there will be some appreciation for a presentation of a perspective that may be unfamiliar. And whether is makes sense or not, will be accepted as an interesting perspective that some people ascribe to. I personally find this perspective to be the most plausible of all the ones Ive come across (and Ive come across quite a few in my time).

    Also, I would describe what Im writing as somewhat of a synthesis of the words that have been written on this subject from the many books on Eckankar Ive read over the years. I dont have the time or energy to go back and review all of this material, so please accept this as just one persons synthesis, and not necessarily truly representative of Eckankars position. I do think however that they are fairly close.

    Which brings to mind one more item. I believe that all outer teachings (including those of Eckankar) are fallible, and should be read and evaluated with a certain degree of flexibility. This is in contrast to the infallible inner teachings/guidance (directly from Spirit) that I believe is with all people at all times. For example, an outer teaching can encourage us to love our neighbor as ourselves. But how do we know if were perhaps being less than kind, or less than tolerant, or less than patient... in any given moment unless we have Spirit guiding us through every moment of our daily lives? So with this introduction to what follows, hopefully youll know whether its in your interest to read further.

    Best to All, Wayne
     
  2. Ember

    Ember Senior Member

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    My intent here wasn't to purchase interfaith harmony through compromise. Some years ago, I attended an interfaith conference where different faiths found much in common, without seeking compromise at all. In fact, we celebrated our differences because of the richness we had to share.

    I did notice, though, that we tended to be of the more mystical strands of our faiths. I remember workshops on Kabbalah, on Sufism and on Centering Prayer...and the Dalai Lama led us in meditation.

    I won't pretend that the Jewish representatives felt as comfortable in a church as we wanted to make them or that a text wasn't left behind, seeming to suggest for Christianity an exclusive role. But for me and others, the familiar labels weren't as defining anymore.
     
  3. Nielk

    Nielk

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    Hi Wayne,

    I just finished reading your post explaining "Eckankar". I was very fascinated by it and awed by the fact of the many similarities with Judaism.

    The concept of souls being created in heaven and being sent down for the purpose of spiritual growth is also the concept in Judaism. The soul needs to be refined and elevated to different higher levels and one way to achieve this is through suffering. In addition, in Judaism there is the concept of "tikkun Olam" - literal translation: "improving the world". So, the soul has the personal job of elevating itself to higher level of spirituality and in addition leaving a positive mark in the world.

    The beginning that you describe certainly sounds like the Garden of Eden which you mentioned. In Judaism, it is only after Adam and Eve were expelled from the garden that they developed a moral conscience. (It says - they were embarrassed for the first time)

    Question: According to Eckantar, are all souls created with the same or similar Karma?
    Question: Do individual souls ask for the challenge of suffering or was this done by all souls together?

    The concept of Evil, Devil, Satan also appears in Judaism. God gave Satan power in order to give a balance of good and bad in this world, therefore giving man the option of choice.

    For example, many Jewish commentaries believe that with the story of Job, God gave Satan the nod to perform all the suffering he endured, in order to "test" him and as we know he came through with flying colors and therefore achieved a much higher level of his soul.

    This is what we are taught too.
    It is interesting to note that the most popular philosophical question being why do bad things happen to good people, can be explained by this question. What we perceive as bad, might be the opposite. It gives the soul an opportunity to become more spiritual.

    This brings it back to my original topic of suffering and spirituality. How are they linked?

    Thank you Wayne for your post.
     
  4. LisaGoddard

    LisaGoddard Senior Member

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    Hi, My having suffered and been homebound for many years has not affected my faith. It did not take my own suffering for me to know that there is great pain and trouble in the world. I knew those things before it touched my life personally.
    And in truth, God has come so much closer to me over these years - it would be a lie to say that Jesus has abandoned me, rather the opposite has happened. When I became a Christian many years ago, God gave me the promise 'I will never leave nor forsake you' and has kept to this promise. This doesn't mean that I will always feel God's Presence, my faith does not depend on that, nonetheless I have felt it deeply. Because of this in the midst of being perplexed and bewildered, I have also experienced profound joy.
     
  5. kurt

    kurt Senior Member

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    This may be getting OT for the thread, but absolutely fascinating, thanks for sharing that Nielk!

    Reminds me of another temporary remission story, I corresponded with a Swiss man a few years ago who had a temporary ME/CFS remission after taking the hallucinogenic Ayahuasca drink in Central America, which includes DMT in some type of natural form. He even felt his normal strength returning, could pick up heavy things for a few hours, etc.

    Also, in your case, given you have ME/CFS, perhaps you did not clear the drug as rapidly as the drug company thought possible, many of us clear drugs more slowly.

    And this all makes me wonder about the neurological nature of ME/CFS, perhaps there is something in the sensory ganglia as others have been discussing, and maybe that drug somehow stopped the neurochemical pathology for awhile.

    In fact, I have wondered whether the endorphins from exercise can do that in patients who are healthy enough, maybe one of the mechanisms of graded exercise when it works. I can not exercise much but notice when I swim (more like pretending to swim, maybe 50 ft slow backstroke on a good day), I feel great for hours afterwards, and swimming moves the vertebrae around, perhaps releasing endorphins into the dorsal ganglia...
     
  6. madietodd

    madietodd Senior Member

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    OK, Nielk, you took the thread off in this direction, so I'm running with it. Do any of you know the literature about people with multiple personality disorder? Some people are diabetic (insulin-dependent) in only one personality. Some only need glasses for one "self." Talk about re-booting!
     
  7. Nielk

    Nielk

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    Thanks Kurt for your interesting input.
    Your Swiss friend's experience is amazing to me personally because I've been searching what mechanism took over in my brain to affect such a tremendous change. I have since then tried the Xyrem again. Taking the chance of going through this scary event, just to get relief from my suffering even if it is just for a short time. I could not repeat it because I had immediate adverse effects to the drug. I have been entertaining (not seriously - just thinking about it) to try some kind of hallucinogenic drug to see what would happen. I recently watched a documentary about Ram Dass. He was a Harvard professor before he was fired for abusing LSD. It seems like there was a whole group of these professors who got hooked on the drug and it made them very spiritual. That is why he traveled to India in search of more spirituality and finally found it in the practice of Buddhism.
     
  8. Mr. Cat

    Mr. Cat Senior Member

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    Madietodd,

    I looked up the bit about MPD and diseases and found some information about it here: http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview?id=507735.)
    The researcher found several anecdotal reports referencing "studies," but the studies themselves were either questionable or unable to be located. I've heard this said before too. If it is true, it would point at the unconscious being able to radically alter the body in ways the conscious mind cannot. If it is just an urban myth, it is still an interesting one.
     
  9. madietodd

    madietodd Senior Member

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    I'll go look for references when I get a chance. I read this in books, when I was doing my masters in psychology. Not that they let me study this stuff! But it was in books................a long time ago.

    OK, I read your link, and it looks like the same ideas, at least, as what I read all those years ago. You're not going to find "studies" because the information came from psychiatrists writing about individual patients. I'll do some digging.

    Madie
     
  10. Mr. Cat

    Mr. Cat Senior Member

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    I think a lot of the early LSD pioneers experienced glimpses of spiritual "states" that whetted their appetite for more spiritual study, allowing them to access such states without drugs and for longer periods. I don't know much about LSD, but know that other halucinogens such as mushrooms, peyote, and ayahuasca are purgatory and "poisonous" even to a healthy person's body, and a CFS body might not react to this kind of stress very well. It is tempting, though, with all the other things we try!
     
  11. madietodd

    madietodd Senior Member

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    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0hxmctJywJc&feature=related

    I just found this. It's a MP talking with her therapist, as 4 of her personalities. At 4:44 minutes the therapist asks if any of the personalities have allergies, and there's a discussion for about 3 minutes. It's amazing to watch the woman switch amongst her selves.
     
  12. hope love light

    hope love light

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    Do you feel that suffering has made you a more spiritual person?

    Yes, after I got sick 21 years ago I had to re-define who I was as a person. We all get so wrapped up in what we do for a living (or what we did I should say), and it was very hard for me to let that all go. I got sick at the age of 25 when i was just starting to move up the corporate ladder and define "me" and then I went down the rabbit hole into hell so to speak.

    I did not find religion, although I was raised in the catholic faith, what I found was more of a spiritual connection. I began, when I felt better, to meditate, chant, talk to shamans and some spiritual teachers. I took reiki courses etc. Just really finding a connection with nature, spirit guides and angels. I think I have lost some of my way and my path and I need to get back to that spiritual connection again, as it helped me in the past so Thank You for the reminder (not that the universe didn't kick me in the ass to tell me).

    Have you become more sensitive to other people's pain?

    I have always been the kind of person to take in a stray dog so to speak. I have always been the person to stand up for others when they could not do it for themselves. So yes I have always had empathy for people, I guess it is just heightened now that I am sick. The harder thing for me is to be the one receiving the empathy :( I need it but I don't want it at the same time.

    Did your view on life change?

    Yes but I think that it is still evolving and we are never done.
    Ask me tomorrow :)

    Have your priorities in life changed?

    Yes I see people, family and friends with so much more love. I know that money is not the answer and that love is, but that maybe just comes with maturity. Then again maybe it never comes for some people as greed abounds in this world for many.

    Namaste,
    Hope Love Light
     
  13. Sallysblooms

    Sallysblooms P.O.T.S. now SO MUCH BETTER!

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    Great post Lisa...:hug:
     
  14. Nielk

    Nielk

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    Hi Mr. Cat,

    Of course you are right. I am very tempted though to try it once because of the history that happened to me. A psychologist once told me that some group of psychiatrist used LSD type drugs to affect a change in the brain and were able to cure some people I don't remember for what though. Amazingly, it kind of makes sense to me. The brain controls all the functions of the body, so a shift in the brain should affect something in the body. The danger of course is that it would be a stab in the dark. It might make me worse or develop an additional problem.
    That glimpse of spiritual states that you talk about is addictive. Once you experience something like that, it makes ordinary state like a black and white movie.
     
  15. Nielk

    Nielk

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    Hi Hope Love Light (your name is very appropriate to your answers)

    Thank you for posting your answers.
    It sounds like you were already a spiritual person but, this experience has strengthened your spirituality and your values.
    This is the reason that I posted these questions to begin with. Sometimes, we don't even realize the changes that we are going through because they might be subtle or we just don't think about it.
    I was pretty sure that most people would answer with positive changes which when you logicaly think about it, it doesn't make sense. It would make more sense for us to become embittered, angry, lose faith and spirituality. Yet, the opposite is happening.
    This realization that something positive is happening to us while in the midst of suffering and despair should elevate us. We should be grateful for this. I know I am. It's like one rose among a prairie of weeds.
     
  16. Recovery Soon

    Recovery Soon Senior Member

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    Great Thread.

    I examine these issues daily since getting CFS 5 years ago. Prior to CFS I was what you would call a very spiritual person. Since my onset I have redoubled and tripled my efforts and faith- and made the major thrust of my life discovering my higher purpose.

    A big part of this process has been a complete immersion into mindfulness meditation- 45 - 90 mins daily and a couple 7 days intensive, silent retreats per year. All of this has dramatically changed my relationship to suffering and pain.

    Last week I pushed this into the extreme - I embarked on an 11 day intensive meditation retreat that is considered "Boot Camp." It was overly harsh- 4AM Wakeup- 12 hours of sitting practice a day- no dinner at night- and a somewhat cultish environment.

    ON Day 4 I got extremely ill. By night 5 I felt like I was going to die- literally. That lasted for 3 days straight and I went moment to moment debating if I should stay or leave- in silence. Perhaps the more skillful decision would have been to leave- hut I decided to use this unique opportunity to study pain & suffering in the most extreme cases available- thinking that maybe some medicine would come from it.

    On Sunday when I got back I experienced psychotic like symptoms- extreme anxiety- disassociative symptoms from my body, extreme spaciness, inability to make decisions, etc... Keep in mind I am a very grounded emotionally strong individual with high self esteem, strong family, friends, etc. I called a friend who does not have CFS who did the retreat with me and he was experiencing the exact same symptoms. Within 2 days in the exact same timeframe both of our symptoms abated. Suffice it to say I will not be retuning to that place or particular style.

    Yesterday, I suddenly felt the ground shifting beneath me and though "Here we go again." Turns out it was an earthquake- and the mental equilibrium is fully restored.

    My point in all this is that i have made some risky decisions to explore spirituality in it's fullest and most extreme ways to understand the lessons I am being dealt with CFS...to search for my "Meaning" ala Victor Frankl. if this current experience will pay any dividends to that end I don't quite know at this point.

    But I will continue exploring so that if I am ever cured I will know that I made the best possible use of my time in the cage.
     
  17. Nielk

    Nielk

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    Hi recovery soon,

    Thank you for sharing your personal experience. What courage you have! Your strong will to find spirituality amids all this shines through. You are truly inspiring. I hope you continue on this path of growth, that you find what you are seeking and mainly that your health get restored.
     
  18. Nielk

    Nielk

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    From reading back these posts, I get the feeling that so many of you were spiritually inclined to begin with yet, grew in your spirituality regardless of all adversity. What a group of upstanding, courageous, inspiring people. Thanks to all.
     
  19. laura

    laura Senior Member

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    Thanks Nielk for starting a great thread.

    I was already very spiritually oriented when I developed M.E. So for me, the suffering of M.E. has not particularly increased this. Though I've experienced some interesting things in my search for healing! That is one thing that has changed as a result of living with M.E. -- I have expanded my spiritual horizons, so to speak.

    Also, my faith has definately helped me survive and sometimes thrive. In my darkest hours it reminds me that all is not darkness. That the darkness is an illusion. Or a temporary, partial reality.

    And while I do think that living with M.E. has made me more compassionate in some ways (forced me to re-think that 'people should pull themselves up by their bootstraps' mentality I didn't know I had!),
    mostly I find that when I'm having a relapse, my ability to consider other people is severely compromised. The more healthy I am, the more physical, mental, and emotional energy I have to give to others.

    There have been so many kind people who have gone out of their way for me because of the M.E.; I am always very excited when I have enough energy to reciprocate in some way.

    As an aside, love the discussion on NDE's, reincarnation, etc. Part of my spiritual exploration led to personal memories of reincarnation. Didn't affect my health in any way, unfortunately, but SO interesting! :)

    And I wanted to give a shout out to the person (can't recall now) who mentioned that the meaning/purpose of suffering is not just for the suffering person but also for the other confronted with the sufferer. Thank you for reminding me of this.
     
  20. Nielk

    Nielk

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    Hi Laura,

    Thanks for sharing your inspiring experience.

    This makes a lot of sense. It is only understandable that the stronger you feel physically, the more one is able to think of others and be/act compassionate towards them.


    Care to share? I am intrigued by these personal stories. I also think there are lessons we can learn from them

    Thanks a lot,
    Nielk
     

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