I found myself sitting this morning eating my breakfast, and was overcome with noticing a general feeling of wellbeing and the joy of simply being alive.
I was doing nothing special, and yet even the act of eating my croissant felt special. Something so ordinary, and yet extraordinary at the same time. It brought tears to my eyes.
My life is very different to what it was when I first began this journey of exploring the Three Principles all those years ago. I feel connected to this inner space of wellbeing much more than ever.
That isn’t to say that my life doesn’t feel challenging at times. It also doesn’t mean that I don’t still get grumpy (just ask my wife)!
For as long as I am living and breathing on this planet, I am always going to find some things challenging, and always have my ups and downs. That’s just the human condition.
But it’s no longer a problem, and it’s not something I have to resist. Something I saw about life over the course of the last few years has completely changed my relationship to all of these things.
Back in 2014 when I first enrolled in Supercoach Academy and did my apprenticeship with Michael Neill, the understanding I gained helped me hugely. Yes I found myself feeling more and more at ease with life. Yes I found myself far more creative, and yes I became a better coach.
But the biggest gift was a recovery in my health.
Since 2007, when I contracted some unknown virus, I had never really properly recovered, even though my blood results normalised after just a few weeks. I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue and by 2014, even though I had made some progress, I still found myself dogged by symptoms of fatigue, heat intolerance, headaches, vertigo and nausea. It severely limited my ability to do things, and I was beginning to think that these final symptoms would never go away.
But after seeing more about the nature of the human experience and the way my mind worked, but also critically how the way I interacted with my mind had an effect on my physiology, the symptoms began to go away. In fact, I stopped worrying about them altogether. Recovery followed astonishingly quickly, and I wrote a little blog about it here.
A little surprisingly perhaps, I had actually shied away from coaching others with similar problems. As I look back there was some part of me that wondered if perhaps I was an exception, or that maybe I had been misdiagnosed in the first place.
That began to change in the middle of 2015, when my wife and I bought our new house. Whilst we were speaking with the vendor, the conversation moved to our respective families, and he began to tell me about his grand-daughter, who had literally been crippled by chronic fatigue for the last 5 years. She had tried everything to get better and nothing had worked, and as I listened to the story, I found myself offering to help.
Yes – in the back of my mind was the nagging doubt about my own journey, and a whole bunch of thinking like “who am I to help her with this, after all I’m not a doctor”? But I figured things were already pretty bad for this poor young girl, at the very least I might be able to provide a comforting space and an understanding ear.
When I met this young girl – her attendance at school was down to 26%. She had a litany of physical symptoms ranging from chronic stomach pains, migraines, and fatigue. She had even spent time on crutches due to the huge amount of pain that she had been in. She had lost all hope of passing her exams, and was barely able to study.
Her story was very familiar to me. Here was a previously active and bright girl, who one day got a virus and never really recovered – a situation that mirrored very closely my own circumstances. She had basically been told that no-one knew when she was going to get better, and was so upset at the deterioration in her life and in her school performance that she was desperate to find a solution.
I began by simply listening to her story. She was clearly a high achiever previously, and was used to pushing herself to make things happen. That same approach had been adopted here as part of her recovery, and it was obvious that, understandably, she was trying to manage her energy and her life in general, in a largely unsuccessful attempt to get things done. Things were not improving either, as the closer she got to her GCSE exams, the more she felt the pressure to achieve. Her symptoms worsened as a result.
It occurred to me that, similar to myself when I was sick, she did not see clearly that her wellbeing was something innate. This misunderstanding fed into this need to control her life, and it was compounded by fearful thinking that if she didn’t manage to achieve those outcomes, bad things were going to happen.
So there was a lot of pressure, and stress. Being on the outside of this, it was also very familiar to me. I had been a master at creating stress in my own life, and one of the things that had opened up for me during my journey was seeing that this stress was internal, and unrelated to circumstances. Moreover, I had seen, through physical test results conducted on myself by my doctor, how being so stressed so often could overstimulate the body’s fight or flight response resulting in a physiology that not only becomes depleted, but also doesn’t have the opportunity to repair or detoxify itself properly. Over time this could cause a multitude of baffling symptoms that appear to have no biological cause.
It occurred to me that perhaps the same thing was going on with this lovely young girl, and that if she could see this, it might help her to recover?
I began to share with her what I seen about the nature of the human condition from my own life, and how we can find the wellbeing that we seek without needing to control our circumstances. We looked towards understanding more of our Spiritual nature and seeing that our feelings don’t come from our circumstances, but from the Principle of Thought brought to life by Consciousness in each and every moment. We spoke about the effect that seeing this truth has on our performance, and how in fact it is when we are not caught up in our heads trying to mould our lives, that often we are most creative and connected to a state of mind where ideas just come to our head, and we just ‘know’ what to do with our lives, without having to think or worry about it.
This was something she really related to, as she told me that, as an artist, there were times when she could just paint really well when she didn’t think about it. She contrasted this to the huge amount of effort and worry that was going into ‘trying to do well’ in her other school subjects.
I shared with her more about the Principle of Mind – this overriding Spiritual formless intelligence that is behind everything and does not need or require our input to manage life. I remember pointing out to her that in the same way this energy grows trees and makes the sun shine, it also managed her digestion, heartbeat and energy levels. I shared how trying to work out how to deal with my own energy levels during my own recovery, actually tended to create so much stress in my mind, that it would feed into this physiological depletion that was causing the fatigue. What I was suggesting to her, and what I had seen myself, was that having energy was a natural state, and that we actually took ourselves away from that place to the degree to which we engaged with worrying thoughts about our health and our symptoms that perpetuated the (very real) illusion that we were chronically ill.
As we worked together, I watched her mind settle. I watched as her insights around the human condition bubbled up and she stopped worrying so much about what was going to happen if she couldn’t get better and pass her exams. She accepted that she was going to do the best she could but saw that if the worst happened, she had this inner resource of wisdom that would guide her forwards. Consequently, she started to enjoy each moment of her life more and went ‘Home’, to the place within that I described at the beginning of this blog. Interestingly from that place her studies improved, because there was so much more energy in her body and space in her mind to be able to engage with her work.
And you know what’s cool. She got better! She made a full recovery after being sick for 5 years!
It seems clear to me that, like me, the settling of her mind stopped the depleting effect on her physiology and allowed this greater intelligence of ‘Mind’ to do what it was built to do – which was restore her body to normality. She wrote me a testimonial at the end of the process (you can read it at the end of this blog). When I got it it made me cry. It was truly humbling to see the transformation.
But it gets better!
Whilst I say I don’t have a huge amount of proof that this deeper understanding is a definitive ‘recipe’ for recovery from Chronic Fatigue, these results have been repeated two more times since.
As part of a community project for the Advanced Track of this years Supercoach Academy, I decided to take on more work in this area to broaden my experience.
I worked with another lady, who had been sick for 23 years with Chronic Fatigue. Her life was severely limited by an array of symptoms ranging from fatigue, headaches, vertigo and a chronic skin problems. After 2 months of working with her, she reported to me that she was no longer ill and all her symptoms had disappeared, with the exception of the skin condition, which she reported had drastically improved.
The third was a colleague on this years Supercoach Academy. She had been unable to attend any of the overseas events in person due to ill health and the concerns she had about her energy levels, which has been limiting her ability to continue working. She had been diagnosed with a thyroid issue and was receiving treatment for that, which did not seem to be helping.
However, after just three coaching sessions, she had a breakthrough and saw that she had lived her life trying to control everything in her life in an effort to be okay. After realising that ‘being okay’ was her natural state, she too went back to this space of ‘Home’, and the recovery she has made so far, even after a short period has been dramatic. She was able to join the last weekend of the academy and make the 11 hour long haul air trip with no issues at all.
I was truly humbled at the transformations I witnessed! But perhaps not so surprised.
I have seen time and time again people make transformations in their life as a result of really beginning to see the truth and fact of the Three Principles. Breakthroughs in their work, their careers, their practices and their relationships. But none of those have touched me quite as much as these three stories. Perhaps that’s because the plight of these individuals felt so personal to me. I must admit that seeing them transform has helped me to see a greater intelligence even behind my own period of sickness. After all, had I not gone through what I had, I am not certain that I would have been able to help these clients as much as I have done.
But you may wonder, am I saying that this understanding will help anyone to heal from anything? Well no. I can’t say that. I have a limited experience with this so far and from what I see our bodies are mortal. No matter what, they do eventually break and die. And not only that, my experience tells me that illness may not actually always be ‘bad’. In my case it seemed to serve a much greater purpose, which only became clearer with the benefit of hindsight.
But what I see here is that no matter what challenges someone faces, there is actually only really one challenge, and that is to find and remember that ‘Home’ – this place of inner wellbeing – is always within us. It’s the space within where new thoughts are created and ideas and solutions are born. It’s the place where this Spiritual intelligence of Mind is working through us in each and every moment. It’s also, it seems, an extremely important ingredient in the healing process.
But you know what? What I see is that even if people don’t heal, maybe it doesn’t matter. At the end of the day we are Spiritual beings having a human experience. Most of us forget our Spiritual identity and so become obsessed with refining our human experience. But what if our attempts to heal are helping to lead us back to our Spiritual Self? Perhaps that’s the real gift that’s on offer as we navigate the challenges of life? Perhaps that’s what those challenges are all beckoning us to remember?
With love as always,
Alison Testimonial – click to play.