Sitting With the Wolf in Stillness

Every morning, I spend an hour in meditation followed by an hour that includes exercise, shower, and breakfast preparation. It is this mind-body connection that begins my day. While I will revisit physical exercise and food preparation, no day opens without meditation.

Empty yourself of everything. Let the mind become still. The ten thousand things rise and fall, while the Self watches their return. They grow and flourish and then Return to the Source. Returning to the Source is stillness, which is the Way of Nature.”
~ Lao Tsu ~
Tao Te Ching

During my recent lupus flare, it was meditation that allowed me to empty and renew myself for the rise and fall of the ten thousand things. It was meditation that allowed me to explore the energy underlying every form of discomfort, the internal investigation as Devaji refers to it.

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When there is internal investigation as opposed to following the external movement,
it is possible to recognize that every form of
discomfort, every problem that is experienced, is happening inside of you.
If you do not have a problem inside, you do not have a problem. The mind will say that it is due to something out there, but where you experience the problem is inside

It is a familiar pattern of mine this looking to the outside for what may only be discovered on the inside. I have done it for almost all of my life but this past year of daily meditation has been a discovery of stillness, which is not to say the mind is ever quiet.

In meditation, which many teachers referred to as “taming of the mind,” there is no effort to reshape or redefine any of our thoughts. In meditation, we observe our thoughts, allowing them to bubble up and away from us without interference, without creating yet another thought.

Rather, we go into the stillness, to the energy producing our thoughts. Always, in meditation there is “light emphasis” on the breath (Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche) to sustain us as we sit in the stillness of our internal investigation, emptying ourselves.

As I understand mindfulness, it is bringing this technique to our day-to-day lives as they play out among the ten thousand things. For me, that means letting one storyline after another blow right past for I am interested in the energy supporting those thoughts. I am seeking the source.

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In this lupus flare, rather than pursuing my usual cause-effect-solution approach—another way of describing this is replacing one storyline with another, albeit a new and untried solution—I sought the source, the stillness, with my breath.

Stillness or “nowness” is placing our awareness on our breath as the thoughts bubble up. The breath is no more manipulated than are the thoughts. The more the breath and mind are observed, the more there is just being, no judgment, just stillness.

Internally investigating my lupus flare allowed me to sit in the energy of the ten thousand things of which my life is just one.  Rather than trying to starve or manipulate the lupus–the wolf–that is also of the ten thousand things, I just sat down with it in relationship.

Flares are never without their gifts nor is it surprising that those flares that burn brightest are always the most generous. This time, the gift of sitting meditation with the wolf has opened the door to a lifetime exploration of the rise and fall of the ten thousand things from the inside out.

Thanks to all of you for your generosity and kindness during this recent flare.

Being Present in Healing

My recent trip to the American West was, among other things, a test of the holistic approach to disease that I have followed for the last 33 months. My approach is perhaps best described within Deepak Chopra’s definition of quantum healing:

“…the ability of one mode of consciousness (the mind) to spontaneously correct the mistakes in another mode of consciousness (the body). It is a completely self-enclosed process” (Quantum Healing).

Essentially, this mind-body consciousness is a type of “intelligence” (Chopra’s term) attempting to restore balance in a body that is diseased. It was this “intelligence” that made sense to me when I first read Chopra’s book in the early 1990s and again in 2010 when I removed myself from medical care.


Undoubtedly, it takes a certain amount of desperation and frustration to walk away from medical science, which is not a route that Chopra, a medical physician, advocates. Rather, he argues that medical science can be a viable partner in working with the innate intelligence of the mind-body connection, with the following caveat:

A man-made drug is a stranger in a land where everyone else is blood kin. It can never share the knowledge that everyone else was born with” (Quantum Healing). In other words, every cell in our body has a kind of intelligence with specific tasks and abilities. All cells in the body work together, ever adjusting to what is occurring.

The inherent intelligence within the mind-body connection is one that medical science has yet to duplicate but it does not mean that medical science cannot assist us in our healing. It can and does–for many. Regardless, awareness of the mind-body intelligence can change our lives just as being aware that every decision we make and every thought we attach to affects our physical body directly and immediately.

That is where stress starts, and with increased stress comes imbalance, and when the imbalance is great enough, there is disease and yes, sometimes irreparable damage. The state of disease for anyone is unique but also may be integral to the individual’s purpose as Anita Moorjani suggests:

The reasons for…illness lie in [our] personal journey and are probably related to [our] individual purpose. I can now see that my disease was part of why I’m here, and whether I chose to live or die, I wouldn’t be any less magnificent” (Dying to be Me).


Disease as a state of health is how one has lived and continues to live. Just as lupus is not cancer—although in both the body is under attack and in both the autoimmune system plays a major role—directing disease is as unique to the individual as is the optimal level of health outcome.

What that outcome is and how long it may take is just as individualistic as is the degree of recovery. At the very least, an awareness of the inherent intelligence of the mind-body connection provides an alternative to  dealing with disease. At the very most, it can change drastically the course of a disease.

The reason why not everyone manages to take the healing process as far as they can go is that we differ drastically in our ability to mobilize it” (Chopra).


My experience with “incurable” disease is limited to lupus and Sjogren’s Syndrome, the current names for the disease that has been present in my body for at least 35 years. Some medical experts have told me autoimmune disease has been present since childhood. As I am now a sexagenarian, that’s a long time.

My last rheumatologist told me, “There’s just so much wrong with you and it’s been going on for so long.” That is probably still true for that rheumatologist and the entourage of doctors “on my case” but it was not true for me.

I was seriously ill, and I knew it, but I believe “when we get in touch with that infinite place within us–where we are Whole–then illness can’t remain in the body” (Dying to be Me). My intention is not to be smug or simplistic–nor am I speaking of mere positive thinking–my awareness of the inherent intelligence within my body-mind connection opened me to how I live as well as how I have lived. It gave me a place to begin some 33 months ago, and for me, it has meant drastic changes.

My life does not resemble the life I once knew, nor will it ever. It is not a life free of disease—not yet and maybe never will be–but it is a life aware of the possibilities in each moment I have. It is a life lived from within, and only now do I see the world as it really is, moment by moment, the only reality I ever have.