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July 11, 2019

We can be both sick with worry and worried sick. If we’re feeling bad, we often find ourselves panicking, looking around at diets, programs, exercise devices and other fads, trying to stave off ill health. When we get into this kind of panic, we are focusing all our energy on being sick, rather than on being healthy. All that negative energy directed towards our health only produces stress hormones. They go to work immediately, causing inflammation, shutting down our systems and aggravating any susceptibility towards ill health that we may already have. If we can use our focused minds to let go our fear of disease and sickness and instead move forward in the light of appreciating this moment, the health we have in this particular moment, we will not encourage our bodies to generate those damaging chemicals. Instead, our appreciation of the blessings of the present moment will begin to produce serotonin and good feeling, changing our karma. Next time you find yourself feeling “worried sick” or “sick with worry,” whether it is about your health., about your business or about someone you love, let it go. Breathe in deeply, focusing on your inhale. Breath out, focusing on your exhale. If you can, go for a short walk outside. Look up at the sky. Imagine all your worries floating up into the sky, spreading out and disappearing. Once the sky has room to enter your thoughts, notice its color. Perhaps it is bright blue or soft gray or even rolling dark blackish green if stormy weather is brewing. Think about the changing patterns of weather, the power and beauty of the sky, and remember that whatever the weather in your mind right now, your inner skies will clear again. Behind the clouds there is always infinite calmness and peace. As Miao Tsan says in Just Use This Mind: “Concentration is the true source of mental calm. Different kind of mind functioning lead to different energy modalities,which manifest different realms. Different realms imply different forms of existence, and those are the manifestations of various aspects of karma.” (p. 114) If you are worried about getting sick, focus your mind on how healthy you already are. Let those worries go. You might be amazed at how much time is left for healthy practice if you do. And it is by practicing health rather than practicing sickness that we flourish.