They say it takes seven years for all the cells in the body to fully regenerate. A year ago both my mother and I completed a seven year cycle. Before those seven years both my mother and I were known to be active energetic people. At the beginning of those seven years we both noticed challenges with our health. At first we went about our normal business and hoped it would go away. Instead the challenges became more debilitating and we started a long quest to discover the source of our health issues.
It was quite strange to have constant headaches, extreme fatigue plus a few other odd bodily symptoms. As a yoga and fitness instructor I needed my physical body in order to teach and felt I was expected to be a role model of good health. I could not hide that my painful knee prevented me from leading all of my fitness classes. I never told anyone my muscles seemed to be getting weaker rather than stronger and I was unable to hold yoga poses for as long.
The list of complications I was running into seemed to get longer and longer without any clear evidence from the doctors what was wrong and what to do about it. Through my research I discovered something the doctors should test. To my surprise they listened to my suggestion. That test was the magic ticket to unlock the door of the key issue I was facing. The doctors told me this was a life long disease and I would need to be on medication for the rest of my life.
My initial reaction was one of relief to finally know what was wrong. While suspicious of the validity of the doctor’s statement and disliking the idea of allopathic medicine, I felt I had no other choice but to take the prescribed medication if I wanted to be fully functioning.
In order to make the best of the situation, I also utilized natural forms of healing. Eliminating foods I was allergic to reduced the physical ups and downs I felt. I adapted my diet to be more supportive for me and felt a temporary boost in energy. I also noticed my energy went up or down depending on how willing I was to do something. I read about common emotional challenges people with similar issues faced. I consciously tried to break through those challenges. All of those practices and a few others helped level out how I felt physically.
Three years into the seven year cycle I moved into an Ananda community. I increased the frequency and length of my meditation sessions and brought God into the practice. After a few months I was not feeling well again. After some testing, my doctor told me my body chemistry had changed and I needed to take less medication. Over the next few years a cycle continued where every couple months I would realize I was being overdosed in my medication and needed to decrease my dosage. About a year ago I took my last little bit of allopathic medication prescribed and I have felt great all year. While we do not know if my current state of physical health is long lasting, I attribute the true healing to my meditation practice and devotion to God.
My mother’s story turned out quite differently. The physical battle she faced was much more challenging than mine. She was diagnosed from the beginning with terminal cancer. She went from one type of treatment to another watching her cancer markers drastically go up and down. In addition, she accumulated more and more serious health conditions. A year ago the cancer entered her liver. That seemed to be the final straw and she soon passed away.
It never seemed as if the treatments she received worked. Somehow I always thought she stayed alive due to her will to live. Paramhansa Yogananda stated, “Death cannot ensue as long as the “will to live” is present.” Miraculously I was compelled to visit my mother right before we knew she would pass away. Throughout those seven years it was very hard for her to maintain a positive attitude with all the struggles she faced. Yet another miracle happened; my mother had transformed into the most joyful spirit without a care in the world just like a pure child.
Her final wish in life was to be happy and I believe she got to experience that. While I have been able to see great healing in my physical body, my mother’s feat of learning to be happy in any condition seemed much greater.
“There is no better reviving tonic than smiles. There is no better ornament than a genuine smile. There is no beauty greater than the smile of peace and wisdom glowing on your face.”
—Paramhansa Yogananda, How to Achieve Glowing Health and Vitality