Desire is part of the human experience. It can take many forms, like a physical desire for food when you are hungry or the emotional desire for companionship when you are lonely. Traditional Buddhism teaches the dropping of desire because it can lead to suffering. Usually desire breeds more desire. We desire something until we achieve it or possess it. Before too long the satisfaction fades and we are desiring something different. It can be the never ending cycle that is hard to break free from.
However desire is not a bad thing. The Dalai Lama in speaking of detachment said; “Detach(ment) does not mean to give up desire. Desire must be there. Without desire, how can we live our life? Without desire how can we reach Buddhahood?”
For a long time I rejected my desires. I pushed them aside to please others. I ignored them because I thought they could never happen for me. They were repressed so deeply that I hardly recognised them any longer. When I was diagnosed with cancer in 2008 I shed my skin and became raw and vulnerable. My heart’s desire at long last could push through to the surface. It was undeniable and much larger and stronger than any of the layers I had hidden it beneath. It was to have a family. The first step was to acknowledge that desire, to embrace it whole heartedly as my truth. The next step was to believe that it would happen to me, to understand that I deserved it. That no matter how wounded or unworthy I felt I was, that my heart’s desire would always trump the lies of my mind. Then I surrendered it to the will of the source of all things. My only job was to believe that my desire was already in existence and to stay open to the physical reality of it. I changed my Facebook status to ‘in a relationship’ even though I wasn’t (yet). I made a vision board with pictures of families. I spent time with people who had children and as I held their baby in my arms I committed that feeling to memory. I would know that feeling when I held my own baby. I had to be my desire in any way I could.
Now I have a family. I desired it and I believed it.
The Teachings of Abraham tell us that a belief is only a thought you continue to think over and over. If putting this into practice brought the experience of family into my life, then I could only imagine what else I could create if I matched my desires with my beliefs.
When you were born and I received the secondary cancer diagnosis, it set off another very powerful desire. It was to live. To be healthy and happy and enjoy my beautiful family. So from past experience, I knew it was possible. It is no mean feat believing that you will survive a secondary cancer diagnosis. My diagnosis was so dire they told me I would have palliative treatment. This would make me more comfortable so I could go home for some quality time with my family. My specialist wrote in his report that I had experienced a “catastrophic relapse”. A senior doctor in Radiation Oncology at Canberra Hospital took my hand and told me how sorry he was, over and over again. I was told my diagnosis was not curable, only manageable.
So, I had to choose. Do I believe what they are telling me? Or do I court my own wisdom which goes against the logic of all the medical evidence?
I felt so out of place in the Oncology ward. In my heart I knew it was not my time. I needed some assistance to get me back on track and then I was out of there! When they gave me the radiation schedule, my last treatment was on a Monday, meaning I had to spend the whole weekend in hospital waiting to go home. I badgered my medical team to give me the last two shots on the Friday so we could leave. I wanted to be in my bed, in my space with my loved ones so I could heal.
I was so ill when I got home that it was difficult to believe that I would ever be well again. I had no appetite, was losing weight rapidly and a bout of pneumonia left me bed ridden for days. So with very little energy and a fierce drive to get well, I started doing what I could to shift my belief to match my desire. I read Ian Gawler and Petrea Kings books. I ordered Anita Moorjani’s ‘Dying to be Me’ on the internet and read it in two days. I weaned myself of all the steroids and pain killers the hospital had sent me home with, leaving just the basic treatment regime. I chatted with my naturopath and ordered digestive enzymes and probiotics to help get my digestion back on track. I ate ice cream because it made me feel good and quite frankly I needed the extra calories. I never thought I would be so pleased to see weight gain every time I got on the scales.
All over the bedroom walls are positive affirmations of my wellness and reminders of self-love. I wrote a list of comments I would like to see on future medical reports, like “unexplained total recovery” and “no traces of metastatic disease can be found”. I look at them and read them every day. I meditate every Friday morning with a group of others and dedicate the time to my healing. Every night when I go to bed, I feel gratitude for the day and for all that I am experiencing in my life and repeat the mantra; MY BODY NOW RESTORES ITSELF TO ITS NATURAL STATE OF GOOD HEALTH.
Now I show up to my medical appointments and the nurses comment on how great I look and with hands on hips playfully ask “what are you doing here?!” My specialist is pleasantly surprised by my good health. The report from the last CT scan stated that there had been a “remarkable improvement”.
Seamus, time will tell how it all pans out but I can tell you from where I stand, in this very moment, that I want nothing more in this world than to be healed completely. I believe I can be. If you have a desire, no matter how ludicrous it may seem in the context of your life, believe it. You have absolutely nothing to lose, except having the experience of a miracle.
“If you can imagine it, you can create it. If you can dream it, you can become it” – William Arthur Ward