To my mind, cancer is with all of us, all of the time. Whether borne of our collective ignorance, the earth’s imbalance and toxicity and/or a condition simply undetected and unnamed until fairly recent times, cancer is here to stay and to enlighten, if we are open to it (and even if we are not).
Perhaps cancer is a daemon, one of those prodding nature imps, assuming its more aggressive form in a vulnerable body, spiraling out of control as it settles comfortably into stagnant areas, forming masses or tumors like a mad scientist in his lab. Perhaps we unwittingly abet it further as well, through simple unawareness of a soul in distress, desirous of expression through the only channel it can utilize in this earthly existence: the body. This unwelcome guest may show up on our doorstep with emotional baggage we never quite know how to deal with, especially in the midst of rapidly escalating uncertainty.
Whether due to trauma, through not fully embracing this complex and challenging life, or for one reason or another (including what mysteriously imbues children with this seemingly cruel fate), few deny the awesome power of cancer’s presence. If we tip over the edge into an abyss of fear, clarity becomes difficult to achieve and our choices are colored in the process. Emotions can be eccentric bedfellows.
It often helps to understand any illness or adverse physical condition by taking a philosophical approach. If we suppose the first half of life is about going out, exploring the world, learning to navigate our physical reality – then the second half would skew toward going back in, learning to cultivate our inner voice, listening to the soul’s promptings and following these urges in preparation for the inevitable journey back out of flesh and into the unseen worlds. Ancient cultures found in Tibet or parts of India understand the wisdom of this approach. Many in Western society don’t seem to care much for inner work, finding the illusory outer world ever so much more compelling, engaging and, well, familiar.
A sick body already challenged by the aging process may begin breaking down more rapidly. Being vulnerable, it is ripe for invasion by destructive organisms, autoimmune disorders, and cancers. If we have an undeveloped inner life, our strength is further depleted and we may find ourselves bereft of needed support. We begin spiraling out of control with our fears, hindering the processes that might help rebalance the body.
And so caveat emptor, cancer and other adverse health conditions are here to remind you to pay attention. If this missive hits a nerve, rings a bell, maybe it’s time to reevaluate your life, your goals, your relationship to self, to others, to your work in the world. It’s never too late while we yet draw breath.