Yesterday I was in a dark fear from the moment I woke up. I was shaking, unable to breathe with asthma, and panicking. I was in deep fear thinking that the rest of my life would be about struggling with asthma unable to breathe day and night. I did not want to keep living if this is how it was going to be. I was upset, lost in ego, and I forgot I had an appointment with my plumber. When I finally remembered, he was already on his way so it was too late to cancel.
I didn't want to communicate with anyone and wanted to hide and focus on breathing! I thought, "Ok I will get it over with as fast as possible." But he arrived with pizza and drinks for my kids and me. My thoughts were intensified with COVID fears like, ”So much for keeping a mask on.” We would now be eating at my little table all breathing across the food.
Prayer as the antidote for fear
At the table, I had to go outside for air and use my inhaler. I couldn't eat. I could barely talk as I was so breathless. So, he could see I was not well.
After lunch he said to me, "I hate seeing you this way. You know what is causing this right?" I braced myself for his version of the cause of the asthma, ready to dismiss it so not to add to my fear and list of magic solutions like the air filter, mattress pads, vacuums and drugs others had been recommending. But instead he said, "Stress. You are so worried and feeling so responsible for everything on your own." He said, "The only thing that works for me is prayer. Be in prayer all day, non-stop".
He then explained how at one point in his life he was able to stay in prayer throughout the day. This led him into accepting Jesus and to experience magical things. When the magical things kept coming he got scared and stopped. Now he prays the rosary throughout the day in his mind. He said we all have to accept what is given or what seems to be in front of us.
My plumber was the last person I expected to be having this conversation with. It felt like I was accepting Jesus at my front door. With so much fear, I couldn't do my lessons, listen to David Hoffmeister’s videos, read the course or switch my thinking to my true desire for peace, and this was a complete miracle since his visit had been very helpful to my mind. Jesus came right to my door to remind me that he will come to help me no matter what I do to stop him, and his message will be very clear like in this case- prayer is the answer and he even brought pizza!
Open-Mindedness and healing
I was feeling a little better after his visit. I was not in total fear anymore. I could even breathe a little better. The encounter was a confirmation that the answer is given in prayer. Still, I was missing something. The “how.” How does one pray when the fear is so high? Plus the course says that true prayer is not supplication/asking for things of the world. So, I needed help to understand what it is to pray because my prayer was still simply, “I want to breathe!”
Before my plumber showed up, I had been having trouble accepting Jesus and had not been able to focus on any teachings but I was now once again truly wanting some guidance, my mind was open. Luckily it was time for the weekly Youtube show, “Get Real with Kenneth Clifford” with special guest David Hoffmeister. I watch every week and this week, no coincidence, the subject/title was TRUE PRAYER. This was another miracle.
Noticing miracles is enough to start feeling the joy and trust!
When they opened up to questions, before I could think about it, I was the first one to raise my hand. Here is the recording of our exchange:
Clip from “Joining in True Prayer! Get Real with Kenneth Clifford (Episode #44)”
Full episode - Get Real with Kenneth Clifford (Episode #44)”
David pointed out that what was happening before the plumber came was simply a gradual build-up of fear because:
1) I had not started my day in my right mind. It is harder to come back when not having started off your day with peace.
2) I did not recognize that was all it was. I had forgotten my true desire: Peace
3) The ego thoughts snowballed because I did not stop to “reset”.
The ego literally had me in a chokehold
The way out is not to let things come that far by starting the day with a decision to choose peace and to have a happy day. David pointed me to the Rules for Decision in A Course in Miracles. And next, he reminded me to focus on giving instead of getting. When I focus only on my symptoms, I forget about giving and I become all about what I think I am lacking (in this case air to breathe!). This is not to say I did anything wrong or would redo it, but it played out so I could see this habit of mine, (habit of mind.)The rest of that episode continued to bring answers and reminded me also to set my mind to giving as opposed to getting.
Rules for Decision in action
I read Rules for Decision in A Course in Miracles at the start of the next day. It led me to think that even when I believe I have trouble breathing that instead of focusing on it, I can shift my attention to giving. Any time I feel trouble with breathing, instead of sitting and concentrating on breathing I can do something that symbolizes “giving” when I seem to not be breathing. This led me to understand how to accept what is, what seems to be, and to not let what I think is happening control my actions, rather let the desire for peace guide me.
This lesson has been a deepening in my “practice” in that it is all day every day. When there seems to be a body symptom often the pain or discomfort is non-stop so the lesson becomes non-stop. The ego wants something to do, a pill to take, an action in form. While I am still accepting a split mind, I am still using an action that is a symbol of the desire for giving and the desire for peace. This can be anything; a phone call, an email, a google search, cleaning my house. Whatever I can see peacefully. And when it feels like my ego wants me to lie down, then I will not do that, I will do anything else but that! Generally, the actions bring me back to peace so that I can then still be in prayer and feel relaxed. This is the only goal I have.
Thank you for reading and letting me share my healing journey with you.