Miracles Of Vipassana In My HD Life

Miracles Of Vipassana In My HD Life

– By Archana Ravavda

Having grown up in a house where your mother had been diagnosed with HD which ultimately took her life, teaches you how human beings can be born with neurodegenerative diseases which is quite unusual learning for a school going kid; especially if you’re a girl, then your world turns upside down because every kid deserves that motherly feminine compassion that fills our lives with more love and teaches us how one can be a ‘Giver’ all the time and still be happy and fulfilled.
Eventually, you’ll need to learn the hard fact that your mother is not coming back, and you’ll have to make it all by yourself. The spirit in me helped me in accepting that ruthless fact and I started to focus all my energy in building a life for my family and myself.

I have a very happy spirit that made me the happiest girl with all the success in my career who always believed in getting up every time I was knocked down, doing all I can with all I have, wherever I was. I have always worked passionately to make my dreams come true, being optimistic throughout without losing any hope or patience, spreading love to people around me. Never had a health issue, nor felt a need to see a doctor ever in my life. Everything was smooth and happy until I realized that life will throw its challenges in the most unexpected and uncertain ways, especially when you’re making the biggest move in your life. Maybe life wanted to see my reaction, if I had got diagnosed with HD.
I lived each day to the fullest with some knowledge that the probability of off springs getting HD is 50-50 but surprisingly, in mid-2017 I tested positive for HD. Looking at my CAG count, everything went blank. Everything instantly scattered right in front of my eyes. Literally EVERYTHING! I didn’t have the strength to share this with anyone, not even my own family. I was broke completely.
Only one thing kept repeating in my mind: ‘WHY ME?’.  When everyone around me were moving ahead in their lives with their career, with new beginnings…etc., I was all stuck not knowing what to do, where to go, how to live with this monster that doesn’t have a cure and what my future would look like.
Eventually, an uncontrolled helplessness started building in me which lead to so much aggression. Somehow, that aggression asked me not to give up just like that, so, I started looking everywhere to gather as much information as possible, hoping that I could find a solution. I had to admit, deep down, I knew this is just a waste of effort, time and energy but I wanted to try and fight with this uninvited chaos that surrounded me with her wings and tied me down.
I stumbled upon this UK based support group called “HDYO” who suggested that physical workout will help my system to be physically strong and onset of symptoms could be delayed. I converted all my aggression and gave it a shape of focus, determination and consistency. After 8 months of physical training, my system became stronger than before but that wasn’t calming my mind nor was it giving me any happiness. I still have that non-magnanimous void inside my head and it is looking at me with a greedy smile to eat the life out of me. No matter what I do, I was unable to fill that void, not even with a single happy atom. Where can I find them? Who has them all? Is it for sale on some e-commerce website? Does a bank give them as a loan? Where? Where? Where?
This suffering just kept building irrespective of all those numerous things I did to keep myself happy, I couldn’t find a way out of this. After a year and half of constant mental sufferings, I reached a stage where I was ready to do literally anything to get rid of this void that’s been killing me from inside. I started medication to handle my depression and I kept searching for the doctors who could help me out of this, who could understand my condition inside-out, who could possibly have had full knowledge and experience with HD patients. I’m just wandering everywhere for a solution that could stop me from killing myself mentally.
That is when an old friend of mine suggested me to try “Vipassana Meditation”. I didn’t knew anything about meditation before, nor have I ever heard of it but as I was desperate to do anything to get rid of this emotional baggage and accept the reality of my life, I immediately registered myself for the next 10 days course at “Vipassana Meditation Centre” with zero or may be minimal expectations as nothing has actually worked earlier no matter what.

Journey into the Beauty – Vipassana Meditation:

People here are very gentle, empathetic, compassionate and true reflection of humility. They offer their services free of cost. YES, free of cost, without asking us to pay a penny. You’d be provided with healthy food (Saathwik food) and roof on your head for all the 10 days you’re going to spend there. They don’t have any cruelly judgmental ideologies like our society. They take you as you are, and they don’t throw judgmental questions about your condition, nor they poke their nose in your business. All they ask is to accept their humble and fruitful services.
I was completely dependent on the external aspects of life whereas, here at the meditation center, the system itself is designed by the Great Buddha himself for healing people with love and compassion. These people only ask you to cut all the communication from outside world, so you could focus all your energy on your healing process. And not to distract your focus by interacting with your fellow peers as they are also here for healing themselves. Just being silent and observing everything that’s been happening inside and around is the only thing they ask us to do. The simplest meditation ever.
Every day, you’d be asked to sit in a meditational form and to focus your energy in observing every kind of emotion that is being generated within us without reacting to them. For every action of ours we have sensations/reactions (Sankharas) on bodies but we ignore them. These people teach us how to observe those reactions objectively. While doing this, we may sense different reactions like happiness, sadness, pain, emotion, pressure, excitement, perspiration… etc., and it is not same for everyone. We must observe them in an orderly fashion, the way they come in, while doing this we should not get carried away with good reactions and at the same time do not create any aversion for not so good reactions. We should learn how to maintain “equanimity” for both craving and aversion, only then will we learn to live a truly balanced and peaceful life.
As it was my first time I could not sense any reaction on my body as they are subtle, so on 5th day I put all my effort to see if I could sense anything; ‘emotion’ is the only reaction which I could sense. That night when I was off to bed, it just turned out to be a horrifying night ever of my life. I started to experience HD symptoms on my body uncontrollably, none of my body parts were in my controls as I felt I was going through last stages of HD. I just felt, this is it, I’m going down!! But somehow, as I had mentioned earlier, aggression was the only friend I made in the last couple of years, so after a while of suffering, I used that aggression to gather all my courage and strength, then slowly took support of adjacent wall to get back on my feet convincing myself that I’m still in the initial stages and my body was not supposed to be showing such symptoms at this stage of my life.
Next morning, I rushed to the teachers as I felt it’s an emergency and need to go see my doctor. Despite giving 200% effort my body behaved differently which worried me the most last night. I had the same discussion with my meditation teacher and she saw the symptoms on my body herself, then later, what she said gave me strength to push my emotional boundaries and not to give up the meditation. She wasn’t a priest, nor did she utter any mantra, she just replied saying, “You have been constantly thinking about your disease and it is always in your subconscious mind. Due to the meditation technique you had been following for the past few days, the thought of disease hit your mind and that is what you experienced last night. Just focus your energy on observing the reactions on your body alone, don’t think of anything from the past life and don’t give strength to the diseases of your body”.
Her words really did hit me and gave me courage to make up my mind for completing the remaining days of course. For rest of the days I started accepting my fate slowly and never showed a symptom Alongside I had also decided not to think about HD for the rest of my stay at Vipassana and continue to learn and master the technique.” that’s one promise I made to myself”.
That is when I made up my mind that I will always be positive and accept my life the way it is without any preconceived notions or expectations. Another good thing with Vipassana meditation was, it made me think through multi-dimensions where I got answers for all my questions I ever had. On last day we were taught about compassion, peace and how human life revolves around these. After Vipassana I made it a mission to help people around me with HD, fighting with depression, anxiety and emotions as I have already experienced the pain they are going through.
And then I realized, had it not been for HD, I wouldn’t have been emotionally this strong, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity for touching so many lives, I wouldn’t have become the person I’m today. Eventually, my perception about HD has changed completely. Initially, I felt HD took my life away from me but now I realized, it gave me strength, it made me explore this compassionate dimension within myself, it made me who I’m today and most importantly, with a humble tone, I’d say it gave me this rare and cureless disease to carry within my body for the rest of my life. I told the disease, “I accepted you”. And my life has changed from literally nothing to a beautiful something.
All we need to do is just to accept life the way it is. Our mind plays tricks if you don’t have a control over it. We need to realize that we are all humans, no matter what. We are here for a brief amount of time, and someday we will leave this place. Nothing is permanent. In this beautiful process, some may come with genetic disorders, or some may accidentally get them. This doesn’t change the fact that we are all humans, nor it will make us any lesser as a human being. So, all we need to realize is, the problem is not the disease, the problem is with us – Us not being able to accept the reality of our lives. It doesn’t matter, whether you’re a diseased person or a fully healthy person, all we need is to be compassionate to ourselves and to the people around us. Love is the only thing that we need. Accept yourselves, love yourselves and include yourselves in your compassion. If you don’t include yourselves in your own compassion, it is incomplete my friend. Accept, Embrace, Cherish, Learn, Nurture yourselves. Only then, will you be able to become the strength of your family. Spread love.