I am not a spiritual person. I am not actually sure what a ‘spiritual person’ is, but I would bet EMan on the fact that I am not of that ilk. I am not a religious person either. When it comes to believing in something that I cannot see, experience or evidence, I struggle. And by struggle, I mean I look constipated when I think about it. I really have tried several times in my lifetime. Meditation for example, looks so much fun. I genuinely believe that my life would improve if I managed to get a bit of zen and, you know, allowed myself to believe in its existence. As somebody with respect for others and their beliefs and all the jazz that makes me a perfect, humane person, I am most perplexed that my belief in existence is still so black and white. Black and white and westernised, just with the occasional massage or reiki session.
It is rare these days, that when in comes to the topic of cancer, for me to experience something new or be surprised by it. Last week, I managed to be surprised. As somebody on the minimum wage, I found myself in a taxi, which I hailed with my stick outside the cancer centre, with just myself and a devout taxi driver for company. These facts are important, because they explain how we got onto the subject of the subject we we talking about. My taxi driver introduced me to something that I had not considered at all since my diagnosis, and that something, was called ‘healing’. Not sexual healing, even I could do with a bit of that right now, he was selling, spiritual healing.
On the face of it, simple exercises designed to help one relax and breathe correctly is a beneficial thing. Positive thinking is also something I could take a dose of. This, so the taxi driver told me, is what Qigong is all about. Well, actually, it is about an invisible energy, chi, and the cultivation of it to improve ones life force, according to the worldwide web. Great I thought, I can get me some of that, it sounded like a less energetic form of Zumba. And then, he went on. And on. Traffic was heavy, so it went on some more. Qigong, he said, could cure cancer. Not medicine, Qigong.
In fact he said, the exercises are preventative and if I had been doing them already, I would not have myeloma now. Shame that. It’s not too late, he said, I could have I individual healing sessions with his master. I looked at their website and these sessions come with a 85% success rate, with a minimum of four sessions depending on the illness, at a cost of £300 per session. The taxi driver rightly pointed out though, that what is £300 when it can save your life? Indeed.
If only… I am stuck between thinking that this exchange is deplorable and insulting on the one hand, and thinking that if it gives some people hope, then what harm can be done, on the other. Personally, I know where I stand, but I am yet to reach the point where such an option would seem appealing. It appeals to me about as much as a visit to Lourdes does. Actually, at least the latter would be a holiday.
I can sit on my sofa and think that all the above is ludicrous. I can continue to have faith in western medicine, I like that it does not offer me the universe and it does not tell me that I am wrong. I hope that in the long, long, term when my end is near, that I do not wonder whether I should have explored the spiritual or religious path, rather than ridicule them.
I do not know why the thought it is making me angry.
This is enough, right?