Just as there is a sublime simplicity in poverty, there is a meditative minimalism in sickness.
When one is poor, decisions are simple; one has few choices as to what to do every day, what to spend money on.
The answers are: nothing and the basics.
When in poverty, many times one doesn’t know that there is a better life, or if one does know it, often there is no way to attain it at the present time in the present circumstances.
Problems solved. Only one thing to worry about: survival. Less stress (maybe).
I would agree with the many people who have said they were never happier than when they had no money. I felt that way once myself. Easy to say speaking from the other side of the coin. I think it is more that they just didn’t have the stress of constant decision-making at the time and now they do. I don’t think they would choose to stay in poverty if given a choice. Obviously those who say that were given a choice, a way out.
But one can still be happy to be alive. I hear from anyone who has been to the poorest areas in Africa that they are struck by the fact that almost everyone expresses great joy and peace in the midst of horrific conditions.
Being ill also has an ease about it, apart from the physical pain and anguish. Usually it is out of your control. You have no choice but to go through it.
Lots of time to think. Hopefully to think about what is important in your life.
No decisions to be made really, except for how you will traverse your illness – what your attitude will be during your worst days – or whether to take the grimmest alternative, which usually isn’t acceptable.
But even Oblivion has a peaceful connotation to it.
The common thread to both poverty and illness is that there is something to be said for experiencing the realization that you are not in control.
Not really. You’re not.
Once you let go of the illusion of control, peace and contentment have a chance to creep in.
Perhaps one should try to realize that without having to go through poverty and sickness.
I know some who have.
I hear them called ‘enlightened’.