How having cancer became the start of my spiritual journey

Zu sehen ist ein Abendhimmel mit rosa, ograngen und gelben Farben

„You are here to enable the divine purpose of the universe to unfold. That is how important you are!“ — Eckhart Tolle

Even before I got diagnosed with cancer, I believed that every illness has some meaning and provides the possibility of learning and development or self growth. At least I thought I had this understanding. Despite this positive attitude on a superficial level, on a deeper level there were many negative feelings present. Feelings of unfairness and futility and a feeling as if life was treating me especially bad. I was very angry and had thought patterns in my head like „I am unlucky in life“ or „life is a hardship“ and so on and so forth.

Especially in August 2015, I was having a super low. Just one week after I had a second big operation where tumor bulk was removed from my stomach area, I learned that my tumor markers had risen again. That meant that I had to undergo treatment with a so called “high dose chemotherapy“. I remember feeling very vulnerable and powerless. I thought that I was handling all the cancer issues in such a positive way and wondered why it wasn’t working out. Deep inside of me though, there was still a lot of resentment. I didn’t yet really understand that I don’t really have to „do“ anything in order to heal, except for trusting the flow of life/ surrender and make peace with the present moment.

There was a certain moment during my treatment that has become a turning point for me. It opened up new ways to look at the world. From today’s perspective I can definitely speak about the process that unfolded as some kind of rebirth. Since then, I am quite a different human being than I had been before!

~

In a meditation by Louise L. Hay, I once heard her say something like: „When we wake up, we never know what this day will have in store for us.“ This was especially true on a day in September 2015. Lying in bed in the hospital one morning I never thought that collecting my stem cells for the high dose chemotherapy treatment would bring so much insight into my life.

This key realization came to me in the „AKH hospital“ in Vienna in the ward for transfusion medicine. There, with two tubes standing out of my neck, I was hooked up to a cell separator in order to filter out stem cells from my blood. I was treated truly like a VIP. There was a very sensitive and competent nurse with the name Jana, taking care of me. I was lying in bed and reading in a book of Louise Hay, that I got some weeks earlier by a friend. The book deals with healing and strengthening our healing capacities through self-love and acceptance.

I had brought several books with me, but for some reason I chose to read this one. Jana saw the book and started to talk to me about it. She said that she is reading a lot of self-help and spiritual literature herself and that she thinks a lot about illnesses and their meaning. We engage in a long conversation about being sick, health and healing. She told me that she was very sad for a long time because she saw so many deeply sick people on a daily basis. She also told me that at some point she realized that from another(higher) perspective, everything makes sense and that it is okay despite the suffering on a human level.

I then told her how moved and happy I feel when I think about all the loving friends and people that exist in my life and that support me so much. I also told her that sometimes I ask myself if they were already feeling tired or bored of taking care of me for such a long time. I tell her that I keep asking myself if I wasn’t a burden to them in some way.

When I said that, Jana looked me in the eyes. Her glance was kind and soft, like a parent looking at an innocent child. She said „Oh Lukas, do you really think that? I think it is exactly the opposite. All people that accompany you along your journey, profit through your illness in countless ways, without you having to lift a finger.

~

When Jana said that, I felt as if something had hit me and then I started to cry. Something happened in that moment. Eckhart Tolle, a spiritual teacher whom I will write about in other articles, would probably say that for a minute my Ego collapsed. I had seen that I am more than just this body with this current life experience. In this moment, I felt like I really „got it“. Me becoming sick wasn’t meaningless. It is an important experience and my task is to simply deal with it in the best way I can. For some reason, understanding that my experience is somewhat useful for other people or that I am actually „moving“ and „doing“ something for others gave me peace of mind. I can be of service to others. Not by doing something especially well but just by being myself. What a powerful realization! I felt that everything makes total sense, that nothing can go wrong and that I am loved unconditionally. I just felt so happy in this moment!

From that point on, a lot of things somehow became much easier. I had the feeling that everything falls into place and that I don’t really have to actively „do“ much in order for that to happen. I just surrendered to the flow of life, as Eckhart Tolle would put it.

In the articles that are tagged with the „lessons“ or „Erkenntniss“ category, I want to write about these learnings more in detail:

  • With many teachers such as Louise Hay/ Ajahm Brahm, Anita Moorjani or Tara Brach, I understood that I need to learn more to accept and love myself completely and unconditionally.
  • I learned that we all have the capacity to heal ourselves and others, by accessing the power of the present moment through mindfulness.
  • I learned to open myself up to explore more deeply what certain illnesses/experiences or situations might want to tell me. I learned that true healing has nothing to do with the disappearance of symptoms.
  • I learned that by being present in the here and now, miracles come to pass. I saw that my illness gave me the opportunity to become aware of a global process of an evolution of consciousness.
  • I learned that there are two dimensions to life. One dimension is the Ego or human dimension. On the one hand I am a separate, individual being with a history and identity. But at the same time, I am also part of a global consciousness. I am also the pure consciousness that can be aware of the world and it’s phenomena. I can feel the interconnections and inter being nature of myself with all other life forms. This understanding was one of the most healing discoveries of all.
  • I learned through people like Jon Kabat-Zinn, Eckhart Tolle, Thich Nhat Hanh, Tara Brach and many others what meditation is and how I can learn to live more fully in the present moment.
  • With Anita Moorjani, Thich Nhat Hanh and many others, I dived even more deeply into what ‘inter-being’ means, that we are all connected on this planet and that humanity can develop only if we can access this insight.
  • I learned through Anita Moorjani and her near-death experience that we can not really die and that there is no point of fearing death.
  • And many more…

Let’s cut to the chase

In my understanding, there is one basic truth that is common ground in all spiritual approaches. This basic insight is that we can only find answers and solutions concerning our lives when we look inside and go inside ourselves. This is also very logical and not unworldly in my eyes. Many therapeutic practices work on supporting people to get in touch with the complexity and variety of their being. To help them get in touch with all parts of themselves, to integrate them and to become more and more authentic.
Many people want to change the world and their outer circumstances. They want to make the world a better place. I was also like that before I got cancer. Now with writing this blog I want to share my insights that we humans need to connect what is going on in the „outside“ with what’s going on within ourselves. Accessing a deeper connection with truths and realities in my internal world, slowly also led to changes in my „outside“ world, a.k.a real life experiences.

In these „lesson articles“, I’ll therefore write about things that reflect some „basics truths“ to me. At the end of the day, all spiritual teachings have more or less the same essence. This essence for me is that all life forms and the universe are connected by unconditional love. Being truly in the here and now of the present moment can be a door to this experience/insight or deep knowing. Therefore, the slogan for the website is „Leben Hier Jetzt“ which means „Live – here – now” . Everything I write about has been and still is tremendously important to me. Maybe it is also useful for you!

I would like to repeat myself: For me, a conversation with a very wise nurse while having cancer has become a turning point in my life. For other people, there will be other life experiences with the potential of waking you up and accessing a deeper understanding of life or yourself. It doesn’t matter what and how things will unfold around you. I believe we are all on a journey through life, and we can deepen our connection to ourselves and life more and more if we are open to this process.
When we open up, we will learn important lessons and evolve just at the right moment. If you happen to be in the wake of a crisis, if you feel overwhelmed or think, „What is all this bull**it in my life about?“, let me tell you: You will grow and learn from it. With this experience, these learnings will be of benefit to you in small and big ways in the future. The quote from Eckhart Tolle, that I started this article with, brings this into perspective: Your experience, your story, your process is important. You are helping humankind/life/the universe or whatever you are calling it to unfold its divine purpose. This is how important you are!


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