31 Days of CF: How CF Dissolved All of My Predicaments in Life

BNS Staff avatar

by BNS Staff |

Share this article:

Share article via email
cystic fibrosis infants | Cystic Fibrosis News Today | CF awareness month | graphic showing collage of members of the CF community
path enlightenment | Cystic Fibrosis News Today | Paul and Debbie sit at a table in an outdoor garden

Paul Jordaans and his lovely wife, Debbie. Photo courtesy of Paul Jordaans

Day 25 of 31

This is Paul Jordaans’ story:

Being born with cystic fibrosis (CF) in 1963 provided my mind with a clear story about my almost nonexistent future. I soon lost interest in this story, which only showed a “soon-to-be-dead me.” Instead, I concentrated on being here now.

After discovering music when I learned to play the piano, I found the blissful experience of being “in the flow” — doing something so concentrated that all notion of who, where, and when I was vanished. Ego, space, and time dissolved into one. I clearly felt being found in the flow of oneness, as if I had discovered my real source again.

In the course of my life, with meditation — cleaning my lungs twice a day with a nebulizer is great pranayama — I learned to be in this flow almost continuously, ignoring the short periods of suffering when the ego/mind had a temporal hold over me and made me believe I was not the one, but some small person; a diseased individual body separated from all that ever is. I fell awake.

Later, I learned that this realization of oneness, and the becoming of who I really was, was called enlightenment, or liberation — a way of experiencing reality directly. It was well documented in (mostly) Eastern philosophies like Buddhism, Hinduism, Sufism, and Taoism. It is what is meant by the phrase “tat tvam asi” (“thou art that”) and “Aham Brahman asmi” (“I am Brahman,” or “I am divine”) in the Upanishads (in the Advaita school of Indian Vedanta).

It is also what Jesus talked about when he said, “The kingdom of heaven is within you,” and what St. Francis of Assisi meant by, “What you are looking for is where you are looking from.”

This is a peaceful way of experiencing reality. It isn’t special, or something that is only for a few. It is who we all really are. It only requires a listening and still brain that is in awe of itself and of all creation, and a true longing for the reality beyond our limited mindset and our disease called the human condition.

I am sure that having CF was most conducive for this viewpoint arising in me. For me, it showed itself to be not a disease, but rather a blessing in disguise.

Cystic Fibrosis News Today’s 31 Days of CF campaign will publish one story per day for Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month in May. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more stories like this, using the hashtag #31DaysofCF, or read the full series.