From the Depths of Illness to the Miraculous State of Unknowing
In a heartfelt confession, Jeff Foster shares his transformative journey through the terrifying realm of neurological Lyme Disease. While the experience tested his physical and emotional limits, it also brought forth profound insights and a renewed connection with life. In this poignant reflection, Foster unveils a state of deep presence and radical unknowing that emerged from the depths of his suffering. With an awe-inspiring perspective, he explores the dissolution of time, the dissipation of opposites, and the embrace of ordinary moments as pure miracles.
Jeff offers us a glimpse into our Wholeness Companions, specifically our Mystic and Innocent Child who can call upon our Backbone Parent as needed. Would you like to befriend these companions? Check out the brief lessons in the Wholeness Companion free program.
by Jeff Foster
It’s taken me a LONG time to be able to put the following into words…
You see, on one hand, my experience with neurological Lyme Disease in 2020-2021 was the most terrifying, shattering, intense time of my life. It took me to the edge of my capacities. It shocked and humbled me. It opened my heart in compassion for ALL who suffer - physically, mentally, with acute or chronic conditions. For those who suffer in silence. For those who are disbelieved, gaslit, mocked, shunned for being sick, accused of malingering, or “making up” conditions for attention, or “creating” their conditions through faulty living.
I nearly died, but, against all odds, I eventually made it through. I do know how lucky I am. And I am eternally grateful to the doctors and friends and strangers who supported me - medically, emotionally, financially. I discovered who my true friends are. I will never, ever forget the ones who believed me, and who helped me get the right treatments.
But something else has happened, and this is the thing that’s taken such a long time to put into words…
I find myself in a deeper state of Presence than ever before. Radically deeper. Unspeakably deeper. It seems to be a continuous and profound sense of deep body relaxation, relaxation on a cellular level, on a soul level. But more than that. Much more…
I find myself these days in a radical state of Not Knowing. Pure Mystery. I am like a free child inside. Each day is utterly miraculous to me. Looking at a cloud makes me cry. Breathing in air on my morning walk moves me so deeply I can’t begin to put it into words. A day is not simply a day, it is a miracle, unfolding in an unspeakable vastness, God in form.
All sense of time has fallen away. I have no idea if it’s morning or evening or night anymore. No idea at all. This is not alarming. On the contrary, it is freedom from time. Time moves through me, I do not move through time anymore. Time has exploded and become utterly infinite. A day feels like a million years. If I need to “know the time” I can refer to thought with its clock faces and its linearity and narratives. But otherwise there is no time for me. None at all. The lie of time has dissolved. I live in Mystery.
I no longer know if I am awake or asleep, alive or dead. All opposites have fallen away. If a concept is needed, a word, a phrase, I can still access it. The memory bank is still there. If you ask me, I will say I am “alive”. Or I will say I am “awake” and not asleep, and so on. But without the thought, I have no way of knowing.
Again, this is not alarming. This is the natural state. A state of wonder, a state of radical Oneness with life, undisturbed, prior to the upsurge of thought. And yet even those words, “radical Oneness with life”, and all the other fancy-pants spiritual words, are just descriptions, just sounds, and not the experience. I cannot tell the experience. When I speak it, it’s not it.
I seem to have melted into deep intimacy with life. My senses are heightened, no longer dulled by thought, by ideas, by trying to fit in, or trying to please anyone, or trying to be “spiritual” or any of that nonsense. I live profoundly in the present moment. It is my home and sanctuary, my playground and my place of rest.
I think the illness, however terrifying it was and however it ravaged my physical body, my immune system, my nervous system, it purged something here. Maybe some final layers of trauma, or some final defences against pure intimacy with life fell away, I really don’t know.
All I know is that I am a child again, in love with raindrops and awkwardness and the radical truth and how it feels to be alive.
I will write more about all this as the words come, this state of deep rest and relaxation I find myself in, this miraculous state of Unknowing, here on the other side of hell.
I write all this not to boast or brag or with any sense of arrogance, nothing like that. I am genuinely fascinated by what has happened to me. This may be the blessing on the other side of that terrible illness - an even more radical awakening, an even deeper appreciation of life and rootedness in truth. I hope this gives hope to some of you.
And yet I am more ordinary than ever these days. More in love with this body, this earthly realm, this imperfect human form. The ordinary moments are Nirvana; Awareness is indivisible from all that arises in her. I spend hours playing with our cat. She doesn’t need me to explain life. She is living it, perfectly, without even trying. She is my teacher.
I have become more like a cat. Miaow.