I looked within. Literally.

“F*** you, piece of s***!” or something similar and fully spelled out. Don’t we often feel like saying it, yelling it and acting upon it against the person who just hurt us or promised us something and didn’t follow through?

Anger, or F*** you piece of s***!

Anger, or F*** you, piece of s***!

Last time I felt like this – yesterday – something funny happened to me.

In the throes of feeling rattled and frustrated I closed my eyes and meditated. Yes, I do such things, because I’m that guy. As soon as the silence became louder than the chatter in my head, my mind took off on a tangent that surprisingly brought it all full circle, in a roller-coaster of non linear thoughts.

I have type 1 diabetes and this is how it works, quick and dirty. Glucose is what the body uses to create energy for the body and brain to function, like electricity for a lamp. Too much glucose in the blood is like a too high voltage for the lamp, the lamp burns out and breaks.

Beta cells – green insulin staining

Most of what we eat is transformed into glucose by our metabolism. What keeps glucose at a level that can be assimilated and transformed into energy is insulin. Insulin is produced by the beta cells in the pancreas.

T-cell

And then there are T-cells, a special group of our white blood cells, responsible for keeping our immune system healthy. They attack and destroy bacteria and alien organisms that would make us sick. When type 1 diabetes occurs, T-cells mistake the beta cells for alien organisms, so they attack them and destroy them, depleting the body of insulin. This happens everyday, continuously, and it’s called type 1 diabetes.

I thought, “If I could just talk to my T-cells and tell them how grateful I am for the great effort they’re putting out, but to please realize that they’re attacking their own, because the beta cells aren’t alien bacteria, they aren’t the enemy, they’re on the same team, they’re part of the same organism, we’re all part of the same organism, me. If my T-cells understood it, then I wouldn’t have diabetes anymore.” (quick side-note: Yes, there’s now plenty of scientific evidence that the pancreas continues to produce insulin even decades after onset, see faustmanlab.org, among others.)

And that’s when I realized, “My T-cells are confused, that’s all,” I thought. “They don’t realize we’re one and the same. They don’t understand they’re attacking their own, and because of it the whole system is worse off. If my T-cells understood who they really are – part of me – they’d see that the beta cells are also part of me and there’d be no reason to destroy them.”

That’s when my face shook with a smile, my eyes burst open and the meditation ended. “If we all understood this,” I thought, “if we all understood who we really are, that we’re all connected, all part of the same system, there would be no more wars, no more shootings, no more violence, no more trashing of the Earth. Because we’d understand that we are the T-cells and beta cells of the universe. We do different things, we look differently, but we are part of the same system and we are all better if we work together, instead of against each other.”

My body with type 1 diabetes is a micro-cosmic clear example of how truthful this is. So I don’t have to be angry at the guy who lied to me. I just have to use that experience to learn more about myself, be more alert, be more awake and move on, instead of stay stuck on it and want to “attack” – like a T-cell.

Far fetched? Well, on the off-chance that you’re still reading I hope it kinda-makes-sense like it did for me.

Universe

Universe

Now, during my next meditation I’m going to invite my confused T-cells to dinner, thank them for their continued good work and tell them how grateful I am for having allowed me to have this experience and the little epiphany. And I’ll also suggest, that if they want to, I’ll be extremely grateful if they decide to look within themselves and see that we’re all one and that they don’t have to continue destroying our beta cells, and they can use that ‘confused energy’ for other productive things. Of course I won’t force them to do one thing or another, because they’re part of me and I’m part of them, and, because of that, I love them, so they’re free to learn in their own time.

I think that’s called free-will.

10 Responses to “I looked within. Literally.

  • Great post! Thank you for the very clear explanation of how T1D works (I didn’t fully understand it until now), and for the great analogy. Congress = Diabetes.

    Hope you stay well.

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    Peter, love it, love it love it!!

  • Have you ever read Deepak Chopra’s “Quantum Heeling?” I think this is somethign you would enjoy after reading your post!

    • peterarp
      5 years ago

      Very glad Deepak Chopra’s book came to your mind after reading my blog :). Haven’t read it, but what it is about I’ve been doing for a while in my life and, yes, it works. Now you made me curious and I’ll probably read it though.

  • Dear Peter,

    Thanks for sharing this- my mother and my best friend both have diabetes and this post was very helpful and I plan to share it with the both of them. I loved the analogies you used. I have read Deepak Chopra and it has helped me tremendously! Yay for the power of meditation! Great post!

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