A Glossary of Terms in the Life of a Physically Disabled Person

Sudha Photo Sudha, a dear friend and satsang sister, who has been a student of Babaji’s from the early days of our satsang, has been unable to visit the Centre for quite a number of years because of the challenges of living with Parkinson’s Disease.

Although her body is affected, Sudha’s mind is sharp as ever. I am very pleased to be able to include some of her writings in Offerings; she has so much to teach us about surrender and acceptance of what is. Babaji told her, God has given you the courage to face your disability. Live with a positive frame of mind, help others and go on living happily.

Here is page one of a book she hopes to complete, an alphabet book for adults about life in a disabled body.

ABLE-BODIED: I now have words like able-bodied in my vocabulary. Before this physical disability became part of my life, it never occurred to me to describe myself as “able-bodied”. I just was. I walked. I ran. I jumped. I knelt. I sat down and got up and sat down again, as many times as I wanted. I sat at the dinner table and ate with my family. I sat on the couch and visited with friends. I got up and went to the toilet as many times as I needed, without anyone else being involved. Not only did no one need to help me to the toilet, they didn’t even need to know when I went. It was “none of their business”. In those days, I actually had my own personal business that no one else was involved with.

I had so much, yet did not realize what I had. I did not actually understand what it means to be able-bodied, nor what it means to be physically disabled. I couldn’t. Without first-hand experience it would be impossible for anyone to imagine all the losses, big and small, that a physically disabled person experiences every minute of every day. It amazes me that I had to lose something so precious before I could fully appreciate its significance in my life.

I try as much as possible to live in the present moment and focus on what brings me joy today. Once in a while, I am overwhelmed with a profound sadness. At these times everything I do brings back memories of my healthier, able-bodied days.

Sudha has been given a difficult practice. I am grateful that Babaji encouraged her to write. In a letter he sent to her, he said: Pour out your inner beauty in divine language for people to read what goes on in you. Your writing will be an expression of art with multiple meanings. May God bless you.

OM