Letting things be, the insight of splinters


I received a splinter the other week, which neatly embedded itself in a finger just under the nail. It was quite small, but it pushed deep enough that any amount of trying to extract it with tweezers just couldn’t work; the nail was in the way and I couldn’t quite get a hold of it. So, I did the only thing I could do – I left it.

What happened over the following days was a revelation to me. First, my finger swelled slightly, and went red. Then it appeared that a circle had formed around the splinter. Then this circle went black, then rough to the touch (like dry skin), then this healed away…and there was no splinter.

My body had consumed the splinter, eradicated it, and left me with a lovely healed finger.

Don’t we just force things in life, sometimes? Don’t we try and fix things, especially body illnesses, with buying lots of pills/tablets, or getting expensive therapies done on us, in an effort to ‘be over there nicely healed’ instead of accepting ‘we are currently ill, need rest, and we’ll heal naturally’. The body is miraculous, it truly is. I was astonished when there was no splinter. I suppose it makes sense the body would do this, it heals a cut finger after all with no need for us to think about it.

This, for me, is another mindfulness insight. That just by ‘letting things be as they are’ the universe incites the change anyway. Of course, I was conscious of the splinter, and I think that’s the key: being aware of what’s occurring, that’s when the healing starts.

So, knowing we have a cold, for example, causes us to reconsider, to pause, to rest, or have a hot lemon/ginger drink to help our sore throat. If we ignore it, or fight it, or force it to go away (normally in our thoughts: i.e. ‘I wish I didn’t have this cold’, ‘I’m fed up that I get ill all the time’, ‘My body is rubbish’, ‘I just wish I was better’) this tends to make the thing last all the more. Why? Because we’re getting in the way of the natural healing process.

Moreover, by going into our head like that, we’re triggering the ‘stress response’, the bit of us that goes on fight/flight mode when there’s a threat nearby. Our thoughts are making things like a cold a threat. So our body is on high alert, and diverts the healing energy into keeping us alert, ready to run at a moment’s notice. This slows down the healing.

So, if we’re calm, relaxed, mindful, and letting things be just as they are, we’re not in the ‘stress response’. So our body can do its job of healing the areas it needs to heal. A cold, if welcomed, accepted and given love and friendship, will leave pretty quickly.

So, it all comes down to ‘letting things go’ or ‘letting things be as they are’. If we can accept everything that is thrown our way, with kindness, without thinking it’s a threat to our life, without wishing it away, then it’ll go away once we’ve seen it. Try this with your emotions too. Try it when you get anxious. Don’t fight it. Don’t tell your anxiety to ‘do one’. Breathe with it, accept it, be curious about it, be a friend to it. You’ll find your anxiety leaves you a lot quicker.

My insight is that our thoughts make illnesses worse. Of course, if you’ve got something painful or life-threatening, then getting treatment is recommended/essential! But what I’m saying is that by accepting what is, you might find things begin to heal quicker. At worst, you’ll find you’ll be happier – because you’re not dwelling on the past or wishing for a better future. You are present! You are concentrating on the moment. That is a source of huge happiness for us all.

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