Should I Give Up?

[Listen to Asha read this story]

“The doctors have offered me more chemotherapy,” Happy (an Ananda member) said to Swamiji. “They say it will keep me going for at least another few years. Should I take it?” Happy had AIDS and several times had come close to dying. “The treatment could be quite unpleasant. Death doesn’t frighten me and maybe it would be better to get on with the process of dying.”

“If you die, you’ll just have to start over in a new incarnation,” Swamiji said to her. “It may take you a long time to get to where you are now—all those years of childhood, then finding your spiritual path and learning Kriya again. If it were I, I would keep trying to live until I couldn’t meditate anymore. Or until I felt that the treatments or the body itself was an insurmountable obstacle to spiritual progress. Then I would consider letting it go.”

“Swamiji’s advice was a great comfort,” Happy said later. “It became my criterion for how much treatment to take. As long as I could meditate or at least practice the presence of God I would do everything I could to stay in the body.”

Happy lived on for several years more. She was never really well, so it took considerable effort to keep her body going. The will power and understanding she gained was of great spiritual benefit to her, progress she wouldn’t have made if she had given up sooner.

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