It’s time for another reader question! Awesome Dude asks: “I kind of get that we create our own reality. And I’ve actually seen evidence of that in my own life. I have lots of resistance around money, and so I’m poor. And I can even understand how we create sickness. But what about people who are born with disabilities? Did they somehow bring that on themselves? I can’t really accept that a baby who is born blind or paraplegic did something to make that happen. Can you please shed some light on this?”
Dear Awesome Dude. Yes. Yes I can. Strap yourself in. It’s going to be a long one.
Leave your assumptions and judgments at the door
First of all, we have to dispel the idea that being “disabled” is somehow a “bad” thing. We assume that it is, but we can never actually know what someone else’s experience is really like. When you look at a disabled person and judge their experience to be somehow “less” than yours, you’re actually doing them a disservice. Why do we assume that a life without hearing or sight or the use of one’s legs is worse than one with these supposed “shortcomings”? It is different. But different is not the same as worse. I know this is a difficult concept to get your head around, so let me continue to explain with some examples.
Some “disabled” people have a very hard life. They are bitter and unhappy and fully believe that if they didn’t have this disability, their life would be much better. Some people who have no visible disabilities feel exactly the same way. They are bitter and unhappy and believe that if their life was simply different in some way (born to different parents, win the lottery), their experience would be much better.
Some disabled people are perfectly happy. They enjoy every minute of their lives. They’re happy shiny puppies. Some non-disabled people have achieved this high vibrational state, as well.
We all have something in our lives that we can use as an excuse to feel horrible about ourselves, to keep us from being happy, to hold ourselves back. We can all choose to see ourselves as disabled or disadvantaged in some way. [Side Note: Often, as part of our journey to self-awareness, we realize that what we thought were our greatest disadvantages were actually our biggest advantages.] Some people simply manifest these characteristics physically in ways that are apparent. Others may have crippling fears that aren’t visible, and yet no less “disabling”. Being disabled has nothing to do with your ability to be happy.
“Disabilities” later in life are manifestations of resistance
When an adult has an accident or illness and is left without the use of part of their physical body, this new limitation represents a manifestation of resistance. It’s no different than if someone manifests cancer or pneumonia. The experience they are having will be a match to some belief they are carrying. The disability manifested both as a result of the resistance and as a way to overcome it. For example, someone may feel trapped in their job. They feel like they can’t move, can’t breathe, can’t get out from under the enormous stress. They ignore the negative emotions and keep on triggering this belief, until one day, they manifest an accident, leaving them without the use of their legs. Now, they are literally trapped in a way, their ability to move has been impaired. The experience (trapped in a wheelchair) matches the vibration (trapped in a job).
But, while this experience is evidence of the underlying belief, it’s also an opportunity to release it. If this person finds a way to feel free, even while in the wheelchair, he will feel free in the other areas of his life, as well. And then, it’s entirely possible that he’ll manifest a way to regain the use of his legs. [Note: Brain damage essentially works the same way, but is much more extreme. It involves a partial to complete withdrawal from reality, often the result of SEVERE resistance.]
Ok, but what about the babies?
When a baby is born “disabled”, it’s generally due to a pre-birth intention, instead of the result of resistance. It’s important to understand that nothing has gone wrong. This baby is not being punished for anything and neither are the parents. But why would a baby choose to be born without the full use of its physical body?
Again, the experience of a “disabled” person is not worse than the experience of others. It is simply different. And herein lies the point. We choose to be born into a variety of situations to start our lives in. Some of us choose to be born poor, others destitute, some in abusive households, some in mansions. Many of us chose to be born into situations rife with conflict. We wanted to hit the ground running. The more stuff we had to push against, the greater our potential for growth (overcoming conflict leads to massive growth. A boring, easy life leads to much less growth…)
But it isn’t all just about conflict. We also chose to be born into our particular circumstances because each one offered the perfect opportunity to allow us to have the experience we wanted. We chose to be male or female, because each comes with its own particular flavor or experiences. We chose to be black, white, Asian, Hispanic, etc., because the culture, heritage and yes, prejudices of others offered a certain experience. We chose to be rich or poor. We chose which region we wanted to be born into. We chose our initial level of resistance (how much resistance our family had, which we then picked up upon birth.) Being born blind or deaf or paralyzed is simply another way to shape our experience. These characteristics offer us a different perspective, a different way to view our reality.
We are the ones that decided, at some point, that certain characteristics, especially those which are physically visible, mean that this person’s life experience was somehow diminished. We feel sorry for such individuals. How could someone in a wheelchair possibly be happy?
And yet, miraculously (sarcasm alert), many individuals who are in wheelchairs manage to find happiness. And joy. And passion. And all of those other wonderful emotions we all strive for. And when we choose to see these “disabled” but successful individuals, we are inspired by them. We’re in awe. And then we also feel just a little bit ashamed for not being as happy as them. After all, if someone could overcome ALL OF THAT, how could a “healthy” person not succeed?
I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to get on my soapbox now. This view is so incredibly freaking condescending. I know that none of us mean be, but when we look at someone whom we have judged to be physically “impaired”, and feel sorry for them, we are essentially saying that these individuals have less creative power than the rest of us. They were born “behind” somehow and now they have to work extra hard to get ahead. We are, in a way, saying that those without these physical impairments are better in some way than those who are “disabled”, even if those thoughts come from a place of compassion and empathy.
I had the opportunity to spend some time with a group of deaf people a couple of years ago. I’d never really had any kind of opportunity to have deaf friends or even been exposed to those who can’t hear (sorry, but I’m not going to call them “impaired”), and I found the whole experience fascinating. I was amazed at the way they spoke to each other using their hands and bodies. To the uninitiated, the speed at which their fingers, hands and arms move is dazzling and it’s almost incomprehensible that the tiniest of movements conveys massive amounts of information. But then, doesn’t that make sense? We often communicate volumes with the tiniest of noises…
Communication was a challenge, but for me, not for them. I was frustrated that I couldn’t communicate with them fluently. We used mostly laptops and wrote each other back and forth. I did my best to pick up some sign language, but as with any new language, it takes time. I wanted to enter their world, if even just a tiny bit, however, so I learned the alphabet and some basic phrases. I tried to really imagine what their experience was truly like without sound. How did their eyes interpret the world? Did they see beauty that I couldn’t comprehend? Did their skin feel vibrations and temperature changes that I wasn’t even aware of? Were they much more aware of nuances in body language than I was? Did the fact that they were not distracted by the constant noise of our world give them the ability to focus on their reality in new and exciting ways I couldn’t even think of?
I believe the answer is yes. Their experience was no less rich than mine. In fact, one could argue that it may actually be richer. But in any case, it’s simply different.
Judging an experience that is different from our own to be “worse” is based on a very limited view of the world – one that states that one experience is better than another, and that we should all strive for sameness. But our world thrives on diversity. We strive on diversity. Each one of us is unique and different in some way. And being differently abled is simply part of that diversity.
“Disabilities” serve a purpose
In the post on ADD, I argued that children who refuse to focus on things they don’t care about are part of our evolution. They are actually closer to our natural state – one where what others think doesn’t matter. One where we refuse to be trained out of our connection, away from our inner guidance, and into conformity.
Children often come into this world with “disabilities” for this very same reason. You can try to discipline a child into paying attention to what YOU want them to pay attention to. Given enough training and possibly medication, you may even be successful. But you can scream at an autistic kid all day long, and they still won’t conform. You can’t train them into caring what others think. They will march to the beat of their own drummer and sooner or later, parents and teachers learn that they have no choice but to allow these kids to be who they are. You can’t argue with a disability.
Let’s say that a child is determined to tune out the world and focus only on the energy of what they want to align with. So, they might daydream to accomplish this goal. But given enough “force”, a child can be disciplined and shamed out of daydreaming. Teachers and parents may see this behavior as defiant and do everything they can to force a change.
Now consider that this same child is born deaf. Suddenly the parents and teachers must use a different approach. The child now has an easier time tuning out the world, as well as a built in defense that the adults cannot go up against. Nothing doing. The kid can’t hear you.
I’ve spoken to many parents of autistic kids and they all tell me the same thing: Their kids are powerful teachers and although the road may have been rough at first, they (the adults) have all been changed for the better by the experience. They’ve had to learn patience. They’ve become a lot less controlling in all aspects of their lives. They’ve learned to respect the wishes of others as valid, no matter what the age of the individual.
For example, one mother told me that her autistic son was born a vegetarian. He simply refused to eat meat. Convinced that he would die of malnutrition, she tried to force him to eat meat and when that didn’t work, attempted to trick him by hiding bits of meat in his vegetables. But even as a two year old, this boy refused to conform and simply spit the bits of chicken or pork out. Finally, the mother visited a nutritionist, became educated, and accepted her son’s diet. She admitted that she probably would not have capitulated nearly as quickly if her son wasn’t autistic.
Another characteristic that the parents of autistic kids invariably spoke about what that these kids are happy. They may live in their own world (and who are we to judge that world as less valid??), but they are often so filled with joy, they “infect” everyone around them. And who can look at a child with Down’s Syndrome and deny their connection? The Happy Shiny Puppy energy simply flows from them. All who come in contact with these kids are changed by them, uplifted, brought a step closer to who they really are.
These kids are often high vibrational beings who have chosen to be born into bodies that allow them to tune out certain parts of our reality so that they may focus more intently on others. Many of them come in to teach us that we can choose to do the same. We can choose to tune out the parts of our world that we don’t like and focus completely on those parts that please us. We don’t have to care what others think of us and we don’t need an excuse to dance to the beat of our own drummer.
They are here to teach us that every experience, no matter how “different” is valid, that limitations exist in the mind and that happiness isn’t contingent on anything but our own perspective (Parents of “disabled” children have often told me that it was a revelation to truly realize that their kids were happy). Happiness isn’t more possible for some and less likely for others. We are all infinitely powerful beings having a human experience. How great is it that we get to have whatever experience we want?
You’ll notice that throughout this post, I’ve put quotes around words such as “disabled” and “impaired”. This is because these words have a negative connotation. I don’t mean this in a “I’m not trying to be offensive” way, but rather in a “I don’t think people who are considered ‘disabled’ are in any way disadvantaged” way. Even “differently abled” isn’t accurate, because well, aren’t we all, really?
I don’t find “differently abled” accurate, because, well, aren’t we all?
So, I haven’t really found a word to describe people who have chosen to be born into bodies that don’t conform to the general norm. If you know of one, please share it.
What do you think? Have you or can you overcome your pity for those who are considered “disabled”? What do you struggle with regarding this subject? What’s the most important insight you’ve gained from this post? Please share your story in the comments.