Dharamshala Night Fever

How to break a fever with your mind

This is a 1300 word piece, around 5 minutes reading and 2 minutes disbelieving. Last edit: January 2022.

‘How I did it’ in 5 tidy steps:

1 There’s this old saying of mine, which is more of a ‘don’t forget, silly’ rather than some mantelpiece grade poetry, and it staggers between late night bars like this:

What touches me, I touch also.

It’s proven helpful over the years because it shifted me away from a victim mentality, and laced me up thems magic kicking boots when needed. It fundamentally changed my stance in life. Knowing this, constitutes the first step towards breaking a fever.

Walking a way
The Taoist walking a way, up the mountain, on a conveyor of petals.

2 So I met this Taoist whilst rambling in India and we hiked together from Dharam­shala up Triund for the day, and then returned to Bhagsu. He taught me disease was just con­scious­ness wanting to be recognised and understood. He said it should be released with love and a blessing instead of being brutalised into submission1. I didn’t quite understand him at the time — it required a deeper conversation we didn’t have — but I fully recognised the profundity of what he’d shared. Like all things I don’t understand, credit or can confirm, I allow them to jiggle along with me until I see a viable pattern.

That doesn’t mean I believe in any old horseshit mind you, but should I find that horseshit serviceable someday, I’ll reconsider. Identifying with one’s own beliefs to the exclusion of others is both normal and truly awful, because we’re not supremely conscious enough to know anything much at all, really. With a firm grounding however, it’s possible to bend in the wind. It completely freaks the folks that live on Polaroid.

Knowing that disease is a two-way street and one solution is through a soul-level ack­nowledge­ment and consequent release, forms the second step. In other words, disease isn’t as confrontational as you’d think, because it’s actually part of you.

1This is so important to comprehend, because it’s exactly the soul-level stuff I deal with on this website. Read Biblr, or Swipe Right For Jesus afterwards, which talks a lot of smack, but eventually gets sensible.

Standard fire triangle
The standard fire triangle showing the three parts needed for a reaction. Identify and isolate any one part and you’ve solved the problem.

3 When I was in my early twenties, I did a stint in the Royal Naval Reserves. It was an interesting experience, my main takeaway being the total lack of professionalism, largely because none of us were professionals. Not that I was in any way suited to the arm, or being in proximity to people in general for that matter, but that’s neither here nor there. Yet I learned three things, one of which later refined into a Weapons Grade technique.

So what was my time in the RNR good for? Well, I learned that I was really good at middle distance running. I also loved the Part Ones training in Ply­mouth, which I found exhilarating, and the diary products in Devon are something else. But before all of that, I learned about the fire triangleExternal hyperlink, which taught me fundamental Aikido stuff, although sadly the Navy’s focus was on using Ajax reels. I know, right? Pretty much everything else about the Navy though was really not required, like their institutional misogyny, racism and mental abuse.

Moving along then, understanding and applying the fire triangle is the key to the logical process, and constitutes the third step. So take a look at the diagram and read the caption. It requires a contextual trans­formation, which is achieved after grokking the first two steps. More on that later. I also write more expansively about this concept in the piece on Silencing The Mind, which applies the same tool, and should be read along with this.

Some cultural benefits of living in a self-contained annex of a small monastery, in Dharamshala, India.

4 By the end of my long stay in the ‘big D’ I was in a bit of a mess. I’d leapt from a high mountain, crashed and was snowballing fast. My mental health was in serious decline, hurried along by spiritual attack. It was a life defining nexus, in all the bad ways. I’m still unravelling all of this some fifteen years later. Anyway, all this carry on made me more susceptible to illness, and naturally I picked up a fever, because it was the crazy in my head. If Achilles had a mind to, he’d put his heel there, and I’d be all flag waving and fluffy poms.

My brain was spinning and reality was lurching all over the place. The fever was a real doozy too. I was hallucinating — sprinting thoughts and mind bending shapes. I began burning up, and it dawned on me that I needed help.

Being wrong has always been one of my greatest superpowers, and none more so than back then.

I didn’t need help at all, well not for the fever anyway. What I needed was Good application. My mind was tilting on full bore raging turbo. By harnessing that force I experienced a literal flash of pristine clarity. It was the sort of crazy you’d expect in Marvel films, where the windows explode or something. It was one of my life’s MentatExternal hyperlink moments, and I knew what to do, how to do it and why it would work. Having ‘something special,’ as the Buddhists term it, constitutes the fourth step, but probably isn’t essential now you’ve just read this.

Fever fire triangle
The transformed fire triangle. The specifics aren’t particularly important, it’s just the principle and the application.

5 I knew from step one that I could touch the fever using the same connection it was using to touch me. From step two I knew I needed to avoid going into direct opposition if I wanted to be efficient and not have to bludgeon my way out. I knew from the fire triangle in step three that I had to identify and remove the fever’s fuel source to succeed.

In that moment of clarity, I concluded the fuel source was my mind, and thoughts were the oxygen; the fever was directly hooked into my mind because I was hallucinating, and; if I removed all thoughts and words it would suffocate the fever and thus neutralise the underlying illness. The Taoist might have put it more succinctly: honour your fever with the silence it craves for release.

Bringing the mind to a point of absolute stillness constitutes the fifth step of the process. It’s the only step you really need to remember. Stillness is easier said than done however, because it’s the last thing you’d think you can do in that situation. Again, I refer you to silencing the mind for a better handle on what that is.

It took me between 15 and 30 seconds to wrest control. My brain was overclocked, so I don’t really know for sure. I had to exert tremendous will to achieve that stillness, and intense concentration to maintain it. I was ‘arm wrestling’ for control of my mind, reasserting myself whenever a thought-corridor warped ahead of me. I turned raging waterfalls into zen gardens.

At that stage in my life, my meditation was very strong, and was already in the habit of silencing my mind without effort. You’re mileage may vary.

The panoramic joy of living in the ‘big D’. Maybe it was all the prayers imbued in concrete and rebar that did the heavy lifting for me?

I held that silence in an iron grip for another few minutes whilst the fever choked and withered before me. It was profound and I was serene. I maintained a good meditation for maybe a further twenty minutes, and ended it completely refreshed. I literally didn’t feel any fatigue or aches.

Maybe in the end analysis it was all grand theatre to get me to the right destination. Perhaps it wasn’t the silence that saved me. Maybe it’s this well of spirit I found within that point of absolute stillness, a place I’d been to before, but hadn’t truly known. Maybe I only found this place because I’d finally given myself the permission to do so? It’s not a place you can grasp or name, look for, or even describe. Yet it might be a refuge to be found in a storm. My Taoist friend would have known that too.

Return to the Weapons Grade index.

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