“An illness can either strengthen or weaken the ego. If you complain, feel self-pity, or resent being ill, your ego becomes stronger. It also becomes stronger if you make the illness part of your conceptual identity: “I am a sufferer of such and such a disease.” Ah, so now we know who you are. Some people, on the other hand, who in normal life have a big ego, suddenly become gentle and kind and much nicer people when they are ill. They may gain insights they may never have ad in their normal life. They may access their inner knowing and contentment and speak words of wisdom. Then, when they get better, energy returns and so does the ego.
When you are ill, your energy is quite low, and the intelligence of the organism make take over and use the remaining energy for the healing of the body, and so there is not enough left for the mind, that is to say, egoic thinking and emotion. The ego burns up considerable amounts of energy. In some cases, however, the ego retains the little energy that remains and used it for its own purposes. Needless to say, those people who experience a strengthening of the ego in illness take much longer to recover. Some never do, and so the illness becomes chronic and a permanent part of their false sense of self.”
Eckhart Tolle, in “A New Earth”
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