A few years ago, almost ten have passed, I met an old friend, whom I had not seen for twenty years. His name was Marco, he was a lawyer and for the vicissitudes of life, despite our friendship, we had lost touch with each other. 
Marco, who I remembered as strong, sportive, elegant man, and a bit of a womanizer, was by now a quadriplegic. He had a neurological disease which was gradually shutting down his body. This is how my inner journey into the disease began, being close to Marco, who I visited every Friday afternoon for almost five years, at his home in Turin.
Marco succeeded to leave his body four years ago and I remember being surprised to think that finally, after so many years of suffering, he had returned like everyone else, free from the cage of matter that had gradually trapped him. When I meet him again one day, I’m certain that we will recognize each other.

Reflect within yourself

Being close to a sick friend of the same age naturally leads you to meditate on the meaning of health, of suffering, of sickness, and of the future. He is not very different from you and you observe in him a process sometimes made of courage, sometimes of disenchantment, other times of unexpected enthusiasm for small things, and you ask yourself “How would I act if I were in his place? How would I like to act? How would it feel right to act? “
Then when Falco Tarassaco introduced the theme of the disease as a form of contact with the pure energy of the universe, as if the disease were a Grail through which the patient becomes a medium towards higher dimensions, all the more I realized that my newly rekindled friendship with Marco was perhaps, I hope and believe, an element of relief for him, certainly an extraordinary opportunity of meditation for me.

The beauty of normality

From my experience with him I have learned many valuable lessons, all of which are related to one: the importance of learning to savor, appreciate and realize how important our normal state of being is, the one in which we are well. On the big choices and reflections on our life, it is good to bring attention to these things, when we do not actually ‘need’ to do it. For example, our last will and testament, relationships, arguments or unresolved issues with someone, everything should be clarified when it seems that there is no need or rush to do it. My friend had plenty of time to do this during his long illness but, inevitably, with a state of mind that perhaps took away some of the serenity with which he could have done it before becoming ill.

As for appreciating the state of normality, I discovered how precious the act of blowing one’s nose can be, scratching one’s ear or turning the page of a book without having to ask for help.
Once, when he could still talk, he said to me, “At the beginning, I constantly asked myself why this had happened to me. Then one day I said to myself: why shouldn’t it happen to me? “
I think that on that day he had managed to really channel some of the Grail energy, and to make a leap in the understanding that what he was experiencing was not his illness, it was his life.

A meeting with Patch Adams

At the same time, I had the opportunity to chat with Patch Adams, the American doctor of smile therapy, who was a guest at Damanhur, and I told him about my friend and the difficulty I faced sometimes, in finding something to say to Marco. Patch then said to me “Why? He’s not dying any more than you and I are. He is living, in a way that is certainly hard but it is life just as true as yours and mine. This is what we need to understand the disease.”
I think Marco finally understood this and was calm. I realize now how that experience has given me a greater awareness of the things to which I draw attention to first, without letting the confusion of life distract me. A lesson that I hope to always remember.

Stambecco Pesco