Category Archives: Articles

November | The Season of Food Begins!

Ah, that wonderful time of year after the harvest, when food is abundant and Thanksgiving begins a whole season of eating! Yet for us overfed and diet-obsessed Americans, the season of food can be a time of losing our tenuous hold on sensible eating habits and surrendering completely to more than a month of uncontrolled feasting on rich and sentimental comfort foods.

“But Mom only makes this once a year!” and “It’s only for the holidays…” we tell ourselves, and then in January wonder how that extra ten pounds got there!

If a little cheating on your sensible eating plan morphs into a month-long binge for you at holiday time, consider a different approach, an alternative to deprivation or binging, involving neither guilt nor denial; one that actually results in more gastronomic pleasure than simply eating everything in sight. The secret has to do with replacing quantity with quality and autopilot eating habits with an extra measure of attentiveness.

Conscious eating is all about waking up your taste buds to every sensory delight so that you don’t miss even a second’s worth of enjoyment by falling into unconscious eating habits. It enables you to enjoy your food more while requiring less to feel satisfied.

Binging happens when we’ve stopped paying attention. We may enjoy the first bites but then keep eating to recapture that first moment’s gratification even after the food is no longer delivering. We may eat for reasons other than hunger, to fill an emotional void or to stuff painful feelings. Binging also happens when we’ve developed such a long-term habit of restrictive dieting that one taste of something not our food plan sends us into an out-of-control eating frenzy where we consume enough to hold us through the long drought of deprivation that invariably follows “cheating.”

This holiday plan calls for a softer (in the kinder, not fatter, sense), gentler you. It involves putting down the whip of guilt and discipline and easing up on food restrictions while simultaneously paying more attention to the whole experience of appetite, craving, and satiation. It entails eating exactly what you want exactly when you want, thinking of all foods as equally “good.” This isn’t permission to binge. Rather it’s a challenge to go out of your way to feed yourself exactly what you really want even when eating what’s readily available would be easier. It’s about treating yourself to what will give the greatest possible eating pleasure instead of “treating” yourself with whatever great quantities of sugar and fat happen to cross your path.

This approach isn’t for everyone (and please don’t substitute my suggestions for your doctor’s counsel), but if it’s appealing to you, consider devoting the holiday season to making every eating experience a conscious one where you eliminate as many distractions as possible, like TV, reading material, and eating on the run, in order to savor every bite.

Make eating a meditation: before you put anything in your mouth, become quiet and relaxed, take several deep breaths and say to yourself, “Everything I eat turns to health and beauty.” You can do this even at the holiday table with family and friends. Especially with family where the temptation may be strong to stuff down childhood feelings with another serving of pie. Disconnecting a bit inwardly and putting your attention on the food, your body, your nourishment, and the experience of pleasure can help break the knee-jerk, stuffing-family-feelings-with-food habit.

As you take a moment to be with your food before you consume it, picture it being easily assimilated by your body and turning into health and beauty. Eat slowly, paying attention as you chew and swallow. Stop the minute you feel the first sensation of fullness. If you’re full but can’t stand the thought of leaving all that yummy food on your plate, ask for a doggie bag. After eating, sit quietly for a moment, relax, and take some deep breaths. Imagine a feeling of comfortable fullness and lightness in your body. Imagine that your stomach is filled not just with food, but with peace and well-being that radiates soothing sensations throughout your body.

Don’t eat again until you feel the first sensation of hunger. Then eat immediately, but only until you feel the first sensation of fullness. Pay attention as you eat, chew well, and really notice how food feels in your stomach and what the sensation of fullness is like. Every time you feel hunger, ask yourself what food you most crave. Feed yourself the food or foods that are just what you want. You may find yourself craving previously “forbidden” foods at first because enforced restriction can, in and of itself, create cravings for whatever’s been denied but, as you eat consciously in this way, you’re likely to find yourself satisfied with much less. And, as you eat consciously but not restrictively, you may also be surprised by your cravings becoming more and more balanced. I once saw a perpetually dieting and vegetable-phobic woman, who equated greens with cruel punishment, astonish herself by craving salad after just three days of giving herself permission to eat whatever she wanted.

If you’re tempted to binge, create a healing ritual around eating one of your favorite foods. Set the table, light candles, and eat consciously, savoring each bite. Imagine the food having marvelous healing powers that are making you healthier and more beautiful. Continue eating this way until you feel the first sensation of fullness. (Again, you’ll probably find yourself eating less and enjoying it more.) End by giving thanks for your healing food.

If you do catch yourself eating unconsciously, forgive yourself. Notice what the binge is telling you about your emotional needs. Forgive the eating and address the cause. How are you feeling empty, angry, sad, or scared, and what can you do about it?

After all, the holidays with all their frenetic activity, social obligations, and childhood associations, are prime time for exacerbating emotional eating. As you make a commitment to conscious eating, also make a commitment to self-care. Make a list of other things you can do to nurture and soothe yourself that don’t involve food and give yourself time to do them when the urge to overeat arises. Let conscious eating become just the beginning of a more conscious approach to the holiday season where the frenzy of it all doesn’t override the spirit of celebration and joy.

September | Embracing Change

Seasonally, September is month of great transition. It’s the end of summer and the fall equinox, which falls in the third week of the month, marks the point at which darkness exceeds light for another six months. Fall encourages a shift in attention from outer directed activity to a more inward focus.

In the growing cycle, fall is when the harvest is collected,the fruit eaten or preserved, and the seeds extracted, while the lush greenery of summer fades. We may want to cling to the last vestiges of summer yet know we can’t keep the dark and cold at bay for long. Change is forced upon us, ready or not, and many of us catch colds in this season as our bodies struggle to adjust.

Psychologically, even though the spring phase of experience, with its rush of births and new beginnings, creates just as much change and stress in our lives as the fall phase of dying away, we tend to associate “birth” with joyous emotions while “death” evokes feelings of fear, sadness, and loss of control. Birth fills our thoughts with wonderful possibilities but death requires true vision and faith to see that, just as every birth leads to death, every death leads eventually to a new birth.

The inner work of fall invites us to look at our relationship to change, our adaptability, and our comfort with endings and loss of control. The spiritual potential of going willingly into this six-month descent into darkness and the symbolic underworld it evokes, is that when we meet our deepest fears head on, we emerge with the deep knowing that, in truth, there is nothing to fear.

September, which merely hints at the darkness to come, is the perfect time to prepare for the descent into winter by shoring up our physical well-being, as the adjustment from warm to cool adds stress to our bodies. Giving some attention to our physical health now can help us through the winter season of colds, flues, and darkness-related depression. What’s more, physical symptoms can give us tremendous insight into our ability to flow with change if we’re willing to understand them as well as treat them.

Even at times we don’t consider ourselves ill, we may still have a symptom or two: chronic allergies, a tendency toward headaches, a pain or weakness in a particular body part, or a susceptibility to certain kinds of illness. Whether we’re dealing with the experience of serious illness or simply the occasional minor symptom, listening to these physical manifestations of dis-ease can uncover levels of meaning and purpose to them that we may never have realized were there.

Our physical symptoms communicate to us in a language filled with obvious metaphors. If we’re willing to pay attention, they tell us a great deal about our needs, imbalances, and our path of healing. The very metaphors we use in speaking often mirror the physical symptoms our body manifests.

I became especially aware of this when I was Director of a Center for Attitudinal Healing in Baltimore and worked extensively with people dealing with physical illnesses. I noticed how people’s pet expressions had a way of literally describing their illness. A woman with cancerous tumors in her leg frequently used the expression, “I can’t stand it!” Someone with food allergies continually said, “I can’t stomach it!” and a woman with skin cancer spoke of things “getting under her skin.”

A good way to understand the language of your own physical symptoms is to consider the metaphorical meanings of the affected body parts and functions. For example, hands are for handling things. If you have pain in your hands ask yourself: are you holding on too tightly in some way? Are you trying to “handle” everything yourself? Do you have difficulty “reaching out” for love and support? Are you having difficulty “grasping” something? If your neck and shoulders hurt are you “shouldering” more than your share of responsibility? Are you being “stiff-necked,” and overly rigid in how you are seeing things? If you are a woman with tumors or pain in your breasts, have you been suckling the world until there is nothing left for you? Do you feel in need of nurturing yourself? Do you feel in some way inadequate about yourself as a woman? If you have heart problems, have you felt “heartbroken”? Have you closed your heart to warmth and love? Have you lost your joy and passion for life? See which metaphors best fit the way you feel.

Addressing the situation indicated by the metaphor can powerfully support and sometimes even alleviate the need for other treatment. For example, during a time when I felt sorely burdened by the pressures of life (“shouldering” more than I could carry, so to speak) I developed a painful “frozen shoulder” condition for which a medical professional prescribed several months of physical therapy. I “treated” my emotional condition of feeling burdened by clearing many projects from my plate and giving myself a highly uncharacteristic several-month break from work. I played more, worked less and made relaxing a priority. As I felt less stressed, my shoulder improved so quickly that I wound up not needing the physical therapy.

Illness is a wonderful catalyst for change. Rather than being an indication of something we’ve done “wrong” as is sometimes suggested in a new-age distortion of mind-body psychology, illness has a way of helping us meet unaddressed and perhaps unrecognized needs for growth. Just like the fall season, it forces change upon us, ready or not. Whether we resist these changes or meet them willingly, illness often gives us permission to explore positive and much-needed options we wouldn’t have allowed ourselves to consider otherwise, ranging from slowing down a bit to completely and permanently restructure our lives.

We can, of course, choose health and embrace changebefore a physical condition forces it upon us, and this can be the best form of preventive medicine. This month, consider beginning the descent into the dark cold of winter by paying closer attention to your body. Let your symptoms tell you when you need to take a “health day” or reach out for help, or ponder the bigger ways your life may feel out of alignment with your highest good. Choosing health in this way usually requires a stretch out of the “comfort zone” of familiar behavior but the pay-offs are well worth it.


February: The Hidden Gifts of Love

In the wintry month of February we’re still in the season of hibernation, introspection and energy turned inward.While the candy-heart overlay of Valentine’s Day certainly is a cultural rather than seasonal phenomenon, it’s well-suited for late winter. After all, when the weather and still-short days drive us indoors, we tend to find ourselves in close quarters with our fellow humans. And when our attention turns within, there we are with our own hearts. Love and relatedness bloom, or we become acutely aware of their lack. Sadly, or fortunately, depending on your perspective, a scarcity of love is more a state of mind than of opportunity.

I became profoundly aware of the connection between love, healing, and attitude, as well as the incredible capacity for any two people to give and receive the gift of healing love, in my work with the attitudinal healing movement. In 1983 I started a Center for Attitudinal Healing, modeled after the original Center founded by Jerry Jampolsky, for people dealing with life-challenging illnesses. Rather than using professional counselors, we paired clients with volunteers who’d received training in how to listen compassionately, see everyone as a teacher, and define healing as a process of joining in love with others rather than fixing them. The healing that resulted between these volunteers and clients was miraculous and deeply moving.

Not only did these nonprofessionals seemed to know just the right thing to do or say when coming from a place of love, the traditional roles of helper and client quickly disappeared and the learning and healing flowed both ways.

That we are all students and teachers to one another is a foundation principle of the Attitudinal Healing movement and, in my experience, a fundamental truth. It’s one that doesn’t require the high intensity of catastrophic illness to manifest. It’s our true relationship to one another at all times, though we’re often blind to it. Everyone we encounter has something to offer us and the more we seek it out, the more we’ll find it. Believing in the goodness and wisdom of others helps to call it forth, even from those who didn’t know they had it to give.

But even if we appreciate this notion in theory, we may still go through life thinking only certain people have the love, support, approval, wisdom and gifts that we need and that others are unattractive, annoying, invisible, or have nothing we want. This is what makes life lonely.

To bridge the gap between theory and experience, here’s an imagination game I occasionally do in my classes. Imagination is the doorway into intuition, so what starts out as something we’re just “making up” can sometimes evolve into profound truth. Whether you believe you’re in some way transcending time, distance, and separateness to connect with the highest wisdom of another, or simply connecting with a wiser part of yourself, you may find unexpected insight through this exercise and it can’t help but change how you look at people which, in turn, has a way of changing what happens between you.

Begin by bringing to mind someone whom you think of as a wise teacher. This could be a person you know or someone you only know through their work, such as an author, world leader or historical figure. It could be someone either living or dead.

Now, picture the person in your mind’s eye and take a moment to simply open your heart. Imagine you’re sending an outpouring of gratitude for all that you admire and appreciate in this individual. The power of love is well documented. It keeps us healthy; it empowers our prayers; it’s a gift that, when given unconditionally, is always received, even when it’s not registered consciously. Imagine that your love is awakening and calling forth the best in this person.

Many philosophers and cutting-edge scientists have speculated that all minds are part of one consciousness. So, even though you’re not physically present with this individual and may never be, imagine there is, none the less, a reality where all minds meet. Picture yourself visiting with your teacher and imagine that a real meeting is taking place in this realm of pure consciousness. Your mentor may speak to you, or show you something, or simply radiate love and healing.

You might imagine yourself in the role of your teacher,seeing yourself from this other’s view. In this role, speak to yourself. Offer wisdom, healing and whatever gifts are most needed. If you have a request for specific assistance or a question, ask for these and allow the teacher to respond.

But this isn’t the end of this exercise. While it’s easy to imagine a favorite mentor as having the gifts we most need, the truth is that everyone is a being of profound complexity, wisdom, and depth with gifts to give. That includes our friends, family, coworkers, complete strangers, even the people who thoroughly annoy us. So, bring to mind now your most intimate peer relationship. This could be a spouse or romantic partner, or it could be a close friend. Repeat the previous exercise, this time letting your intimate peer come to you. See past the person you’ve become so familiar with to perceive the rich, complex being that includes but isn’t limited to the personality you know. Imagine this individual as having facets you’ve never seen, and wisdom and love you’ve never experienced. See what new gifts this person has to give you when you open your mind and heart to them.

Now that you’re warmed up, do this exercise one more time—this time with the last person you’d ever imagine as having “gifts” for you. Just as with your mentor and peer, imagine this being has important wisdom, guidance, healing and love for you. And just as you did with the other two, let yourself open to receive it. Bring to mind the most important question of your life, perhaps one you posed to your mentor. Imagine that the higher mind of this person has something significant to contribute to this matter; something you would have missed had you not opened yourself to it. See what it is and don’t be surprised to receive an unexpectedly different view with a new perspective worth considering. End by thanking this person for their gifts.

If you do these exercises deeply, you may see changes in how people relate to you. You may never be able to look at people quite the same way again and, before you know it, you might even notice your world has become a lot less lonely.

Fall: The Healing Journey | Register to attend the first class of The Miracles Course’s Fall Quarter



In fall, The Miracles Course curriculum begins with an exploration of physical health and spiritual healing, including a powerful ritual for miraculous healing. Also addressed in this season are topics of death and beyond, flowing with change, transcending fear and letting go, all of which lays the foundation for the spiritual transformation of the winter.


In September, the fall equinox marks the point at which darkness exceeds light for another six months and as the light fades, so does the lush growth of summer. In this transitional time, we may want to cling to the last vestiges of summer yet know we can’t keep the dark and cold at bay for long. Change and letting go are forced upon us, ready or not, and many of us catch colds in this season as our bodies struggle to adjust. September, which merely hints at the darkness to come, is the perfect time to prepare for the descent into winter by shoring up our physical well being and cultivating our power to heal.


As fall deepens, nature shows us her “dying” season. In areas where seasons are dramatically distinct, nature goes out with flashing glory before winter gives the landscape a rest. We humans are a bit more apt to go out kicking and screaming. Even if we don’t give much attention to death, even if we think we don’t fear it, death anxiety often lurks beneath the surface wearing any number of disguises that may look like fear of change, fear of endings, and fear of losing control. More people die in the darker months than any other time of year. Even when we resist consciously, we know instinctively that this is the time to let go. What if we also knew there was nothing to fear?


The spiritual work of deep fall draws us into the dark, shadowy underworld of our fears: death, loss of control, and all things denied or repressed. Just as the growing light of spring urges us to reach high for our dreams, fall’s darkening compels us to reach deep within, emerging with wisdom, power, and a life no longer defined by fear. It’s a profoundly healing journey—one that brings us face to face with our shadow and, ultimately, rewards us with many previously hidden treasures of Self.

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This is The Hour—the Quickening of Humanity

There is a much-circulated “Message of the Hopi Elders” that is a powerfully prophetic and beautiful piece of prose that reads like spiritual text. If you look for it on the internet you will see it repeated on countless web sites. It goes like this:


You have been telling the people that this is the Eleventh Hour.
Now you must go back and tell the people that this is The Hour.

Here are the things that must be considered:
Where are you living?
What are you doing?
What are your relationships?
Are you in right relation?
Where is your water?
Know our garden.
It is time to speak your Truth.
Create your community.
Be good to each other.
And do not look outside yourself for the leader.

This could be a good time!

There is a river flowing now very fast.
It is so great and swift, that there are those who will be afraid.
They will try to hold on to the shore.
They will feel they are being torn apart and will suffer greatly.

Know the river has its destination.
The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open, and our heads above the water.
And I say, see who is in there with you and celebrate.

At this time in history, we are to take nothing personal. Least of all, ourselves.
For the moment that we do, our spiritual growth and journey comes to a halt.

The time of the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves!
Banish the word “struggle” from your attitude and your vocabulary.
All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.

We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.”


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Why Would We Not Heal?

  • We’re stilling learning something from the illness/symptom. Perhaps it’s meeting a need we haven’t found another way to fulfill: for caring attention, time for ourselves, protection from risk-taking, etc.
  • Healing it too quickly would shake our sense of reality in a way that would be more uncomfortable than the illness. This level of discomfort may be unconscious until we’re faced with it. A healer I know who had successfully healed himself of a terminal heart condition, diabetes and more, decided to grow a missing tooth back after seeing this happen in his work with the dental healer, Dr. Willard Fuller. He set about it in the way he had healed so many other conditions and there was a point in the process where he actually felt a cracking sensation in his jaw, right where the missing tooth had been. Instead of embracing the sign of healing, his first impulse was a big inner, “NO!” He was very surprised at his own response and understood it to be a manifestation of his limiting beliefs: even though he had healed himself in so many other ways, this one seemed “too big!” Fortunately, the more we’re aware of these hidden agendas, the more power we have to choose and the less they control us.
  • We’re focused more on battling something painful than on pursuing something joyful. What we give attention to we magnify. If we’re giving a large amount of attention to our distress over the problem, we hold it in place. When we stop battling an illness we free up a tremendous amount of energy that can then move in the direction of healing.
  • The pain we know may feel safer than the potential risks of the unknown. If there’s a symptom or problem we’ve been living with for a long time, one that’s gotten a lot of our energy and attention, its sudden absence would undoubtedly leave a big empty place in our lives. While on the surface this might seem all good, this change could create significant stress and anxiety if we don’t know how to fill the space. A Pandora’s Box full of issues, from intimacy to life purpose, may be next in line to be addressed once the familiar struggle is no longer there.

Listen to a Guided Healing Meditation

Listen to a Guided Healing Meditation

Click to hear the meditation


Healing Prayer

God (Goddess, Creator, Higher Power, Universal Spirit),
I turn to You with all my heart.
I joyously realize Your absolute presence.
I see You everywhere-in all places, all people,
all that is.
You breathe life and light into my very soul,
YOU who are Infinite Love.
Yes, I feel Your Presence-You live in me!
Thank you for the Divine Spark within.
God, You have said “Ask and it shall be given.”
I come to You now in gratitude and love
for Your assistance that is ever present.
Receive my prayer as an offering of faith that what I ask for has already been given and received.

(Take a moment to bring your prayer intention to mind. Speak it out loud or silently to yourself. Imagine handing all dis-ease and lack over to God, and God lovingly receiving it. Create a vivid inner experience of already having, doing and being your prayer request. And then hand this, too, over to God asking that Divine Will be done.)

Thank you, Divine Spirit!
I have faith in reality of Miracles!
I believe in the power of LOVE!
I release this intention into Your hands.
I surrender to Your will.
May the Divine Design now manifest!
I know I am whole and perfect as You made me.
There is nothing to be healed;
only DIVINE LOVE to be revealed.

Now I join with my brothers and sisters
as we speak to You in unity.
Our hearts join and overflow with Divine Love,
And we become a powerful channel for
Your Healing Work:

By the Grace of God, Divine Love now heals and guides
all those who have prayed for Your help!

By the Grace of God, Divine Love now heals and guides
every member of our personal communities!

By the Grace of God, Divine Love now heals and guides
all life on our earth!

Divine Spirit, spark our faith, hope and love into new action this day.
Our lives fill with gratitude, wonder and awe. Miracles happen.
We receive the blessing of Your perfect love and wisdom.
And with this prayer we now embrace the call
You gave us-to be spiritual beings,
in service to each other
and to You.

Listen to a Healing Prayer Meditation

Click to hear the meditation

Potential Healing Outcomes

Along with the expectation that healing will happen for you, also be open to it taking the form you most need, not necessarily the form you expect. Healing comes in whatever way best serves us and as you prepare yourself for a healing experience, trust that it will happen in the best way for you, not just the best you can currently imagine. Typical healing outcomes include:

  1. Spontaneous physical healing where manifestations of illness disappear instantly. In my own healing services as well as the distance healing work of my prayer ministry, I’ve seen many examples of a physical condition disappearing so completely and immediately that surgery or medication became no longer necessary. These occurrences seem to happen as often over distance as in person. On a night when my weekly group was experimenting specifically with dental healing, a woman with a painful dental condition who was unable to be there, just took a moment out from her other commitment to join her mind with the group work in order to receive healing. Not only did her tooth stop hurting, but she kept her scheduled dental appointment the next day just to be safe and the dentist could find nothing wrong.
  2. Attitudinal shifts such as feeling at peace even though circumstances haven’t changed, or seeing new options where choices had seemed limited. For example, a woman who attended a series of monthly healing services with me, first came wanting to heal the chronic pain she had lived with for years. The next month she appeared quite improved and reported that her pain hadn’t gone away but she did have an experience during the healing service of feeling happy for the first time in years. This happiness stayed with her all month and so changed her state of mind that her pain slipped from the foreground to the background of her awareness. She felt able to get on with her life in a whole new way and several months later, she reported that the pain was much diminished.
  3. A slow steady course of growth and healing where results may not be noticeable for some time (like planting a seed that grows invisibly at first). For example, another woman who had attended many healing services with me reported that a chronic condition of asthma had gone away and she didn’t even know it until she found herself in a situation that would have ordinarily triggered an attack. As she tried to remember the last time she’d had an asthma attack, she realized it had been many months.
  4. Circumstantial shifts that bring new conditions, opportunities or people into our lives. It’s very common for fortunate “coincidences” to occur within days of spiritual healing work. Jobs show up unexpectedly, money shows up, new relationships form, connections are made to the perfect medical help or healing practitioner, etc. These are things we might not see as directly connected to the healing we want yet they support the totality of our well-being in a way that serves us even more than the simple disappearance of a symptom.
  5. Relationship healing where specific relationships or relationship patterns shift to create deeper love, compassion, forgiveness and interpersonal harmony. I’ve often seen this happen with great serendipity, as with a woman whose estranged daughter called her after years of silence, just days after she’d talked about this painful situation in a healing service. Because the connection between love and healing is so strong, as our relationships heal, so do we.

It’s important to understand all the forms healing can take because it’s easy to come away feeling like nothing happened if we don’t get the outcome we had in mind. While we could participate in healing work and receive its benefits passively and unconsciously, it becomes far more powerful when we consciously recognize the positive results. Firstly, as we’re able to recognize the tangible results of our spiritual work, we have more faith in it, which makes it more effective. What’s more, when we recognize the subtle beginnings of healing, we’re more apt to nurture them and allow a small healing effect to grow into a greater one. Imagine if the woman with chronic pain dismissed her experience of happiness as momentary and insignificant and left the healing service disappointed that she still had pain. She might never have nurtured that new state of mind into a more fulfilling life that ultimately resulted in far less pain. Last but not least, any time we give grateful attention to our blessings in any form, we attract more opportunities to feel grateful. Recognizing healing is, in and of itself, a healing act.

Seven Key Elements of Healing

The following are some key elements that facilitate a powerful experience of healing with any of these methods. The first two are aimed specifically at the recipient in the healing interaction but many of these are equally applicable to the healer achieving an effective state for facilitating healing.

  1. Identifying a desire for healing: Identifying a desire for anything we wish to call forth is a creative act. It directs intention and focus toward this issue and starts healing energy moving in the direction of our intent.
  2. Identifying and releasing the payoffs of dis-ease: As last week’s lesson addressed in depth, as long as we need the payoffs of a painful condition, we will subconsciously hold it in place. Giving attention to how a condition is still serving us makes any form of treatment or healing more effective.
  3. Living in the moment in unconditional love: When Lawrence LeShan studied a large group of spiritual healers, as described in his classic book, The Medium, the Mystic, and the Physicist, he found the experience of deep caring to be common to all. In the words of one of his healers, “Only love can generate the healing fire.” This is also the essence of attitudinal healing which is all about letting go of the past and the future and simply amplifying love in the moment. In Gerald Jampolsky’s early experiments with this, he brought seriously ill children togeter with adult helping professionals to relate as peers, practicing these principles of unconditional love. What began simply as an exercise in creating a peaceful state of mind proved to facilitate healing miracles as children defied doctors’ prognoses and healed from terminal illnesses. Dean Ornish’s excellent book, Love and Survival pulls together decades of medical research documenting the connection between all different forms of love and physical healing. He concludes that, “love and intimacy are among the most powerful factors in health and illness.” Quite simply, every time we experience even an instant of unconditional love, inner peace, compassion and forgiveness, we’re in a powerful healing state. We heal ourselves and we become a healer to others as well.
  4. Faith: Faith isn’t a hope or wish for a future outcome. Rather, it’s the feeling of certainty that the future is going to be fine, no matter what. When we have faith, we’re free to be at peace in the present and able to let go of worry about the future. With hoping and wishing, we’re focused on what we don’t have and attach our peace of mind to a specific future outcome. It then becomes easy to vacillate between hope and fear and, consequently, lose our ability to be present and at peace. Ultimately, faith isn’t about trusting in an outcome; it’s a willingness to trust God and the process of life. Paradoxically, when we deeply trust we’ll be OK no matter what, we begin to attract miracles.
  5. Surrender: Surrender isn’t the same as giving up in defeat. The kind of surrender I’m suggesting here is a lightness of being, not about losing the battle, but about stepping out of the fight. So often we think of ourselves as “battling” a health condition and even use that very word. (Choose your words carefully as you speak about illness as they describe the reality we’re creating. Would you rather be battling cancer, suffering from cancer, living with cancer or healing from cancer? Think carefully of the implications because your words help shape your experience.) I once knew a woman who “battled” melanoma for fifteen years and finally became cancer free after weeks of working with the affirmation, “Thank you, God, for cancer.” The first thing she noticed, just days into this affirmation work and before there were any noticeable physical effects, was that for the first time she felt at peace with her disease. Every condition we battle is in some way serving us. Even if we don’t fully understand how, the more we accept the truth of this, the more swiftly we can release the struggle and pain. There’s an exercise I sometimes do in workshops where I have an individual who feels hopelessly stuck in some area of life invite people from the group to represent the various limiting messages she has going on in her own head. These helpers externalize and dramatize the person’s inner dialogue and what ensues is generally a noisy debate between the protagonist and her “voices.” At some point in this drama I ask the rest of the group to call to person, now locked in battle with her own demons, and see if they can entice her with offers of love and kindness. It’s fascinating to see how many people stubbornly hang on to the fight and find it more compelling than the breath of fresh air coming from beyond. There’s never an end to these battles. They could go on endlessly if I didn’t intervene and, even though fighting in the same old way doesn’t produce any new results, people keep at it as long as I let them. When I do finally step in, the protagonist typically says, “Yup, this is how I feel stuck in my life!”Eventually, many in this exercise discover that as much as they hate the battle, it’s energizing and seductively holds their attention. Some realize that battling their own self feels comfortably familiar, and safer than being fully available and intimate with another. Those who break free from this inner war don’t do it by “winning;” they do it by losing interest in it. They shift their attention from fighting what’s wrong to embracing love. The voices don’t go away; they just fade into the background and eventually wither from lack of attention. This is the power of surrender. It requires letting go of stubbornness, of being right, of trying to control the outcome, and stepping back from fighting whatever condition we love to hate.One last important word on surrender: it’s not to be confused with the highly debilitating states of passivity and depression. There are times when achieving a “fighting” state of mind is a good thing and supports healing. “Battling” is a big step up from hopeless despair, and early studies of mental attitude and illness showed that the more “difficult” cancer patients who fought their treatments and medical caregivers had a better survival rate than passive, “good” patients who just gave up and died. Sometimes getting mad is a step toward feeling alive. Surrendering to love is a next step, if and when we’re ready.
  6. Envision healing: Instead of waiting for healing, envision it. Any time your in a healing process and may be tempted to dwell on the evidence of your symptoms still there, vividly imagine them leaving or already gone. Build this envisioning into your daily routines. I knew a young woman with cancer who attached her healing imagery to the unavoidable act of peeing. At every opportunity, she imagined herself peeing out all the cancer cells in her body.
  7. Group Agreement: The opportunity to do healing work in a group offers some powerful advantages. Some healers have even noticed a higher proportion of healings in their group sessions than when working with people individually. There’s a powerful amplification of energy created when a group of minds join forces. Excitement, faith, and willingness to believe grow exponentially in groups and create fertile ground for miraculous outcomes. Individuals are propelled far beyond where they could go on their own steam alone. Even nonbelievers are more likely to experience dramatic results as the energy of the group becomes wave-like, lifting everyone.Group intention can literally suspend the rules of the natural world as we know them. For example, if you put your hand in fire, do you believe it would burn? Of course you do, and it would! But if you were to attend a fire-walking event and spent a few hours with a group of people convincing yourselves that the fire wouldn’t hurt, more than likely you’d successfully trot across a big bed of hot coals, unharmed.States of mind-over-matter that might take years of dedicated practice for an individual to achieve alone can be realized with phenomenal speed in a group, even by those who feel doubtful of the process or of their own ability to have a positive result. When people join together in an intention that reality is going to work differently, miraculously, it does. This even happens in groups that are separated by space or by time, as with my online classes and phone-in healings services. Quantum science and relativity theory have taught us that the fixed nature of space and time are as illusionary as the apparent solidity of the physical realm.

    We all have the power to heal and even if you don’t think of yourself this way, know that your sheer intention to help adds power to the whole. As Delores Krieger describes this in the context of therapeutic touch, “…from the moment one turns one’s attention to helping or healing another, an energetic interchange between those two people has already begun… The focusing of your intention gives explicit, although perhaps unconscious, direction to your energy flow.” So as you participate in a phone-in healing service or listen to a down-loaded meditation, know that you add power to every listener’s experience.

What is Spiritual Healing?

An Overview of Spiritual and Energetic Healing
There are countless methods for spiritual and energetic healing and the following offers some explanation of the different broad categories most healing approaches fall into. Some modalities require many sessions, some take just seconds. Many use different hand positions and specific manipulations, some involve no touch at all, and others are practiced over long distances. Some are designed to treat specific symptoms and some are aimed at changing our very DNA. Some are steeped in religious dogma, ritual and ancient traditions while others are founded in science. Here are a few basic styles of healing and what characterizes each of them.
Energy Healing

Energy healing works with an energetic field that permeates and extends beyond the physical body. Signs of illness show up in this field before manifesting as physical symptoms and with a little practice this “aura” can be experienced, even by a novice. While the awareness of an energy field has been an integral part of mainstream medicine in the Eastern hemisphere for thousands of years (with medical systems such as acupuncture being every bit as precise, specialized and effective as Western medical techniques), it’s a relatively new addition to Western ways of thinking.

Energy healing generally operates in much the same way as conventional medicine, by addressing symptoms, identifying energy blocks and areas of dysfunction, and moving energy around in specific, mechanical ways. The healer often visualizes transferring or channeling healing energy to the recipient, using energy in much the same way an MD uses medication, surgery and other treatment. Therapeutic Touch, a technique developed by nurse, Delores Krieger, Ph.D., R.N., is a well-known example of this approach that has become increasingly integrated into mainstream medicine since she introduced it into New York University’s nursing curriculum in the 1970’s. Her book, The Therapeutic Touch is an excellent introduction to the practice of energy healing.
Spiritual Healing

With spiritual healing, instead of moving energy around to address specific problem areas, the healer goes into a powerful state of unconditional love and has an experience of becoming one with the healing recipient. Rather than focusing on illness, the healer joins with the person’s spiritual self, where there is no illness. This powerful attention to the recipient’s intrinsic wellness helps call it forth. I think of this style of healing as “repatterning” rather than repairing.

Faith Healing

Faith healing doesn’t require that the healer “diagnose” energetically, direct energy, or be versed in a particular methodology. There may still be a focus on symptoms and on disappearing signs of illness but healing is performed by invoking the power of a higher spiritual source, as in Christian faith healing. Faith healers often describe their work as “prayer.”
Attitudinal Healing

Attitudinal healing is simply a shift in perspective that assumes illness to be illusionary and the spiritual essence of our being to be eternally whole and complete. Thus, by identifying with our spiritual wholeness rather than our physical dis-ease, we can feel at peace regardless of outer circumstances and often release physical symptoms of illness as well. The term “attitudinal healing” was coined by psychiatrist, Gerald Jampolsky to describe a philosophy he drew from A Course in Miracles and applied in his work with children and adults experiencing illness (there are now many Centers for Attitudinal Healing around the world based on Jampolsky’s modelÑGoogle “Center for Attitudinal Healing” to find out more) but there are numerous approaches to healing that give attention to attitude rather than illness. Some metaphysical paths even discourage healing practices altogether on the premise that the act of “healing” affirms the reality of illness and is counterproductive to achieving the greater reality that we are already perfectly whole.

The Common Denominator: Healing Follows Intention

All of these methods are very good at facilitating a peaceful state and all have been known to facilitate the spontaneous healing of physical illness, sometimes quite miraculously. Is one method better than another? I tend to think they’re like apples and oranges, different and useful in different ways. The key principle that makes them all work, even ones that seem to contradict one another, is that healing follows the intention of the healer. While healers may be using hands or voice in very specific ways to direct energy, invoking higher powers, using elaborate ritual or working within a framework of specific religious dogma, it’s their expectations, beliefs and envisioning of the healing process, along with their heart-felt caring, that are bringing about a healing response.