Key Healing Elements
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.