The word healing literally means to ‘make whole’, and by conventional definition, refers to a process wherein health and normal function is restored to a person who is in some way unbalanced, diseased or injured. It can be used to describe a change, transformation or improvement at any level in the individual- emotional, mental, spiritual, energetic or physical. The term healing is sometimes used interchangeably with curing, although they are entirely different things. Curing implies the absence of the diseased state entirely, typically associated with a cessation in some form of medication, treatment or external intervention. When there is a cure, there is an endpoint. Healing, however, is a process that takes place inside of us, where balance and harmony is restored to the body-mind-spirit complex. It can be achieved regardless of whether or not there is a cure. Healing involves growth and development of the individual in a positive sense, and a shift towards a different state of being, owing to a change in one’s inherent beliefs, thoughts, emotions, or conscious awareness, the typical drivers of this process. It is a spiritual self-evolution of sorts and is a process of moving towards wholeness, not necessarily about achieving an end result. Healing is about letting go of everything that isn’t truly ‘us’, our beliefs and perceptions and becoming who we really are at a fundamental level.
In the main, the allopathic medical system tends to emphasize the physical aspect of disease, so that many believe being healthy or healed means being in perfect physical condition, without any physical abnormality, dysfunction or symptoms. In accordance with the definition of healing, however, as diseased individuals, we may become ‘healed’, yet never return exactly to the way we were physically, before the disease. In fact, it may be possible, that we may exhibit any number of disease symptoms, yet our experience of these is not consistent with the disease itself. This is because the healing process, invokes our true spiritual nature, and allows us to transcend the suffering associated with the symptoms of disease. We can be badly broken in body, without having to view our situation as being difficult, unfortunate or undesirable. We can even experience severe pain, discomfort or physical limitations, yet, be completely at peace with what is happening in our bodies, without feeling a need for our experience of disease to be different. Healing requires that we embrace our current reality and our bodies, as an act of self-love and self-forgiveness, without judgement.
I remember one of my natural healing arts practitioners telling me that she could guarantee that as a result of our work together, we would be able to address the emotional, mental and spiritual factors associated with my health issues, but that the physical issues would be much harder to affect. In my case, the radiation and radio frequency ablation procedures that were done on my spine, the pelvic and shoulder surgeries, the injections as well as physical trauma due to accidents and injury, have created irreversible damage and dysfunction in my body. The resulting nerve damage, irregular nerve conduction, problems with vascular flow, spinal degeneration, as well as scar tissue have created a variety of challenging symptoms, pain and discomfort. Years of medication as well as high and unremitting pain levels, have eventually worn down the hypothalamic pituitary axis (via a process known as limbic kindling), leading to problems with my neuroendocrine system, involving my pituitary, adrenal and thyroid gland function and well as hormone levels. During my appointments, every time I complained about my terrible symptoms, my practitioner would repeatedly advise me that my job was to transcend them. She patiently assured me that eventually I would stop trying to figure out what was wrong with me. Well, she was right. But it didn’t happened until I began to heal. I suffered until I surrendered.
Illness and disease, just like other challenges in our lives, represent an opportunity for us to surrender to the experience. Healing occurs when we stop struggling against ourselves and our lives, and accept whatever our situation presents to us. As always, there is wisdom in surrender, and there is grace. As Carolyn Myss says in her book, Defy Gravity (2009), “illness cannot be rationalized [and] healing comes from grace which transcends rational thought…grace is about surrendering one’s fear, grace is about trusting in the divine…” This means that sometimes we have to give up needing to know exactly what is wrong with us, or why we have become ill. Carolyn Myss says that in “healing beyond reason”, we need to accept and trust that there is a greater purpose in life as well as have faith that all things can be healed.
Everything happens to us for a reason, including disease. I believe as souls, we choose to be a certain way prior to our incarnation, but if we live out our life in contradiction of this agreement, as a consequence, we may actually ‘assume’ a disease. We may also elect to take a disease voluntarily. These choices serve either as a means of helping us learn through the challenges that disease may represent, or for the purposes of creating an opportunity for us to restore the mastery that resides within us for self-healing. In this context, disease may actually serve our best and highest good, or possibly even the highest good of others. Thus, in a spiritual context, disease cannot be seen as either good or bad, but merely as an experience from which our soul learns and grows. Disease can inspire us and help us engage the spiritual aspects of ourselves that are needed not only in healing, but also as a means of becoming who we truly are and in fulfilling our purpose.
While trolling on Twitter the other day, I was absolutely amazed at the plethora of healing modalities that exist. Many of these seem to focus on helping individuals address the underlying aspects of their disease, from an emotional, mental or energetic standpoint. Most approaches to healing infer that if we release the skeletons from our closet, clear the negative energy accumulated in our subconscious mind and soul, deal with our deeply entrenched behavioral patterns and release the memories of our trauma, we will be healed. What many fail to emphasize, however, is that there is something else that is far, far deeper that is required, and plays an integral part in our ability to heal. In addition, healing requires an ability to surrender our heads to our hearts. This to me, is deeply personal and sacred act and one that is at the core of our being. We must absolve our egos and engage the spiritual aspect of ourselves fully in the process. Being whole means that we are one in mind, body and spirit. It is our spiritual nature that helps us harness the ability of our consciousness, to create whatever we want to manifest in our body. As Carolyn Myss explains, “You will never uncover an explanation that actually heals the full measure of your pain because reason simply can’t penetrate the heart and soul that deeply…. the belief that the spirit within us is capable of regenerating the physical body is based on truth. The spirit can heal the body, mind and matters of the heart…the laws that govern the universe are constant and functioning according to a code of harmony and balance….as you acknowledge and come into harmony with the laws that govern you, the result is balance. And that balance fosters a healthier system within you, to such an extent that you can recover your health…the healing journey consists of achieving balance so as to allow grace to flow.” (Carolyn Myss, Defy Gravity, 2009)