Being a healer is the simplest job in the world, but try telling that to my ego.
Recently, I have been examining the nature of healing, since that seems to be what my life is about. Initially it was just about healing myself. My bruised and broken childhood, tormented teenager-hood and various traumas give me plenty of “grist for the mill.”
I started to feel the call to help other people in their own healing work early into my twenties. I wasn’t even sure what healing was back then, but I knew I wanted to help people do it. Initially I thought that I wanted to be a western medical doctor. Then I thought I would do better as a naturopath. I started school for naturopathic medicine, and quickly realized that I was not interested in the stress, debt and general naturopathic culture that I was encountering. So I went to yoga teacher training. I knew that was what I wanted to do. Until I realized that I wanted to be an psychic energy worker…
In all of these various iterations, the basic idea has remained the same; to help people heal.
Over the years I have learned a lot about what healing actually is. Healing is not necessarily the same thing as curing, or fixing. To heal comes from the Proto-Germanic word hailjan which means “to make whole again”. This is my current (working) definition of what it means to heal; to become whole again.
When we are depressed, anxious, tense, sick, traumatized, etc., we are out of alignment with the natural joy of life. We are fragmented. We are not whole.
What do I mean by “wholeness” and “natural joy”?
The ultimate state of all things is perfection, completion, and wholeness. Inside of this there is great joy that understands and yet transcends the pain and suffering that we experience in this life. This idea is a central theme in every spiritual tradition.
(For all of you yogis out there, the Sanskrit word for this concept is Purnam, which translates as perfect, whole and complete).
Even though healing is not the same as curing or fixing, it is true that an uncomfortable issue or challenge will very often resolve itself in the healing process, and that is a wonderful thing! From my perspective, this happens because we when return to our original state of wholeness and joy, any energy that is not in alignment with that vibration must fall away, and when it does we see the issue or challenge resolve.
When I first began identifying as a healer, I found the term a little unnerving. As if I could heal anybody. It started to feel like a lot of pressure.
Then, I realized; I don’t heal anybody, because nobody heals anybody. Ever.
My only job, in my work and in my life, is to create the conditions that allow healing to occur.
Healing is something that just happens. It is what the Universe does.
Think of the surgeon who sews torn tendons and muscles back together; The surgeon creates the conditions that allow the tendons and muscles to cellularly reproduce and knit themselves back together. There is NO WAY said surgeon actually understands how to make broken body parts grow back together. The surgeon creates the conditions, and then…something else happens. A deeper wisdom. An intelligent force. A miracle: the tendons grow back together. In another example, the radiation creates the conditions so that the immune system can regulate things, and the cancer stays in remission. The therapist stands witness, the medication changes the brain chemistry, and the depression loses it’s grip; there is a gap in between the medication changing the neurochemistry and the depression losing it’s grip on a person. That gap is an intelligence that’s infinitely bigger than our egos. That gap is our tendency towards wholeness. That gap is a miracle.
That gap is where healing happens; when the conditions are right, healing just happens.
Sometimes I forget this and then I feel like I have to make something happen. Like I have heal myself, or heal someone else. Then I feel small, and powerless. I feel like an imposture. I find myself stuck in effort, striving and grasping. (Which, ironically, creates a very challenging environment for healing to occur in).
This is actually just my ego trying to be God. This is the part of me that gets confused and mistakenly thinks that I can control and force my way through the healing process. This is the part of me that thinks that everything is my responsibility. We all fall into this trap from time to time.
The reality is that my job as a healer, both of myself and others, is simply to hold the container so that the Universe can do it’s thing.
I hold the space and something bigger than me does something I can’t fully comprehend. I am simply the crucible in which the alchemical process unfolds.
It’s not always easy to hold the space for healing, but it’s really not complicated. I don’t have to figure anything out, fix anybody or make anything happen. Thank Goodness!
In fact, to hold the container is more of a practice of non-doing. It is a practice of deep presence, spaciousness, equanimity and trust. It is the practice of getting out of the way, and being a witness to the dance of perfection and wholeness that is What Is.
I am humbled and grateful for the opportunity.
A verse from the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, an ancient Vedic (and Yogic) text:
That is the whole, this is the whole
from the whole, the whole becomes manifest;
taking away the whole from the whole,
the whole remains.
“Purnam is one of the most significant statements ever made anywhere on the earth at any time. It contains the whole secret of the mystic approach towards life.” -Osho