Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Multiple Layers of Healing

If there is one element that can get ignored in the spiritual path, it is the element of healing. I think in some ways, many people come to the spiritual path as a kind of last ditch chance to escape themselves and the suffering they have endured and are enduring. It is a true shock to many of them when the spiritual path, instead, turns them directly towards this pain and all the painful memories that they are carrying inside of them. That is, of course, assuming that the spiritual teacher understands his/her role properly, but I digress.

Usually, you will find that the spiritual path doesn't really start until you've had to give up something you thought you had to have. Along with that, a kind of healing will clear whatever issue of attachment was involved. For others of you, healing is all that you really want, and you may not yet realize the inner riches that you will soon find as you clean out the wounds you carry.

Healing Again and Again and Again
Healing is such an important topic that I devoted a whole section to it in my ebook, "Everyday Spirituality: Cultivating an Awakening." You can find a good portion of it over in the Starting Out section on this blog. The many posts in that section discuss healing on multiple levels from the crown of your head to the tip of your toes. Spirituality leaves nothing out, and wherever you are hurting, you must now return to heal those inner wounds so that you can begin to grow into your fullness. Wherever you are still in pain, denial, fear, or anger, that is a place that cannot grow. It is stuck in that pain. You can't run from it, hide from it, repress it, or ignore it. So now is the time to turn and face it.

For many of you, this will mean re-opening those wounds so that you can reach in and clean out the poison. Regardless of the events that have hurt you, you can be healed. No pain is too great. Only the mind can think that there are pains that cannot be healed. In the infinite and in union with spirit, all becomes one. In those moments, there cannot be that which is healthy and that which is hurt. It all blends together. Much like the ocean, those old hurts are like ice that dissolve and intermingle again into the greater waters of the universe.

But this may not be easy, and it is likely that you will heal multiple times because each level of you will need to heal.

Facing Deep Trauma: An Example of the Levels of Healing
To give you a kind of rough outline of how healing often looks, let's say that someone has severe physical childhood trauma. This kind of pain will have affected the person's entire being: heart, body, and mind. Consequently, healing needs to proceed on every level. For those of you in awakening who have had this kind of trauma, you may be in a lot of pain. I hope you are doing what you need to to assist the healing process as well as giving yourself lots of space to allow the energy in you to naturally heal things. It may be uncomfortable, but you can release this poison and come into a healthy state of awareness.

So, here's a macro-view of some of the things that may be necessary for healing deep physical trauma:
  • Healing the Mind
    • The mind may be in denial of the trauma. Denial must be healed to begin to face what has happened.
    • The person may not be able to speak about it. Finding someone safe to talk about the trauma and journaling about it can help to more fully acknowledge the pain.
    • The mind may have taken on a victim identity. The individual will need to look at where and how this identity has taken over his/her life and begin to reclaim his/her power on every level.
  • Healing the Heart
    • Forgiveness to the perpetrator is essential to letting go of the pain.
    • Forgiveness to others who may have helped, but didn't or who abetted the situation is also necessary.
    • Forgiveness to oneself is necessary to let go of the illusion that one could have changed something or that the victimized individual did something wrong.
  • Healing the Body
    • Ritual may be necessary to have a ritualized confrontation with someone who stands in as a surrogate for the perpetrator. In some cases, facing the actual perpetrator is necessary, but depending on the situation, this can be dangerous. It is always advisable to err towards one's personal safety because this is a process of healing and should never compound old pain.
    • Massage and bodywork can be very helpful, but also very intense. The right practitioner needs to be found to work in such difficult spaces so the person can feel safe while potentially physically feeling the violence again. The point isn't to get lost in the pain; the point is to acknowledge and fully release it as the feelings and sensations arise.
This gives you an idea of what may be necessary to heal a deep physical trauma, and there are many, many, many other tools that can be used to help heal each level. I only wanted to give you an idea of how this can look with just one issue.

Any of you working through deep trauma have my deepest sympathies. I am able to work with people who are in deep need of dramatic healing, but you have to be ready for this kind of work and willing to experience a lot of discomfort again to release it and heal.

Less Traumatic Healing Can Be Just as Intense
We are all here to experience what it is that we are here to experience. Just because you haven't had anything deeply physically traumatic happen to you doesn't mean that healing won't necessarily be extremely difficult. We all have things that like to bury themselves deep in our energy fields and our psyches. Part of what awakening does is to light up a fire and to create an intense crucible to force these things out into the light. In that way, we can finally see those aspects of ourselves. We can see our fears, desires, angers, despair, and other attachments. We have to look at them. Coming to healing before awakening means that you need to create this crucible. You need to develop the inner courage to stand in this fire and see what comes up. The point is not to make yourself suffer. Instead, the point is to bring the light to shine on where you are already suffering. In seeing this, you can begin to make conscious decisions and finding appropriate healing tools and modalities.

Otherwise, you continue to go through the same cycles in your life. You continue to have oppressive bosses, undependable romantic partners, money issues, and so forth. Many things can be healed, but it involves bringing the mirror and the light closer to you to see all that you are carrying. Each pain and issue will need to be healed differently. The reason why I wrote up an outline of the healing needed to go on in the above situation is that I wanted to show you why healing can see somewhat endless. So many issues infiltrate themselves deeply into ourselves. Consequently, our minds, hearts, and bodies all have to heal from them, and each does so in its own way. A solution for the mind (journaling) often does nothing to heal an issue of the body (which learns through physical sensation and doing). All of these different needs need to be honored to fully heal as well as to integrate an awakening.

Moving Slowly on the Path to Healing
Most of all in this time of fast-fixes and super pills, I encourage you to go slowly. Each time a major layer is peeled away and something is healed, you need time to integrate that healing and to wash out any remaining issues on that particular level. Excellent massage therapists really do become energy healers of sorts because of how they work with the body. It's not just physical toxins that can get released and washed out, but the energy of past moments and places where you got stuck. Water becomes an essential part of healing. Those of you in awakening may have noticed that you are constantly drinking water. This is a good thing, and for anyone doing or headed towards a lot of healing, drinking lots of water is a must.

Because water is helping you move towards your natural level of purity. It's not an ideal of purity; it is actually your natural pure state, which has gotten muddied by the experiences of this world. Furthermore, healing is yet another way to talk about letting go. It can be a beautiful excuse to get help in letting go. Getting help is not a bad thing, although there are times when we must do things on our own. So if you feel like you need help to heal, ask for it, but you will still need to supply the courage, tenacity, and love to go through all the levels and layers of healing so that you can fully be you.

For more thoughts, you can watch this video:



Today's beautiful photo comes from my student, Jenn.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...