Traditionally education means the discipline of mind and character. The discipline of mind guaranteed by our American educational system and crowned by college degrees does not necessarily develop character. The demand and expectancy of education today is that it fulfills what was left incomplete in the formative patterning years, pre-birth through five years of age. This is where character is molded and self-control patterned. The home and the caretakers within that society in mini-form are the first guides who model what is to come. Without recognizing the real purpose of education – the nurturing guidance of the soul, its goal and its purpose, we become engulfed by the world, “of it instead of in it,” determined to keep up with the rat race, as Pir Vilayat points out to us. We lose sight of the purpose of life and the resulting imbalance in our bodies brings on ill health.
We then play a game of escape in order to “hang in there” to the bitter finish line. We lose sight of the real purpose and meaning of education; the blossoming of each soul in its own time and space as it pursues its own goal. Illness and disease bring the wild game to an end when the individual is forced to slow down and/or stop and painfully look back and say, “why me?” After all else fails we usually approach the healer as the last recourse. As long as denial or drugs or palliatives can mute the symptoms, we will seldom ask for spiritual healing. But when that time comes we will turn back to listening within for some real answers to “What went wrong? I was going along so well.” Not until the body refuses to be pushed any further, not until the mind can no longer escape or the emotional body take the pain will we face up to changing the habit patterns, the rhythms, and lack of balance that brought us to this brink.
Now healing can begin! Restoring souls to their original purity and integrity, to their original sound state, becomes the purpose of the spiritual healer. The healer’s aim should be to break the unbalanced rhythm and restore the balance of the complex system that exists beneath flesh and bone. The Sufi Master Hazrat Inayat Khan gave us a guide to how the human soul grows and the means of restoring the five bodies. We realize and learn through exploration, experience, and discovery of the right path for each complex and very individual person. He said, “A man must first of all be a person” if he is to realize his purpose in life. Nothing is so disillusioning today as talking to numerous college graduates who have spent five years in higher education and still do not know who they are or where they are going. Those who crash headlong into nervous conditions—mental or emotional ill health—are perhaps the most fortunate spiritually; for in the search to regain health they often become the best healers of others. Being forced to listen to what the body is telling us incorporates the mental and reasoning body into the process of changing behavior patterns towards self and others. A healthy personality can withstand the vicissitudes of life. If life hands healthy beings a lemon we will be able to do something with it, like making lemonade. The quality of such a personality will seldom suffer from mental illness. The healer knows that a sense of humor is a great tool in healing. Humor towards one’s predicament can transmute frustration and renew hope.
The healer thus prepares the ground for God to work through him or her. The American Indian had wisdom on the approach to illnesses and pain as the medicine man saw it. Rolling Thunder tells us that not all illness should be healed for we may be stopping a soul from paying a past debt owed by its spirit or perhaps a future debt we do not yet know. To find a way of paying that debt may be the answer. Pir Vilayat in his beautifully designed alchemical retreat gives us a way of unwinding the psyche and finding that way. Our state of mind works on the physical body and our physical body objects to the emotional body, throwing the breath out of balance and changing the body’s chemistry. The healer must recognize where tone is lacking and re-educate patients by teaching them a new rhythm, or by the healer’s own devotion, lift the patient’s vibrations into a new space.
The way a person thinks when s/he is ill tends to build thought-forms surrounding and penetrating the electromagnetic field of the body. Fear and self-protection seal us off from the source of our power. The healer never puts this insight into words but uses the heart as the receptor and conductor of powerful silent devotions to build a new atmosphere for self-healing to take place in. Not only in present healing but in absent healing, healers continue to hold the patient in perfect condition before their mind’s eye. In surrounding them in the light of God and using every positive expectation, the healer weakens the trauma of fear that holds the negative thought-forms to the subtle bodies. As the light is restored to the aura, healing begins to work from the outside in.
Healing promotes, restores, and maintains soundness of body, mind, soul, and moral welfare in other ways too. Empathy tunes the consciousness of patient and healer to the source of the problem. The physical body can be looked at first to determine how the person sits and walks. Posture, whether sitting, walking, or standing tells us whether that patient favors one side of the body over the other, is overly stressed or relaxed, is hyper- or hypo-active by nature, is blocking or pulling in the magnetic field as a snail pulls into its shell when the vistas are too great to meet head on, or scattering the light field to all points of the compass. Posture controls muscles and nerves and this affects the mind. Gaining physical control again needs thought-power and control of breath, according to Hazrat Inayat Khan. Physical control is the tool we must use to make the foundation for the expansion and maintenance of good health. Rest and relaxation in a positive environment filled with light forces the body that is ill to change posture and regain magnetic force. Sometimes therapy is needed to correct nerve pressures and muscular trauma too long neglected.
The same methods used in education by a wise guide are also used by healers. They ask themselves, “Is this person listening to his/her own body needs, responding to an environment which is wrong for him/her, undiscriminating, tuned out?” Teacher or healers must see and hear what the person is trying to communicate by what s/he is acting out in life. To get to the core of the condition healers must gain and maintain their power and control by touching the oneness of the whole being: spiritual, mental, emotional, social, and moral. In controlling their own breath, having empathy, and deepening the vision of their own kundalini as a hollow reed, the spirit of guidance comes through and uses them as an instrument of healing.
Meeting the patient “where s/he is at”; making soul contact through the glance and heart contact by means of mirroring, the healer can see the most important single source of the problem without touching the physical body. Consideration for the suffering of the patient must not get the healer involved in the state of imbalance. The art of silence aids in this stage of healing.
The attitudes that possess the illness must be disintegrated at the very beginning. An attitude of being willing to unlearn and relearn is necessary to make progress. Mind and body are so closely connected that one can almost say that in pain they are one. Getting patients to put their minds on something they love or wish very much to have is a trick to force the change of focus and institute concentration. This is an act of will in which the mind sees and hears inwardly. It can become the composition for a positive thought-form to change patients’ perspectives toward the illness. Contemplation follows which enables the patient to direct the power of their own healing force to the exact spot of the trouble. The healer strengthens this effort by adding their own concentration to the effort. Healers need to release many ideas they hold about self-denial. In chronic diseases, one must learn renunciation of all that one has gained and lost and accept that many of our fears may never be realized. The mind meets the body by not deploring its condition but by endeavoring to know, understand, and rule it. Releasing guilt towards past sins, adapting to a new life style, diet, and goals are all a part of the transformation towards a true spiritual healing of the soul. The healer helps patients to accept their bodies as instruments “to experience both the life outside and the life within” (Hazrat Inayat Khan, Vol. IV, page 130), as an opportunity for God to expand the consciousness of self.
As new attitudes are accepted, improving health ensues. Control of our fears and proper rhythm of breath brings healing by strengthening the energy flow; weaknesses causing poor condition of mind and spirit can be eliminated. It is the breath which connects body to soul (Hazrat Inayat Khan, Vol. XII, pg. 50). Breath is the power behind our every action according to Hazrat Inayat Khan, who was a fine healer. Control of breath so that the inhalation and exhalation are natural and balanced in rhythm can change the mind’s patterns of thinking. The perception of inhalation and exhalation of air is only the effect of breathing. “Behind the sound of breath is the current,” Hazrat Inayat Khan reminds us. It is the power of the current which can change the chemistry of the body and bring about the change we wish to see. The healer’s task is to take on the out-of-balance rhythm and breathing with the patient and transform them into new patterns by lifting the tone to their own rhythm. Breathing as discussed by Hazrat Inayat Khan (Vol. IV, pg. 189 and Vol. VII, pgs. 103-4), in this sense is far more than inhaling oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide. Accepting that our bodies are the instruments by and through which we experience life inside and out (Hazrat Inayat Khan, Vol. IV, pg. 130) enables ill people to use suffering as a learning, expanding experience instead of a cross to bear.
This kind of learning comes through discovery of the higher being that dwells within each person, which can change states of vibration, rebuild organs and cells, and eliminate disease. Our master warns us that gaining thought power, which enables us to conquer the body’s forces, should never become too rigidified. Rules must always change to fit individual needs. Healers, like guides in education, intuit when this is necessary and tune their instrument to the individual need.
The American Indian medicine man, Rolling Thunder, once told me that all pain and sickness is caused by the spirit paying off a soul debt. Sometimes that debt is one in the future caused by attitudes we dare presently make which leads the person on the wrong path and sometimes it is from past neglect of the body, mind, or soul. There is often a better way of releasing guilt for half-realized causes of pain or of finding less painful ways of repaying our debts.
The emotional body is where pain begins and the soul knows this but cannot always access it without the help of a spiritual guide. The retreats of Pir Vilayat Khan help to unravel these knots within the psyche beautifully. The healers’ task is to raise the patient’s self-concept into higher states of consciousness by first attaining those states themselves. Here mirroring is invaluable. Many times a soul needs healing in order to release fears that traumatize into pain. All that takes away consciousness of the lesser self can relieve pain and sickness. No teacher or healer can lift another’s self-concept unless s/he has first attained the state of consciousness where “I am” has been forgotten and “Thou art” is all that exists in the memory. Even then, constant purification of all bodies must be practiced.
The spiritual body is best healed by love. The spiritual body often has been injured or defiled in childhood and has brought into adult transitions a hunger for love but an inability to give it to the humanity without possession or expectation in return. The healer must re-educate the patient in trust by showing that s/he cares deeply for the pain of another and as one would with children, begin by showing them how to care, share, and receive without fear of obligation. Leading soul-sick ones to bring to the surface what they think of themselves in their present state of suffering is sometimes possible by encouraging writing, drawing, or painting. Sentences beginning with “I feel I am…” and “I exist as …” can be the most wonderful therapy. They are impersonal enough to be shared as an art form or a gift and open doors to soul healing and releasing the fear of not being loved or wanted. The chronically ill often feel that they are no longer living but merely existing to suffer. When patients can direct their inner selves to express what they were and believe themselves still to be, healing rays begin to emanate from the soul into other areas being returned to perfect health; healing begins to take place.
The spiritual body in trauma can be taught to release the ego to divine guidance, to get out of the way of God’s healing grace. The following methods, singly or in any sequence may be used.
- Prayer may be used as the first purification—not pleading for release from the condition but putting oneself into determined and focused praise of the divine beloved. When praise reaches to the height of the archangels, it is possible to change the body chemistry so as to eliminate all poisons, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. One can rise to that point in adoration where one no longer asks, “Why me” but instead “What is the lesson I am learning?” Purify and clarify my vision that I may see my error. Open my ears “that I may hear Thy voice which constantly comes from within.” A good prayer of purification need not be a long one. Nayaz, the Sufi prayer of healing, is our shortest prayer—yet so potent
- By thought, in which we place ourselves in the power of the hierarchy, that chain of Sufis that is so powerful in chaining “one soul to another, and from that soul to another yet again” (Hazrat Inayat Khan, Message Vol. IV, 281). We can link ourselves to higher beings who in turn rejuvenate our hopes, ideals, and aspirations, lifting our bodies to higher states of consciousness. The power for self-healing is greatly enhanced after such attunement through thought form.
- By learning new dimensions of feeling, realization of selfhood is attained. This healing is termed the ‘silent way’. Communication on the very basic level of being human, yet with the divine spark within us, enables a healer to communicate with the spirit of the sick person. As s/he sees and intuits the patients’ needs, the healer connects patients to the roots of their being by leading them back to the sources from which they came; reconnecting with Mother Earth through magnetism, the walks, and the purification breaths. The water, air, and earth elements are a trine of healing used by all ancient peoples and are just as potent today when their elementals are attuned to. The air element moves sick people away from possession of their symptoms and into new spaces. The water element reconnects soul with mind and body so that the life force may again flow freely. The power of the fire element to burn out all dross by the power of its light is beautifully taught in spiritual retreats. That power can be directed to the cells of the body to destroy all disease when the healer can get the patient to be “the general” over the “knights of the light”. “The comforter, the one greater than I,” which the master Jesus taught, is that same Holy Spirit called ‘the light’.
- Lastly, purification can be accomplished by sympathy expressed in the silence, by the touch of a hand, the glance, and the placing of hands on the shoulders. Here no verbal reinforcement is given; no judgment of what has been seen or intuited by the healer is made known. The healer by attunement has become so one with the patient that they are able to make themselves clear channels for the healing to take place through them.
All of these methods of healing are the educational methods which may be used in teaching a patient to unlearn and relearn through discovery of new dimensions of healing one’s own body, mind, spirit, and soul that will lead one to the individual’s life goal.