The Unhealed Healer - reflections from A Course in Miracles

1 - I have special powers that others don't.

Magic always sees something "special" in the healer, which he believes he can offer as a gift to someone who does not have it. He may believe that the gift comes from God to him, but it is quite evident that he does not understand God if he thinks he has something that others lack. T111f/120

1 - I, along with everyone else, have all of God's qualities. We were all created equally. Differences in ability are only temporary.

Healing perceives nothing in the healer that everyone else does not share with him. T111/120

2 - I want a fair exchange for what I have given you.

The unhealed healer wants gratitude from his brothers, but he is not grateful to them. That is because he thinks he is giving something to them, and is not receiving something equally desirable in return. T112/121

2 - I lose nothing by giving, I only gain.

Never forget you give but to yourself. Who understands what giving means must laugh at the idea of sacrifice. W345/354f
You learn first that having rests on giving, and not on getting. T102/110
The cost of giving is receiving. T256/275

3 - I need to heal the body/personality/situation of my client.

At worse, they (therapists) but make the body real in their own minds, and having done so, seek for magic by which to heal the ills with which their minds endow it. How could such a process cure? It is ridiculous from start to finish. P8

All material means that you accept as remedies for bodily ills are restatements of magic principles. This is the first step in believing that the body makes its own illness. It is a second misstep to heal it through non-creative agents. It does not follow, however, that the use of such agents (e.g. pills, surgery etc) is evil. T20/24

3 - All sickness and suffering originates in our minds. There are no exceptions. To try and heal something other than the mind "makes the error real".

Psychotherapy is the only form of therapy there is. Since only the mind can be sick, only the mind can be healed. Only the mind is in need of healing. P1

The acceptance of sickness as a decision of the mind, for a purpose for which it would use the body, is the basis of healing. And this is so for healing in all forms. A patient decides that this is so, and he recovers. If he decides against recovery, he will not be healed. Who is the physician? Only the mind of the patient himself. Ml7/18

4 - Although I do not feel the love of God, I know what to do to heal you.

By definition, he is trying to give what he has not received. T159/171
It is not their hands that heal. It is not their voice that speaks the word of God. They merely give what has been given them. M18/19
You do not understand how to overlook errors, or you would not make them. It would be merely further error to believe either that you do not make them, or that you can correct them without a Guide to correction. And if you do not follow this Guide, your errors will not be corrected...the way to undo them, therefore, is not of you but for you. T157/168

4 - Only the love of God heals. As I join with you the love and light of God fills our minds.

The therapist sees in the patient all that he has not forgiven in himself, and is thus given another chance to look at it,open it to re-evaluation and forgive it. P13
A therapist does not heal; he lets healing be. He can point to darkness but he cannot bring light of himself, for light is not of him. Yet, being for him, it must also be for his patient. The Holy Spirit is the only Therapist. He makes healing clear in any situation in which He is the Guide. You can only let Him fulfil His function. He needs no help for this. He will tell you exactly what to do to help anyone He sends to you for help, and will speak to him through you if you do not interfere. T161/172f

5 - My client is an innocent victim of circumstances beyond his control.

Listen to what the ego says, and see what it directs you to see, and it is sure that you will see yourself as tiny, vulnerable and afraid. You will experience depression, a sense of worthlessness, and feelings of impermanence and unreality. You will believe that you are helpless prey to forces far beyond your own control, and far more powerful than you.
T425f/456

5 - There are no victims. We all choose how we want to react to the lessons of life.

It is impossible that the Son of God be merely driven by events outside of him. It is impossible that happenings that come to him were not his choice. His power of decision is the determiner of every situation in which he seems to find himself by chance or accident. T418/448

6 - I have pity for the pain you are suffering.

To empathise does not mean to join in suffering, for that is what you must refuse to understand. That is the ego's interpretation of empathy, and is always used to form a special relationship in which suffering is shared...The clearest proof that empathy as the ego uses it is destructive lies in the fact that it is applied only to certain types of problems and in certain people. These it selects out, and joins with. And it never joins except to strengthen itself. T307/330

Pain is a sign illusions reign in place of truth. It demonstrates God is denied, confused with fear, perceived as mad, and seen as traitor to Himself. If God is real, there is no pain. If pain is real, there is no God. W35l/361

6 - I acknowledge your pain and I empathise with the strength in you. My loving presence reminds you that the light of Christ is within you and that you can choose again.

Yet of this you may be sure; if you will merely sit quietly by and let the Holy Spirit relate through you, you will empathise with strength, and will gain in strength and not weakness. T307/330

The only meaningful contribution the healer can make is to present an example of one whose direction has been changed for him, and who no longer believes in nightmares of any kind. The light in his mind will therefore answer the questioner, who must decide with God that there is light because he sees it. T160/172

A sick person perceives himself as separate from God. Would you see him as separate from you? It is your task to heal the sense of separation that has made him sick. It is your function to recognize for him that what he believes about himself is not the truth. It is your forgiveness that must show him this. Healing is very simple. M54/56

Nothing is in Our Hands


Nothing is In Our Hands

Life is never inhibited by Ignorance
It passes on its message
Generation to generation
In the murmur of each moment
Unfolding.

Unperturbed by false authority.
The thread of Loveliness
is never lost to itself.

The mighty River does roar.
And at its source a vast, sacred pool.
Cradle of secrets.

Intelligence washes over us.
I hear sighs of lamentation rising to heaven.
I observe the grasping of the fearful.
I am The silent, heartfelt witness;
Disciple to the Sun.

Within us, an immutable stone,
bombarded by an endless batallion
of marching waves.
Mirror to the Mysterious Moon,
Ever waxing, ever waning...
Ever falling into itself.

En passant...

Our bodies are fashioned
from collected dust and clay
In a sad and wilting hallucination.

Yes, the leaves will fall from the trees...

Dusk will bring shade to those weary of the heat.
The angry will be nourished by the love of wholesome things.
Thunder and lightning shall bring respite to the lunatic.

To live by the grace
of hidden music
That is Living

Nothing is in Our Hands




The original meaning of Bhikkhu (an appelation for a Buddhist monk) - 'one who sits with his own terror.'

The Psychodynamics of Intention and Right action in a Healing Relationships

I once asked my teacher, who guided me to go and earn some money - as he had once been guided by his teacher in turn - what was most important, to accomplish the task before me. He turned and smiled to me "Purity of heart. Purity of heart is everything he said."

In the Course in Miracles there is a beautiful line about the nature of the healing relationship - it is a line which deserves serious meditation for any would be healer: "One rule should always be observed: No one should be turned away because he cannot pay." (P-3.III.6:1)

The central theme of a life is a person's Dharma. Dharma implies living a virtuous life - a life attuned to one's inner capacities and potentials. I always feel like the best way to appreciate Dharma is to consider the life of a great being. For example, one could take Shakespeare or Mozart or Hafiz or Rumi. How could Shakespeare, Hafiz and Rumi not write?! How could Mozart not compose music?! Life, when it is lived attuned to our inner potentials, is a song of gratefulness to our Creator....We may not all have the kind of genius of a Shakespeare or a Mozart...but we all have unique things to offer - and this is the critical issue - to live our truth and to do it with conviction and devotion.

A life that is lived well requires a stable mind - and when we are grounded in ourselves that means living out our inner potentials. It means being self-reliant. It means being a selfless example to others. The greatest teacher is he who teaches by example. But how does one represent a selfless example to the world and balance that with self-reliance?

Ralph Waldo Emerson in his essay "Self-Reliance" states that 'Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members.' This is nowhere better brought to the fore than in the story of a great Sufi saint who came into a town and spent a week dragging a dead dog tied to his waist around the streets. This man was the real thing - a real Holy man ('holy' etymologically means to have a mind that is whole - not fragmented and hence conflicted - ie a mind that can be like a still pond - a mind that can reflect the true nature of our inner selves). He was totally wise to the foolishness of his fellow man. He practiced what is a dying art - ie he was an exponent of the school of crazy wisdom.

His teaching was plain and simple. "I am just imitating you who look upon me as crazy. I drag a dead dog around - but you are no different - you are attached to the "dead dog" of the body. Blind allegiance to its unending demands keeps you bound to the world of Maya...you are tied to Samsara by your own actions only...see the ludicrousness of your lives and let go the attachments which keep you bound and foolish." Only one man in the town saw the genius of the saint's actions and he knew him to be a great being.

Every one else decided this man was insane. Blind, regimented thinking and the habit of not questioning things deeper kept them all from self-reflection and deep transformations. In his book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle maintenance Robert Persig writes that, of all the people in his parish, none is likely to make the bishop more uncomfortable than the saint. A being who is freed of the shackles of desire and conformity - is a being untainted by fear - a being who cannot be blinded by dogma or doctrine; who is immune to any authority beyond that of the Author Himself.

Joseph Campbell wrote that "the society is the enemy when it imposes its structures on the individual. On the dragon there are many scales. Every one of them says "Thou Shalt." Kill the dragon "Thous Shalt." When one has killed that dragon, one has become The Child."

He adds that when we "come to the highest order of love...compulsive, uncontrollable, illicit love, where there is nothing but love and you are totally ripped out of yourself in relation to God. You are le fou, the crazed one who's gone mad with love....When you follow your passion, society's help is gone. You must be very careful. You're completely on your own."

This is the Path. You give up everything for That. The way of insecurity is the way of the only Real security. The way of security is the way of vested interests and attachment. Those who see the truth of this are privy to the sticky illusions of the world. You cannot move in this field of endeavor unless you have come across urgency in yourself. Everything which binds you must be dropped - or you are not able to move forward into newness. As Sri Ramakrishna put it: "Do not seek illumination unless you seek it as a man whose hair is on fire seeks a pond."

To be sane, to be free we must follow Emerson's dictum: "Whoso would be a man, must be a nonconformist." One must go deep into the mind to give the world anything authentic. Yet, society is so formulated that it is completely set against such a movement. As Campbell put it: "The function of the orthodox community is to torture the mystic to death: his goal."

The journey inward is a journey full of challenges. This is especially true in the modern context where the commercial realities of our world so dominates our actions. Emerson gives some advice on how to live authentically in the passage below:

"Trust thyself, every heart vibrates to that iron string. To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men, — that is genius. Speak your latent conviction, and it shall be the universal sense; for the inmost in due time becomes the outmost,—— and our first thought is rendered back to us by the trumpets of the Last Judgment. Familiar as the voice of the mind is to each, the highest merit we ascribe to Moses, Plato, and Milton is, that they set at naught books and traditions, and spoke not what men but what they thought. A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within, more than the lustre of the firmament of bards and sages. Yet he dismisses without notice his thought, because it is his. In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts: they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty. Great works of art have no more affecting lesson for us than this. They teach us to abide by our spontaneous impression with good-humored inflexibility then most when the whole cry of voices is on the other side. Else, to-morrow a stranger will say with masterly good sense precisely what we have thought and felt all the time, and we shall be forced to take with shame our own opinion from another.

There is a time in every man's education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to him to till. The power which resides in him is new in nature, and none but he knows what that is which he can do, nor does he know until he has tried. Not for nothing one face, one character, one fact, makes much impression on him, and another none. This sculpture in the memory is not without pre-established harmony. The eye was placed where one ray should fall, that it might testify of that particular ray. We but half express ourselves, and are ashamed of that divine idea which each of us represents. It may be safely trusted as proportionate and of good issues, so it be faithfully imparted, but God will not have his work made manifest by cowards. A man is relieved and gay when he has put his heart into his work and done his best; but what he has said or done otherwise, shall give him no peace. It is a deliverance which does not deliver. In the attempt his genius deserts him; no muse befriends; no invention, no hope."

And Thoreau adds - as if in chorus with the above sentiments:

"If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away."

So "To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men, — that is genius."

It takes a great deal of courage in our convictions to live that way. Emerson saw that "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." So how does one come to clarity and consistency? The first two limbs of the path of yoga give us some clues: Yama and Niyama.

Before I go into that, I want to share one more line by Emerson. He said that "To be great is to be misunderstood." When Jesus stormed into the temple he had a great deal of clarity. He was very much misunderstood by the establishment though. He, however, very much understood the ways of the mind - and, by default, he understood the vested interests and fear-mongering ways inherent in the ignorance that dominated the minds of the religious establishment and of the political elite of his time. To them he was undoubtedly a threat; the public liked him, indeed they may have been paying more attention to him than to the priests. The public listened to his lucid explanations of what was amiss in the religious establishment.

Jesus's teachings threatened the Temple's income and the sources of income for the Temple priests. At that time, Jewish people could only enter the Temple if they were ritually pure. Almost everyone arriving in Jerusalem for Passover was deemed ritually unclean. They had to use a mikveh before they could fulfill their religious obligations. Mikvehs are ritual baths which Jews use in order to purify themselves before any act of worship. The priests controlled the mikvehs and charged people to use them.

Jesus said that the whole thing was rubbish. He taught that the Kingdom of God was available to everyone and they didn't have to go through these rituals or pay the money in order to get there.

I come back again now to that quote in the Course in Miracles: "One rule should always be observed: No one should be turned away because he cannot pay." The Course is attributed to the voice of the Christ consciousness - it is interesting to hear that quote again in the context of the above story. Jesus was indeed a great being. He knew that healing relationships were polluted and destroyed by vested interests. He knew that one could never buy one's way to God.

The greatest way to teach is by example. Everything we do sets an example to the world of the principles we live by. I had a teacher who was an impeccable being. Impeccability is what the first two limbs of yoga strive for in the character. The yoga teacher Krishnamacharya was a man of impeccability. He was also a man who lived a life true to his dharma. He was guided by his teacher to go and teach yoga. This was at a time when yoga was looked down upon in India. Krishnamacharya was supremely well qualified and he could have taken up professorships at any number of prestigious institutions...but he went ahead and taught yoga. His teaching was a sign of his humble devotion to his teacher. He did it not for money - but out of love and gratefulness for what had been imparted to him. He suffered many hardships taking that path. But, as he was not in it for money or fame or for any kind of vested interests whatsoever, he was content and protected by life forces.

To rise to the example of individuals like Krishnamacharya in today's world takes a lot of determination and discrimination. It also demands guts. Jesus warned "Do not cast your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet and turn and tear you." In Buddhism the central thought is compassion without attachment. To be a healer one must have compassion without attachment. That includes no attachment to the fruit of our actions. To live an authentic life and to be a healer is very challenging.

Sharing the gift of healing in a rational life is full of pitfalls. There is a quest every healer must take alone. He or she must go down into their own depths and bring something back which the world lacks - lacking it, the world does not know that it needs it. And so, on the return, when you come with your boon for the world and there is no reception, what are you going to do? There are three possible paths.

Joseph Campbell elucidates further:

"One answer is to say "to hell with them. I'm going back to the woods." You buy yourself a dog and a pipe and let the weeds grow in the gate. You have come back to the world with your gift and people look at you with glassy eyes, call you a "kook", and so you retreat. This is the refusal of the return.
The second way is to say, "What do they want? You have a skill. You can give them what they want, the commercial way. Then you have created a whole pitch for your expressivity, and what you had before gets lost. You have a public career, and you have renounced the jewel.
The third way is to try to find some aspect of the domain into which you have come that can receive a little portion of what you have to give. You try to find a means to deliver what you have found as the life boon in terms and in proportions that are proper to the world's ability to receive. It requires a good deal of compassion and patience. Look for cracks in the wall and give only to those who are ready for your jewel."

Krishnamacharya, Jesus, Rumi...they all took the third path. It is a path that does not compromise ones integrity. The other two paths do. The spiritual life cannot be commercialized. The spiritual life cannot be commercialized. I repeat that to lay emphasis on it, because in today's context it is a very strong temptation to think that it can.

A serious student will do whatever it takes to learn the teachings of life. If he needs to earn more money to be more stable in the world of Maya - if that will help him rise to his destiny he will do that (and he will do it without compromising his integrity). If he needs to give up the world and go and become a monk - he will do that. He will do whatever Life requires of him. It might require a lot of steadfastness and patience. Whatever he is required to do - if he is following Life's curriculum (rather than the ego's) he will be totally transformed by the process.

The trick is to be free of attachments of any sort. A good story to point out the inherent difficulties in this challenge is that of the meeting of Jesus with the rich man - as reported in the gospels. Jesus said to his disciple after this meeting: "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." Matthew 19:24.

The occasion of the saying, according to the gospel writers, was after a rich young man had asked Jesus what he needed to do in order to inherit eternal life. Jesus replied that he should first, keep the commandments (he listed only those concerning duty to men - but similar in a way to the first two limbs of yoga - yama and niyama), sell all his possessions, and give the money to the poor, and then to come, follow Jesus. Because of his great wealth, the young man was unwilling to do this. The point I believe that Jesus was trying to make was that if one is attached to anything one cannot know liberation from the defilements of the mind.

In the case of the rich man his attachment was greatest to his money and his position in the world. I don't believe Jesus' statement here is an indicment to all of us to give up our last penny to the poor and follow Jesus – i.e. to interpret this statement literally would be a mistake. I believe it is rather Jesus' way of pointing out that a selfish life is full of hidden misery and that to live sanely in an insane world one must recognize and let go of all our attachments.

In the case of the rich man he would have done well to follow Jesus's advice - for how many people have the opportunity to meet a teacher of Jesus's caliber in the flesh? The wider point though, for all of us - is not to be a slave to money or vested interests or anything...but rather to be a humble servant to our dharma - which means discovering what right speech and right livelihood are for our individual selves.

Just as a serious student must drop everything for a real teacher... a serious teacher should do whatever it takes to share the teachings if the student is truly serious. That is where money and society and expectations have to be thrown out. In the realm of love, money is nothing...in the realm of love, society is lost and blind.

A teacher must be devoted, inwardly loving and totally lacking in expectations of his or her students. Where there is expectation we are planting the seeds that sprout a sickly weed which stifles our being and campaigns to justify anger. Clearly, there is no love in such approach. Outwardly, a teacher must be appropriate in his behavior (sometimes the mask he wears is strict and distant; at other times warmth and affection accords better with the moment - it all depends on the needs of the student). Whatever is requisite of the teacher, he/she unambiguously aware (if he/she is a real teacher that is) that when it comes to the realm of healing - money and worldly position count for nothing...our motivations and intentions tell the real story. As my teacher said "Purity of heart is everything." Nothing happens without it.

The spiritual disciplines imparted by the teachings of Patanjali are not a model for a business but they are most definitely a model for discovering our real nature by unraveling the illusions within the mind and attuning the mind to the light of intelligence. However, if followed appropriately they will help us to be more honest and exacting in our business life. Ultimately yoga is a way of living - following its principles leads us to a life of joy amidst the sorrows of the world (sorrow is the inherent way of the world). The first two limbs of the eightfold path are as follows:

Yamas - restraints

1. Ahimsa - Non-harmfulness
2. Satya - Truthfulness
3. Asteya - to not steal
4. Brahmacharya - to maintain celibacy (traditional interpretation) - sense control (broadest meaning)
5. Aparigraha: absence of avariciousness, non-appropriation of things not one's own.

Niyamas - observances

1. Saucha: in the traditional codification, this item is listed under Yamas; this word means purity (eating clean food, keeping the body and mind clean etc).
2. Santosha: contentment.
3. Tapas: austerity.
4. Svadhyaya: self-study or study of spiritual scriptures.
5. Ishvarapranidhana: self-surrender/attunement to spirit/devotion to Ishvara - that supreme being/consciousness which is not infected with defilements/to take Ishvara as the exemplar of the values which you yourself strive to encompass (as laid down by the teachings of the Yoga Sutra)

These preliminary steps along the way are things which must be imbibed into the core of our being throughout the journey into yoga/our minds. To be content with what one has, to be attentive to the movement of thoughts in the mind, to be attuned to the inner teacher within us and to respect the teachings of the tradition we find ourselves attuned to (if we find ourselves in personal relationship with a teacher that is - some students transcend the need for a teacher, for example the Buddha made the journey completely alone) - these are all essential to rising to an impeccable state of being.

Only with these as givens can we move forward into the deeper levels of the transformative psychic experience (which is the path of Yoga). Speaking truth and being free of envy and having faith in life forces are also critical things (Emerson made poetry out of such sentiments in the previously quoted sections).

So, to sum up, it is essential that we be humbly aware of our own shortcomings and that we constantly reflect on them. That is the way of Svadhyaya or inner growth. It is essential that we be inwardly and outwardly honest. It is essential that we are self-reliant (hence poverty is not a state conducive to yoga - indeed poverty - whether spiritual poverty (which can manifest itself as attachment to money and worlldy power) or material poverty is a disease of the mind and disease is one of the obstacles to coming into the state of awareness that the path of yoga would have us venture into).

It is essential that we live selflessly in a selfish world - figuring out that equation takes a great deal of individual discernment. One must feed oneself...and one must figure out a way to be of service to our fellow man - but that service must be wisely put into practice ie, it is far better to teach a starving man to fend for himself than to give him scraps of food from your table.

It is essential that we do not commercialize healing...for then you throw the baby out with the bath water...and what you end up doing is anything but healing. It is essential, equally that we do not give blindly our pearls of insight to those who would only act to ridicule them. At the same time, no one should be turned away because he cannot pay. To the real teacher one serious, penniless student is a greater prize than a truckload of half-interested millionaires! It is essential that we calmly and inwardly question and test everyone - especially the teacher. For blind faith is not the way of intelligence nor is it the way of the noble heart.

Anger and the Buddha


Holding on to anger is like grasping hot coals with the intent of throwing it at someone else: you are the one gettting burnt first.

Buddha

A grove


A grove means a haven of peace
Staying in your groove = staying in your haven of peace as you move forward through life? :)

A Renaissance of the Spirit


I have been reflecting a lot recently on the dynamics of purpose. The world is a mess. We are the consciousness of that world. To heal it we must look within - not condemn ourselves or others with crushing judgments.It takes great discipline to find the right qualities within us to approach our selves and our challenges with deep compassion and wisdom. Discipline is the ordering faculty of intelligence. We require it to simplify our lives in the right way.

The discipline which is imposed by an outward authority is not the discipline of love. It is the discipline of fear. Life is dynamic - it takes a mind unblemished by expectation to completely let go. And if we are attached to anything then fear is our way, our approach...our avenue of "development"...

I always find it interesting that Jesus went out into the desert. I don't know if any of you have spent time in a desert. But a desert is an extraordinary place. It is a very stark place on the surface of things. And yet it is not a dead place. Life is there...I find it interesting that Jesus went into the desert because in a way he went into the desert of himself too. When you reduce things to their very essence...to the fundamentals...and you ask yourself very testing questions...questions that can scorch who you think you are - like a hot sun...you are challenged to survive in a psychological environment that may be totally alien to that which you are familiar with.

When all is lost...when the world that you believe in is burnt to ashes...it is then that there can arise an opportunity within us for a renaissance of spirit. Do you cling to life....do you cling to your hopes...to your dreams....Is anything worth clinging to? Or must you let go of everything...sort of come to yourself armed only with the resoluteness of desperation...and guts? Desperation when focused is a very powerful force. If we handle it wisely it is that force of intention that leads to revelation and insight.

When you look at what is without evasion...then you must be very bold, very serious...and very sensitive to the mystery of living; very clear about the tenaciousness of fear. Then - and only then - there is an opportunity for a renaissance of spirit.

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Mind is the closest thing to our Reality...Be careful how you use it. Businessman, yogi, teacher, addicted to laughing...