What is Health and Healing?
Every Thursday at noon I sit in St Joseph’s Chapel in Glastonbury Abbey and participate in a healing meditation. It is a simple twenty-minute session: being still; awareness that healing is always available; receiving healing; sending healing to wherever there is suffering.
Sometimes in this meditation I contemplate what exactly is happening. I have one sceptical brain cell enquiring whether spiritual healing is real, or whether it is just a displacement activity to make me feel useful in a world where I may be useless. But this doubt is more than balanced by a clear sense, a deep knowing, that something real and useful is truly happening.
In my meditation I also enjoy contemplating the nature of good health. Good health it seems to me is best defined as a state of comfort and flexibility. There is enjoyable harmony and flow. This applies to both our physical and mental states. It is similar too for societies. Bad health is the opposite. Illness is pain and rigidity. Movement hurts – physically and emotionally. Nothing flows.
If we accept this simple flip-flop – comfort and flexibility versus pain and rigidity – then we can suggest a coherent definition of healing. Healing is surely anything that facilitates comfort and flexibility. This definition is appropriate for modern medicine. It also reflects the Taoist philosophy that the universe is a harmonious ocean of flowing states; so a healthy state, for an individual or a community, is also to be in harmony with this continuous flux and flow.
In this context the process of all healing methods – surgery, medication, touch, spiritual healing, exercise, diet, being in nature and so on – can then be easily described. First, identify what is uncomfortable and rigid. Second, intervene with an appropriate strategy to enable comfort and flow.
There are obvious problems of course if we deny or misdiagnose the rigidity. More difficulties can be triggered too if we seek an easy healing intervention, instead of an effective one. A simple example from most of our lives is when we feel emotional pain and then intervene with food instead of perhaps some quiet in nature or a dance.
It is a simple reality of life that most of us at some time or another experience pain and therefore seek healing. The good news is that within each of us is there is a great doctor, a wonderful agent of healing: our own consciousness.
Your consciousness – your mind, your awareness, your soul – can acknowledge your pain, seek to understand it and find the best medicine to bring yourself back into flow, comfort and flexibility.