What is Health and Healing?

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What is Health and Healing? 
a contemplation

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.

By | 2019-10-06T22:04:59+00:00 January 14th, 2019|Healing & Psychology, Meditation, Spirituality|13 Comments


  1. Diana Brown January 14, 2019 at 12:44 pm - Reply

    Hi William,
    I love this…..and I totally resonate with what you are saying. Thank you for sharing 🙂 xx

  2. Annie January 14, 2019 at 12:55 pm - Reply

    Such a big subject… such clarity in a few words
    Thank you William

  3. Chris West January 14, 2019 at 1:08 pm - Reply

    I love this reflection. Simple yet completely profound. Many thanks for sharing.xxx

  4. Karen January 14, 2019 at 1:08 pm - Reply

    A very helpful reflection; thank you William

  5. Jane January 14, 2019 at 1:19 pm - Reply

    Dear William,

    Thank you for sharing this at the perfect time. Harmonious flow really is the only way to travel and gentle reminders such as yours, are deeply appreciated.

    Big respect and much love Jane x

  6. Sara Angelini January 14, 2019 at 1:22 pm - Reply

    I like the simplicity of this definition – it takes away the sometimes (my own) grandiose hopes or narratives around healing and places it instead as a daily process of seeking balance and flow and remedy rigidity with readily available activities such as gardening, walking, dancing, music etc. Thank you for sharing. I enjoy your insights.

  7. Jen January 14, 2019 at 2:05 pm - Reply


    Beautifully packed in a very fine Cobnutshell …..

  8. Robbie Grayson January 14, 2019 at 5:31 pm - Reply

    Well-put, William. Lao Tsu says that what is soft and weak overcomes that which is hard and strong… so I agree!

  9. Lynn Christina January 14, 2019 at 5:48 pm - Reply

    Dear William

    Such wise words – simple yet profound.
    It seems so easy to get caught up in the drama of pain, diagnosis & treatment and forget that health is a constant and on-going process of balance, flow & flexibility – something be aware of each day, not just when a crisis causes us to focus our attention on it…

    Thank you for this graceful reminder x

  10. John Arnold January 14, 2019 at 7:47 pm - Reply

    It may be a shorter piece but it’s packed full of insight and wisdom . Thanks William . Much love John x
    Ps missing you here at Crest .

  11. Pauline Tsukamoto January 15, 2019 at 11:05 am - Reply

    Thank you so much. So profound, so healing. The message itself….

  12. Christine Smith January 15, 2019 at 11:23 am - Reply

    Beautiful and simple, thanks William!

  13. Christopher Lovejoy January 16, 2019 at 1:41 pm - Reply

    A lucid and helpful contribution. Thank you for sharing your reflections William!

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