What is Healing?

Chris and Dave Wattenberg

One of the first questions that needs to be tackled in healing is “What is healing?” Most people think they know what healing is. Many of these definition set unreal and unattainable expectations. Other definitions limit the person. One of the most common of these definitions is to return to the state one was in before the disease or injury.

This definition is both unattainable and limiting. Unless you happened to have a time machine it is impossible to undo time. It also precludes you from learning from the experience.

Here is the definition we use, “Healing is a journey.” In healing you learn. When a person takes the healing path they grow. When you believe you are healed you will be better then when you started the journey.

Working and knowing cancer survivors you hear a common refrain. They do not like the cancer that invaded their bodies, the chemotherapy, the surgery or the side effects. They also talk about the cancer being one of the best experiences of their lives. They have learned to live, enjoy life and appreciate life.

Healing is not limited to physical ailments. Healing can be in the spiritual or mental. It can even be in relationships. We know someone who worked for a person who was spreading rumors about them. The boss was systematically destroying the employee’s credibility.

When the organization needed to downsize, the boss arranged for documentation that indicated that this employee had breached security. The employee was dismissed on the spot. Because of the circumstances the employee could not even get unemployment insurance payment.

The employee submitted a rebuttal and the organization started to check the response. They found that the each point of the rebuttal checked out. The original documentation had more holes than Swiss cheese. They brought the employee back. The bosses credibility was lower than the employee’s had been. The employee’s credibility was repaired.

Without the dismissal the employee would have lingered without credibility. The boss would have continued to destroy people’s reputations. It was the catalyst for healing.

A bad relationship or a self-destructive lifestyle often needs a similar catalyst for a person to make the changes they need. These often show up as a bad back, cancer, a fight or even an auto accident. From that event healing can start.

The Dalai Lama says that everyone will experience pain before they leave this lifetime behind. It is up to each of us to choose to suffer or learn. We each know people with chronic diseases, people who are in chronic pain and yet seem to live life to its fullest. These people have pain but choose not to suffer. We also know the people with good health, money, supportive families, seemingly everything. With all of this they constantly complain and suffer.

Ram Das talks in his books about counseling people to learn from their pain and illness. He recounts people who are dying telling him of the fullness of the experiences that lead to the final transition.

Recently he has had a sever stroke. He has been recovering and learning. He is writing again. Healing has taken on new dimensions for him. He has had to examine what he had told others and has started to live it himself.

Ram Das, as he has for most of his life, experiences, learns and then teaches. For him, the teaching is a big part of the journey. It is part of his healing.

No two people will have the same exact disease or find themselves in exactly the same situation. No two people will have the same healing experience. We all bring different back ground and travel different paths. Our healings will also be different.

What we all need to do is have realistic expectations. One of the hardest parts is to see how we are progressing. It is so common to hear a person say, day after day, that they do not feel any different. Someone outside, who has not seen them for weeks, will take a look and be amazed at the changes that have taken place.

All of life is learning. Be open and rejoice in the changes that take place. Even though it is sometimes hard, look for the lessons. Enjoy your personal progress.



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