And First I Promise to Look Within: Healing the Self to Heal Others

Lugano, Switzerland

“Physician, heal thyself.”

I never actually understood what that meant, and until just now I did not even realize it was a proverb from the Gospel of Luke.

What sort of medicine people was Jesus addressing? How did the middle eastern doctors of 2000 years ago approach their craft? Would I recognize the roots of my own energy healing work or were they the precursors of the conventional western practitioners of today? Was it about getting deep into the causes of dis-ease or were they offering pills to treat the symptoms?

Undoubtedly, there are countless excellent, compassionate MDs out there, dedicated professionals who look at their patients as entire beings and not just a chest cold or an infection or a bout of depression. At the same time, the grueling nature of medical school and a health care system that is focused on quantity and expediency rather than quality and attention must make it impossible for most modern physicians to really focus on their own well being.

This is not intended to be a rant about the state of modern medicine or any claim that what I am learning and practicing is any better than anyone else’s path. Instead, I play with this quotation because I am considering how I must heal myself before I will ever effectively heal anyone else.

If I ever make any claims to have arrived as a healer or as a conscious individual, I am deeply sunk in a damaging illusion. This is not the self deprecating cry of a person lacking confidence. It is simply the awareness that I am new here in the world of healing and wisdom and faith and have more to learn during every moment of every day. I can only pray for an open heart and an open mind and the love of patient people who will help foster this new rush of passion I find growing within me.

Today I found myself growing frustrated by some whom I love and respect .  She just can’t seem to quit sweating the small stuff. I just wanted to ask her to evaluate the steady stream of complaint and reaction that kept flowing from her lips and help her realize how unhelpful it all is – both to herself and her audience.

Even as this urge welled up inside me and my look of disbelief began to play across my face as she continued to speak, I knew that I was listening with ears of judgment, not of compassion. I climbed up on my spiritual high horse and began to pity her for the ways she squandered her energy and let every setback shake her to the core.

Later, worried about my own reaction to the situation, I described it all to a kind and generous friend who helped me talk through it all until I realized that I was not really upset with this woman’s behavior, but by the shadows of myself that I saw in her. The moment I allowed myself to sit behind my eyes and toss my enlightened mane, I was not greeting her with healing energy, but instead with the cold detachment of someone relieved that she knew a better way to live.

I needed to feel this flash of shame so I could step back and remember that I am a novice at this pursuit of living a wise and graceful life. The good work I can offer to the world must first flow through me, body, mind and spirit. Only when I have drank deep my own medicine can I reach out and confidently offer it to others.

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5 thoughts on “And First I Promise to Look Within: Healing the Self to Heal Others

  1. Tess December 17, 2008 / 8:49 am

    I’m not sure you need to wait until you have drunk deeply of your own medicine. It will be a lifelong drinking. In our brokenness we can heal each other.

  2. girlwhocriedepiphany December 17, 2008 / 10:18 am

    You’re definitely right, Tess. I’ll never leave the well, but I do know I need a good few gulps to get me set in the right direction!

  3. pam at beyondjustmom December 17, 2008 / 10:13 pm

    “I was listening with ears of judgement, not of compassion.” We all need to work on listening with compassion. Thank you for reminding me.

  4. Quiet December 17, 2008 / 10:41 pm

    You and your commentators have said quite a lot here.

    I think that Jesus’ words were a metaphor. We have to be at least aware of our selves so that we don’t act or react in judgement, strike out at those who mirror our own issues. It has taken me a long time to learn this and it requires ongoing awareness. Eventually, the way one lives changes it all – it becomes natural to be attentive to what is actually happening.

    I thought that energy healers channel energy. There are some who seem to draw within to do this but there may be others who ask God to heal through them. I imagine that you do this as well.

    Many blessings.

  5. girlwhocriedepiphany December 18, 2008 / 7:54 am

    Dear Pam,
    It’s a challenge, tuning out our own agendas and letting someone just be, but I think we would all just be so much healthier and happier for it.

    Dearest Quiet,
    Thank you for that gentle reminder – I am not doing any of this alone. When I have someone on my table or I am sitting in meditation it is easy to remember to call upon my guides and Divinity. When I am in the office I find myself trying to will my way through situations. What is it “let be and let God” – I could do to remember that a little more strongly.

    Thanks & Blessings,
    Marisa

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