I’ve been put on a short leash; keep blog posts to 500 words, the hand holding the leash instructs me. Short attention spans. Your audience has an ever-shortening attention span, the leash informs me, and they’re busy. Busy busy busy. People busy. Busy people. No take time read. What if leave words out sentences? That help word count low?
To be sure, it’d take 5,000 words to introduce this topic properly, and another 50,000 to thoroughly examine it. I know this because I’m writing a book about it–an in-depth one at that. Healing is a massive concept, and the word itself is used in lots of different ways. In our world, healing is generally associated with having situations change in order that we can be happier, healthier, more content, peaceful and so forth. These situations can involve having physical pain subside, having anxiety, depression and anger bid us leave and go about their merry way, having damaged or diseased parts of the body become healthy once more, and working through suffering and loss.
These are all appropriate uses of the term healing, and what they have in common is that there’s a person who desires the development of a particular outcome, and if this outcome comes to pass, then healing is imagined to have taken place. For instance, if I have cancer, meniscus damage in my knee, high blood pressure or I’m grieving the loss of a loved one, I determine that healing has occurred when I no longer have the physical or psychological symptoms that plagued me.
In other words, the way we use the word healing has everything to do with getting what we want. But there’s more to healing that just this. If we really dig into the topic and go beneath the surface, it’s immediately apparent that often in life we don’t get what we want, no matter how much effort we put forth, no matter how much we desire a certain outcome. That’s just how it goes on planet earth. It’s not good or bad, but no one gets everything they desire, and attempting to do so is actually a not so subtle form of narcissism.
And isn’t fascinating in today’s world that when we imagine ourselves to be lacking in some way, we’ll turn to self-help to learn how to remedy our deficiencies? Of course there are times when this is helpful, but there are just as many cases where this only leads to more and more stress as we strive to get what we’ve been told that we want, imaging that having things work out our way, that being in control, that becoming “masters of our destiny” will slake the ego’s thirst and thrust us into healing.
Healing is a process that actually begins with acceptance. Healing begins with the recognition that no matter how bad things may seem, we’re still breathing. And if we’re not breathing, then our suffering is just about to be over! Can you go here? If you can’t, then I assure you that there’s a lot of healing to do. Healing requires the flexibility to accept that everything is completely perfect as it is. Everything. The unhealed mind, the mind that can’t accept, must believe that it’s right, and it must believe that things have to change in order for it to be okay. The unhealed mind goes to war with the world, attempting to fashion the world into what it believes would be best.
This can be misunderstood. Acceptance is a necessary starting point, but it doesn’t mean that we just accept things as fate and don’t take steps to better ourselves or the world. Of course we do! But rather that coming from a place of resistance, when we come from acceptance, we can proceed with love rather than resistance. As we heal, we come to find that we’re entitled to our efforts, but not necessarily to the fruits of our labor. We do our best–we do the very best that we can–and we leave it at that. We take as good care of our bodies, minds and each other as we possibly can, and if we develop a terminal illness, we do whatever makes sense to help ourselves through the situation, but we accept that the outcome ultimately will be what it will be, regardless of how much “I” may want it to be otherwise.
Healing begins with acceptance. As we learn to accept more and more, we begin to realize that what causes us to suffer is that our point of view lacks the capacity to…accept…to accept the way things are, just as they are. Who would you be if you could accept and love anything and everything just the way it is? Who you’d be is freedom. You’d be one whose mind is healing, and you’d be one who can show others the way to freedom…not by showing them how to get what they want by forcing reality to meet their expectations, but by realizing that what’s showing up is already beautiful…just as it is. And as we learn to accept, we come to find possibilities for change that couldn’t have presented themselves while we were adamant that things work out the way we were convinced they had to be. Healing is so much more than the “I” can grasp. It’s more than getting what we want, it’s more than having what must inevitably be let go of. Healing is connecting with the divine inside our minds, and whatever is necessary for this to come about is precisely what will show up in all our lives, as our lives. Healing is the courage to accept without resistance the magnificence that resides inside us, to accept that we’re already perfect, and to let go of attaching to ephemeral phenomena that ensure that we’ll interfere with the healing process that’s always patiently guiding us home.