Mind, Body, Soul|Jan 7, 2008 12:48 PM| by:

Healing Communications

Introduction: Rediscovering Connectedness

In a world largely governed by fast food, cheap thrills, quick success and easy money, it is only natural that the value of life has been reduced to mere figures and numbers. The rise of machines has been almost coterminous with a second fall of man – first from a heavenly paradise and next from the earthly paradise. Every technological advance has led to a biological and psychological amputation. We have purchased outer freedom at the cost of servitude of the soul. We have pills for every ill but little natural resistance. We can replace the physical heart and open blocked vessels, but the psychological heart has become empty and closed. We have become a prisoner of our own achievements, a slave to our material perfection. We are a materially rich and powerful humanity that is spiritually bankrupt. We can control our heartbeats with strong drugs but have no control over our anger. The science of life has been studied in detail, with its biological components and chemical constituents dissected and analysed, but the art of life remains vague and obscure, its mystery and wonder, its charm, sweetness and natural laughter lost amidst the noise and din of a senseless crowd.

Yet this need not be. Man is capable of, and must achieve the double perfection that life seeks in him – a perfection of his external life and its instruments and an inner perfection of his soul and inner being. He needs to reunite with his soul, reconnect with his true nature and rediscover the lost oneness with All-life and the world. We may almost say that this sense of disconnection is the primary disease, the root of all physical, psychological and social ills. Rediscovering this connectedness, we can rediscover the one radical remedy that contains in itself a seed, the cure of all other afflictions. And of all the means given to man to rediscover this connectedness, communication is indeed one of the most powerful and most readily accessible to us.

Power of the Word: A Therapeutic Bridge

When it comes to the art of healing, communication is the therapeutic bridge thrown across the gulf that divides health and illness, especially when an expectant patient meets a doctor, investing a trust that he should otherwise place in God. Yet, it is also a fact, and a sad fact, that this powerful tool given to man to connect himself with others has become, like many other tools, an instrument for further division, injecting fear, infusing anxiety, transmitting anger and intolerance.

The power of communication, like every other power, is in its origin and essence a soul-power. Its purpose is to recreate, in terms of nature, the spiritual oneness we have lost. It is like the call of our soul to other kindred souls so as to awaken each element of the universe to the original spiritual vibration, the ‘Word’ that cast it forth; or rather cast ‘itself’ in these various forms and names. If it can do that successfully then the ‘cure’ takes place spontaneously, miraculously as it were, since the source of our malady, the disconnectedness, is healed. But like every other power, it is bound and deformed here, upon earth, as it passes through layer upon layer of obscurity, ignorance and darkness that the soul wears as a robe in terrestrial nature. It is deformed not only in the one who initiates but also in the one who receives the communication. It is only a rishi, a seer of truth sitting at the summits of his or her being, who can receive this ‘Word’ in its original purity and transmit something of its light, power and truth to our earth-nature, filling us with the effulgence of the soul. The sound-rhythms and word-rhythms, the harmonics of thought and its frequency (if we may say so) in which he casts his sublime Truth-vision and Truth-audition is termed mantra. Some mantras need to be charged by the consciousness of the seer, others are universal in their effect and potency. If rightly received in the silent depths of the heart and repeated with the force of feeling and dwelling upon its meaning, central idea and substance one can unlock an inner door and enter into contact with the original vibration that is the source and support of all creation, its occult healer and to which all returns.

A State of Grace

But it is not easy for man to enter into the highest power of communication. Yet it is within our reach to become some reflector or channel of this creative word. This means that, instead of identifying with the ‘Supreme Word’, we become a medium to transmit its power and influence on earth and men. But to become a channel and instrument of the supreme creative power demands an inner stillness and purity, a receptive inner silence of the being, an all-inclusive concentration turned upwards to its source. That itself is a difficult labour and comes by grace. What we can do is to prepare in ourselves a ‘state of grace’ so that our being and nature may be used by the Higher Power. This ‘state of grace’ is prepared by trust and faith, a sincerity that loves the Divine for the sake of the Divine, an aspiration that wants ‘That’ and nothing else, a surrender of oneself into the hands of the Supreme Power, so that it can progressively mould our being into its own image. Such a person, by his mere presence, brings healing energies, a touch of the higher levels of consciousness, if not the very highest. The mere presence of such a being liberates us from fear, instils courage and hope where there was only doubt and despair, shows us by an inner light, the various twists and turns of our nature that resist the touch of grace and prefer illness, suffering and death to health, peace, joy and immortality. If to this is added the knowledge of a system of medicine, then the scope for healing becomes enormous. Of course, there is no panacea for everyone at all times! Such a thing would be absurd since we are dealing with living beings that have an apparent choice and are not puppets. Human beings are extraordinarily complex and they can resist ‘healing’ for various reasons, even if they may outwardly claim otherwise. Illness has its own rewards and there is something in us that has a devious attraction to disorder. There are parts that not only hold onto the illness as a prized object, resisting all attempts at restoring harmony and health but also others that cling by force of mechanical habit. So time is necessary and instant cures, though possible, are often suspect. ‘Truth’ does not cure by surface manipulation or a forceful super-imposition that would trick us into health. It goes deep to the very root of our problem since ‘It’ alone can go so deep. Therefore one needs faith, receptivity, patience and perseverance for the cure to be complete and the more integral these things are, the more complete and lasting will be the cure.

A Twofold Labour

In other words, the cure is effected mainly by the grace of a higher power supported by the faith of the patient. The physician and the system he or she uses are intermediary mediums between him or her and the healing power. They are the therapeutic bridge thrown across the gulf that separates health from disease, harmony from disharmony, order from disorder.

A twofold labour is needed on the part of the healer. On the one side, he has to be open to the healing force above. On the other, he has to find a way or means to ‘communicate’ as perfectly as he can, with the least distortion, the healing vibration to the patient. We have already alluded to the inner side of this double communication. We can now turn to its external side. The healing force can of course be transmitted in silence if the patient is extraordinarily receptive and open. Such patients often experience quick relief soon after they have come into contact with the healer, often even before they have started the treatment or else soon after it. At other times, it is the ‘word of the therapist’, his spoken assurance, born of an inner confidence that passes the higher influence and sets into motion the process of healing. Modern doctors, fed on the milk of modern practice’s belief in the omnipotence of material methods and processes alone, often underestimate the power of suggestion.

Nevertheless, every good physician knows by experience that it is not just medicines alone but also something else that aids and assists the healing process. This ‘something else’ often acts from behind, using material processes and our blind belief in their power, though it is not limited by it. That is one reason why no two cases are alike. There are delayed responses, there are also almost instantaneous cures with the same medicine, there are ‘exceptional’ cases and there are also ‘unexpected’ sudden resolutions, even as there are instances of prolonged and protracted recovery. One could almost say without exception-as many cases, so many cures!

The Power of Suggestion

The power of suggestion acts not only positively but also negatively for, as mentioned earlier, we can become channels and instruments not only for the pouring of clear streams of health and harmony but also instruments for division and destruction. The ‘word’ not only creates; it also destroys. The therapist, for instance, can inject fear, anxiety and agitation in his patients rather than infusing peace and trust. Secondly, this power of suggestion acts not only through spoken words, which are gross vehicles for ideas and forces, but also sometimes even more powerfully through our unspoken thoughts and feelings. This is so because we are not as closed in that physical box called the body as we believe ourselves to be. An occult and inner commerce always takes place between us and the world around. We are bathed in a sea of forces, forces that sometimes clash and cancel one another while at other times mutually support and strengthen each other. Thoughts, feelings, desires, hopes, anxieties and fears are transmitted, just as peace, joy, strength and faith are too. The patient, often conscious of very little apart from his suffering, receives these vibrations not only from the doctors but also the nursing staff, relatives, friends and those around him. That is why negative prognostications and hopeless pronouncements are best avoided lest they become a self-fulfilling prophecy. And each time the ‘prophecy’ fulfils itself, it sets a negative trap since the mind supports it then as a thing ‘proven’ by experience. How many such ‘experiential and statistical proofs’ are merely habitual grooves of nature created by our own beliefs, thoughts and fears! This needs detailed study and may yield interesting results.

Finally, the physician has to counteract not only wrong suggestions from people around ,but also the much more powerful collective suggestions emanating from current notions that seep in subconsciously, almost materially in the air we breathe, the books we read and people we meet. Examples of such collective suggestions are, ‘cancer is fatal’, ‘such and such illness is incurable’, ‘such and such an illness will lead to serious complications’, etc. And when the pronouncement of doom from a grave-faced doctor is added to this collective formation, the power to damage the healing capacity becomes enormous. Yet we all do this every day in the name of science. This is not to say that one must be imprudent. But we must realise the limits of our so-called ‘scientific knowledge’ and its so-called ‘facts’ based on the presumption that matter alone is true and any talk of anything else, be it self-healing, mind-healing, spiritual-healing is all humbug. Fortunately, few physicians today are that arrogant thanks to the latest discoveries in the field of mind-body medicine. A more flexible multifactorial model, that allows many loose links in our otherwise inflexible and unalterable chain of material processes, is replacing the materially rigid model of singular cause and effect.

Silent Communication

Thus seen, communication is not only about speech but also about the pauses and silence. Indeed, in this silence our whole body and being communicates the contents of its consciousness. A touch or even a look can heal. Our thoughts, feelings and goodwill can serve as a protective mantle around those who seek support, or even our mere presence can help. We may use the prevalent system or medicine in which the patient and race put their collective faith. This device then reaches out to the most material parts, the constituents of the cells. But the real healing takes place through the silent matrix of consciousness in which the patient and the healer meet and commune, open to the limitless power of grace. This true and spontaneous living reality is not a mimicry or imitative technique that one can mechanically repeat. It is rather an act as natural as breathing, an act of supreme love that, in moments of inner communion, overtakes and surpasses the limited and ego-bound personality and does what our mortal hearts cannot dare or even think of doing.

A Few Practical Hints

Having said this, a few simple practical hints might be of help in the healing process. They can be summarised as follows:

1. Inner communication

The healer may have a soul-to-soul communication, ideally so to say, or ego-to-ego. In the latter case, he is easily disturbed if the patient does not follow his authority and advice or sees some other physician or tries some other system that contradicts his, etc. The physician should be conscious that he is one among many means that the Grace may use and be humble enough not to even have the pride of acting as an instrument. A wide and plastic impersonality with a glad opening to the Divine is an excellent condition for facilitating the healing communication.

2. Welcome

It is important to make the patient feel at ease and welcome, otherwise he or she is unlikely to open and may feel dissatisfied even if the time spent is the same. Let the person be comfortable and keep eye contact.

3. Listening

Listening is a necessary art and yet one most lacking. The first few exchanges should strike a rapport. One must deal with a client as a human being and not as a ‘case’. Hear him/her out even if you consider the symptoms trivial or do not add to the diagnosis. Most patients feel relieved simply from being heard!

4. Benefits of listening

Listening has many benefits:

  • Speech is a form of externalisation of consciousness. It is like a vehicle through which many inner contents – thoughts, emotions, fears, hopes – pour out. This abreaction itself is a help.
  • It brings into awareness and focus the inner roots of illness so that light and truth can be placed over it.
  • It builds a therapeutic bridge between the client and healer.
  • And of course, it helps us understand the illness, the patient’s perspective of it and elements in his/her psychology that help or hinder the recovery. It is an indirect access, often the only one available, to the patient’s mind.
  • By the very act of unburdening, the patient feels relieved. He feels, ‘now that I have told everything to my physician, he will understand it correctly and thereby cure it’. This faith does not develop if he has not been heard. The patient rather feels that the doctor has not understood him properly and therefore his treatment cannot be correct!
  • By abreacting, anxiety and fear are reduced and this itself helps the cure. Every physician should develop the art of listening. The patient should not only feel heard but understood.

5. Diagnosis

The idea of illness in terms of ‘categories of diagnosis’, though practically helpful, creates a great problem in cutting things into bits and parts. It often crystallizes the illness and all that is associated with it in terms of suggestion. Besides, it tends to exclude the person and his unique way of responding to the challenges of existence from an immediate point of concern. When we do this, the relation that develops is between the sick part and the scientific mind of the healer. The other parts are deprived of an active therapeutic contact, thereby limiting any curative benefits and the healing process that take the place when two human beings and their energy-fields meet.

6. Patient’s Need

In return, most patients feel the need for two things:
o A simple explanation and understanding of their illness.
o Faith that they can get well, faith that, even in the worst events, there lies the seed of some good awaiting its fruition once the storm has passed, faith that there is beyond life, death and circumstances, the light of the soul that never perishes nor fades.

7. Avoid technicalities

The explanation and understanding of the illness would naturally be along the lines in which the physician has been trained. But it is important to avoid technical jargon, to keep the information simple and in a way that it helps the patient to comprehend what may be going on inside his body. So, instead of saying that ‘you have cancer of such and such part’ and then go about its technical details that often confuse and frighten, one could say that ‘a group of cells in so and so part of your body are not behaving normally. They are kind of acting autonomously in detriment to the interest of other cells and tissues’. Then the patient can be given a simple programme to teach these cells to recover their rhythm and harmony. If the client is open to a higher light and grace this information about the spot and nature of the problem can help his thoughts serve as a mediating link between the part that is ill and the Grace that heals.

In other words, the purpose of this information is not just ethical. It is meant to serve as a therapeutic loop so that the patient’s own mind can consciously process it and spontaneously activate the healing process.

What is however equally important is that the nursing and other staff, even other doctors, do not give contradictory information and misinformation which will only lead to confusion and fear. Doctor-shopping is an unhealthy practice, first because it implies a lack of trust and secondly as it confuses the mind and physical consciousness. Though different systems of medicines may act complimentarily, different physicians may not. It is helpful then to stick to a physician who knows you well and in whom you can trust. The healing powers of the family physician may have been partly due to this therapeutic bond.

8. Inspiring Faith

The issue of inspiring faith has unfortunately been made more complex by the presumptuous and arrogant type of physician who ‘believes’ he knows it all, simply because he has read all about an illness and its course scientifically. The earlier physicians were more humble. They had less information, greater common sense and knowledge, deeper wisdom than our modern counterparts. The earlier physician would say, ‘I treat, He (God) cures’. By doing so, he kept the faith of the client open and intact. The modern physician has taken away this faith in a higher power to invest it in scientific data that goes by the dubious name of evidence-based medicine. Dubious, because it relies for its evidence upon a limited field of observation and for its testimony on fallible human instruments. So when a physician insists on communicating the truth to a patient, this is merely the ground for ‘believing’ it is the truth! Let us say, that a certain illness has a 50% survival rate over a two-year period. What does this mean to a patient? For him it is not 50 -50; it is either 0% or 100%. He will either survive or not. And no statistical data can convincingly tell us who will find himself on one side of the 50% and who on the other. In such a case, the most practical and rational thing would be to put all our weight (all that would help) on the side of life and then leave the rest to an all-seeing Will. And among the elements that help the healing process, faith itself is one of the most potent. In fact, as is evident through the placebo-effect, faith is the single important common factor in all therapeutics. Is it then wise to snatch away hope and faith in the name of a doubtful truth?

Of course, the notaries of ‘reveal it all’ to the patient would say that it always helps to tell everything about the prognosis, so that the patient and relatives can prepare themselves, complete the final acts if pending and cooperate better with whatever treatment they are being given. However, most people feel and know instinctively when their time is closing in. It is a knowledge often more authentic than mere surface calculations, provided the mind has not been affected much by the illness. As for cooperating with the treatment, most patients would if they were explained in a simple way about the help the proposed treatment would give towards recovery. The rest should be left to the patient who must make the final choice. The idea that if the patient refuses to receive treatment, the doctor must bombard him with all kinds of frightening information is one example of over-identification with the ego. Rather, we may tell him, if we wish, what benefits a particular course of treatment might accrue. But to prognosticate is to play at being a soothsayer. Things may follow a pattern but they also may not. Let us then be hope-givers and not soothsayers. Of course, it is understood that giving hope does not mean telling lies or brushing aside everything casually and imprudently by the wave of a hand and an ‘everything’s alright, don’t bother’ attitude. Faith is not a denial of the difficulty or problem. It is rather a transcendence, knowing that there is something infinitely greater than my difficulty: a power, a will, a grace, a spirit or a soul that can cancel my body’s destiny and adverse fate.

9. Silent communication

A physician who can communicate these things – faith, peace, hope, love, whether through words or silent presence, as verbal suggestions or through unspoken thoughts – may well touch a powerful lever in activating the healing process. The important point here is not only about what is said or how it is said but also about what is not said and who says it. What the physician shares with those around him is not just words or gestures, but also hopes and fears and deeper convictions which emanate from his inner being and which are transmitted as vibrations to others much as unseen radio-waves carry signal messages. The inner state and personality of the physician has a definite role to play in the total healing process. The words, touch, glance and gestures are merely vehicles for transmitting these hidden forces. Most physicians are unaware of this deeper interchange, though most patients feel it. But it is possible that what now takes place unconsciously can be done consciously and even more effectively. The state of consciousness in which we are has a great bearing upon what we do. But while we presently live in a divided and limited state, we have to perforce depend heavily upon external instrumentations. However it is possible for man to ascend to a higher soul-state from where he can clearly see how our faith recreates us at every moment and also how our fate is nothing but evolving the working-out through a complex play of forces that our soul has secretly chosen.

Conclusion: A Good Healer and Great One?

Finally the question of questions: what constitutes a good healer or, in other words, what is the difference between a qualified physician, good physician, and a great one? For though we believe that all human beings are the same and though it is indeed true of our essential being, there are great differences in temperaments and capacities and human nature can house a range of variations from the saint to the cold-blooded murderer. Unlike the animal nature, the human being is not a fixed type. There is a constant flux as human beings are still evolving! Modern medical schools do not take this into consideration and the only requirement for becoming a physician is a good memory. But that is not enough to inspire trust (a crucial factor in healing). One may not have the art of communication and this may lead to an unnecessary prolongation of suffering. One may be insensitive to human considerations that are so very important when we are dealing with the complex nature of our humanity. To put it in another way, the physician may be well-informed and well-qualified but patients may shun him/her or the results somehow turn out to be far less than expected. Universities such as Harvard are recognising this and giving their students an exposure to humanities during the medical curriculum. This is only a small but a good beginning. At least it is a recognition of the meeting of the whole personality of the therapist with the entire personality of the patient.

Healing takes place in the matrix of a healing environment that includes the nursing staff, the hospital set-up or home, as the case may be, the treating physician and his/her outlook and approach, and of course the patient’s personality, his attitudes and beliefs about the illness as well as his receptivity to the healing forces, besides the therapeutic medium involved. A positive outlook, faith in the system, faith in recovery, enthusiasm, the capacity to inspire trust even amidst dismal circumstances, confidence in the healing process and an openness to the Grace in the patient and doctor creates a good background for healing. A good physician usually has an abundance of vital energy and is by nature generous. He is a natural giver and so can easily transmit something of the abundant vital forces, his confidence and enthusiasm to the patient. Of course, he must know his science well, he must be well-informed not only about the effects but also about the side-effects of the treatment he prefers to use, but he must be something more. And that something more is a natural ability to transfer trust and inspire confidence, at least in the system and the possibility of cure, but most of all in the healing power of Grace. If he can do that, then that is wonderful and can yield exceptional results even though earlier physicians had achieved it with much less information, drugs and means at their disposal, fewer elaborate tests and techniques but with this simple and singular quality of instilling faith that ‘ I treat, God cures’. Perhaps knowing less they were naturally wiser. Perhaps handicapped by fewer resources, they had to rely more and more on the great miracle of Grace. But the modern physician is less humble. He has much more information than he can assimilate, while the deeper sense of this information is often lost to him, and most of all, wisdom has become a rare and infrequent guest in his chamber. We have installed machinery and driven out God and faith from our hospitals and nursing homes. The result is more misery, irrespective of recovery or death. Let us hope that this is only a passing phase and we shall soon learn the lost lesson of humility, recapture the lost trust in our natural healing and in the power of Grace, be once again able to say and with much greater authenticity and wisdom, born of direct and conscious experience that ‘I treat, God cures.’