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The Healer Within

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“Or we may find when all the rest has failed
Hid in ourselves the key of perfect change.”(1)

Introduction

All life is the discovery of a hidden key, all outer difficulties a push to open an inner door. All illness, all pathology, is nothing but a mask of God covering our soul, like the chrysalis a butterfly. Where is the butterfly, we may ask? For no amount of anatomical or psychological dissection reveals any trace, however remote, of an emerging butterfly in us. But when the wonder and the beauty emerge, we know it for sure. And if a child were to ask how, we could only reply: because we have seen it. Were the child to insist, we could very well explain the stages but still not explain how or why this metamorphosis takes place. The same is true of the human soul. No amount of physical or psychological dissection can bring out or explain where this wonder hides or resides. But those who have had contact with it, even for a few moments, know it is there and will fully emerge one day, despite all that contradicts it in our nature. For just as the butterfly waits for its time inside the caterpillar, so too the soul awaits its hour inside the cocoon of matter. And the more the cocoon is pressed, the closer comes the hour of emergence, only and if only, we know how to wait and do not try to interfere by breaking the cocoon prematurely.

In fact the only true help, if there is one, is to use crisis and pain to hasten the process of our soul’s emergence.

A window of the soul

The secret of all pain and suffering, death and difficulty, is to assist, in however unseemly a way, the rapid emergence of the soul, our true self, the healer within. This is what any true healer understands. Just as difficult moments can bring out the best in us (or the worst) so also every illness is a means of bringing out the best in us, if we persist. It is a way of awakening our sleeping strength, to make it grow and take charge. It is a cry for change.

It is rightly said that small minds hastily judge and rapidly condemn, while truly great minds patiently observe and deeply understand. The true healer is accordingly not a judge busy pointing out mistakes, but a patient observer, who through his own awakened spiritual self, assists its emergence in another. In other words, he is at best a catalyst for metamorphosis. This is true not only for our physical problems but our psychological problems too. In fact this is precisely what the healer inside us does. It uses Nature’s difficulties as means for growth much as the adventurer uses the travails of his travels to develop his skill, strength and wisdom. The soul inside us does not judge, it neither condemns nor criticizes, it simply sees and heals, observes and applies gentle pressure here and there for the desired change.

It is said that time heals, and rightly so. But how does it heal? Perhaps by readjusting the forces in the individual’s field. Therefore coercion and excessive use of force to change things, without taking into account the totality, is a futile exercise. True and radical healing is a patient process. It cannot be otherwise. Impatience may therefore be not only useless, but in the end even harmful. Human nature contains many elements, some ready for efflorescence, some only buds and shoots, others still only in seed form. All these have to be simultaneously taken into account. This is an impossible feat for the human mind unless it has learned to subjugate itself to the light of the soul. For it is only the soul which knows each element of our nature and each issue of our lives in total perspective, and not as something cut off from the whole as the mind perceives. From the soul perspective one sees the present, the past and the future. One can not only see the knot of the difficulty but also its temporal necessity. Therefore all true healing can only come through contact with our soul. This growing soul in us was recognised by Sri Aurobindo as the psychic being.

The true self

So what is this psychic being? What is its method, system and rationale for healing? How can we assist in its emergence? These are crucial questions that a true healer needs to ask or rather, more importantly, needs to aspire for. For just as the caterpillar cannot understand the butterfly as an intimate part of itself, so too the human mind, however brilliant, cannot understand the soul inside. The only way to know and truly understand is to live and be. That is why, in days of old, this knowledge was kept secret and revealed only to the ready initiate. But then we have moved further.

The human mind is bursting and seeking to know and grow beyond itself. Seeking is a sign of the growing emergence of the soul, since it is only when the light of the soul falls upon the dark chambers of the mind that it begins to turn towards the deep and unseen source of this light. Before that, it is too content with itself and accustomed to the darkness it calls light since that is the only light it knows. The mind also becomes a hindrance when, instead of seeking to grow by contact with the soul, it tries to bind the soul’s deeper and freer truth into its fixed formulae and begins hastily judging it by its own limited standards. To know the soul requires a very patient effort. It is like discovering a new, far-off continent where each failure paves the way to subsequent victory, if we only know how to persevere.

All mental judgments are not only useless but also harmful. The soul of an apparent atheist may be more developed than the soul of a so-called believer. The soul need not express itself in the dubious garb of religiosity, nor through a brilliant intellect. It need not show an interest in matters of social duty and conventional morality that our mind constantly confuses with the spiritual. Neither is it the voice of our conscience, that close imitator of the soul.

The soul is concerned with the truth of things. It sees the truth behind religiosity and atheism, therefore can use both as means for progress. It sees the use of reason but also its many limitations. It sees the truth in social and moral conventions and simultaneously the truth of defying conventions and revolt against existing norms.

Therefore it can truly help since it alone holds the key to an integral change. Its moods and methods cannot be understood by a mind that tries to tie up everything into a too simplistic ’either or’ formula, that is partial and one-sided and therefore not wholly true.

The balance of forces

According to ancient Indian wisdom, most illnesses arise as a result of an imbalance between the forces of tamas (inertia), rajas (kinesis), and sattva (harmony and balance). An excess of tamas leads to an increased rate of destruction (catabolism) since the body is unable to keep pace with the pressure of change. An excess of rajas depletes the reserves since the demand is much more than supply. The cells and body tissues are stimulated to build (anabolism) beyond their limits. This excessive stimulation leads to an irritation of the organs and consequently a disturbed balance. Besides, an excess of rajasic activity is almost invariably followed by recoil and relapse into tamas.

The outer consequence of this is that people with an excess of one or the other force have a matching lifestyle. So people with an excess of tamas are the proverbial couch-potatoes, whose favourite pastime is sleep. They only wake to sharp sensations and therefore sometimes resort to crude habits like alcohol to make themselves feel alive. Now we attribute many illnesses to this sort of lifestyle but that is itself the result of an excess of tamas in the system! That is why so much of our well-meaning advice and ‘do’s and don’ts’ fall flat on their face. Even the ‘all-knowing’ physician bound by his own nature finds it difficult to follow, unless thanks to some deep crisis of illness, he is pushed against the wall. Again, an excess of rajas leads to a type of lifestyle with much hype and fury. Picture the busy executive and workaholic corporate boss crushing their hearts and coronaries in a blind race to move faster and faster. The heart begins to give up, we are told, due to lifestyle and attitudes. But what has determined this attitude: genes, heredity, learning or something more intrinsic? The inner imbalance is really due to an excess of rajas leading to energy flowing into unhealthy channels. But what about the sattvic man and his lifestyle? It is indeed full of balance and moderation, and that comes naturally to the sattvic man. He leans and tends towards harmony. But since the three forces are divided in a human being (not yet in a unified harmony), the sattvic man strives for harmony by trimming down, denying or suppressing the excessive rajas. This has its backlash, — for example, the easy fall into tamas, the reduction of life-force that can fight against problems and difficulties, the sudden out-bursts of suppressed rajas upsetting the system not built or tuned to run in a hyper-mode. The problem is further complicated by the fact that different parts of our nature may respond to different forces. Thus the body may be full of tamas but the mind may respond to sattva. Or the body may be predominantly rajasic but the mind in a state of tamasic inertia.

Still, sattva is the best mode as of now. When man has learned to consciously handle these forces and the force of evolution leads him to higher and higher energies, he will be able to recover the spontaneous unity of sattva, rajas and tamas in a transformed nature. Tamas then will be transformed into its original force of Peace of which it is a degradation. Rajas will be transformed into Consciousness-Force of which it is merely a lower derivation. And Sattva will change into its higher counterpart of Light and Ananda, the Light that creates harmony by knowing the right place of everything, and the Ananda that is the natural result of this harmony. In other words, tamas-rajas-sattva will change into their counterparts, Sat-Chit-Ananda (Truth-Consciousness-Bliss) of the Divine within us. That is perhaps what is meant by the saying that man will be free from all afflictions when the kingdom of heaven descends upon earth and man grows into the likeness of God.

If that is the radical cure presupposed by Nature, the cure towards which evolution is secretly leading us, then we need to discover the mediating philosopher’s stone that can work out the miracle swiftly rather than slowly in the natural course of time. This cannot happen by advice and conventional health education, which can at best only propagate a more moderate and sattvic lifestyle. More is needed.

This transfer from the lower to higher can only be achieved by the inmost soul, the psychic being in man. For it is only the psychic being that knows both, the divine parentage and the fallen nature. Once awakened, it can gradually lead man progressively out of darkness, bondage, falsehood, suffering, and death towards light, freedom, truth, bliss and immortality.

Healing from within

It is the psychic consciousness that puts us in touch with the healing forces, forces from beyond the frontiers of form, forces of peace and joy, harmony and love, health and trust. The role of these deeper forces in health and healing have yet to be recognised, though we have at least begun to admit one of them: Faith. These forces, not normally accessible to our narrow and closed ego-bound life, begin to naturally enter a person who is open to the soul within, effortlessly, just as butterflies are attracted to a flower. The psychic touch therefore not only balances the lower nature and its forces but invites, invokes and opens the doors to a higher nature in which illness and suffering is impossible.
The Mother puts it very simply and directly,

“This peace and fullness and joy given by the psychic contact… gives an openness towards the true consciousness…. So long as the openness is there, the peace, the fullness and the joy remain with their immediate results of progress, health and fitness in the physical, quietness and goodwill in the vital, clear understanding and broadness in the mental and a general feeling of security and satisfaction.”(2)

This does not mean that the psychic contact will free us from all illnesses forever. That cannot be done until the energies that move our nature are transformed into their divine counterparts. But it will surely reduce the frequency and blunt the edge. Besides the emergence of the soul in a rajas-prone person will encourage a movement towards sattva from within, even without any lecture or imposition from outside, by putting our nature into an accelerated evolutionary mode of which sattva is a significant step. Finally, it will open the doors definitively towards transformation, which is also the true and definitive road to radical healing. It is only in a transformed human nature that immunity will be spontaneous.

Is there some evidence to suggest that the psychic touch truly heals from within? There is indeed the everyday evidence in the form of sleep. We contact, even if for a few moments, the highest in us during the deepest phase of sleep. It is this that heals us of our daily anxieties and troubles. How often do we wake up with a fresh mind and body ready for a new start as if the load of the previous day had been taken off? Equally, many illnesses are preceded by a phase of disturbed sleep, or else start during a prolonged sojourn in the vital worlds, where straying too far and for too long we have little time left for the psychic contact. The release of our consciousness from the grip of our outer mind facilitates this reverse process of going inside. In other words, to discover the soul consciously, we have to concentrate on going within, where in the silent depths, beyond thoughts, emotions and desires, in the cave of the heart, dwells our secret soul. One of the methods of contacting it is given below. There are others and one may choose according to one’s temperament. But whatever the method chosen, one must be armed with patience and sincerity. It takes time and persistence. Radical breakthroughs have their price and this breakthrough has results and effects that can last beyond a lifetime and for future lives to come.

“Concentrate in the heart. Enter into it; go within and deep and far, as far as you can. Gather all the strings of your consciousness that are spread abroad, roll them up and take a plunge and sink down.

A fire is burning there, in the deep quietude of the heart. It is the divinity in your true being. Hear its voice, follow its dictates.”(3)

References:

1. Sri Aurobindo. Savitri. Pondicherry; Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, 1970, p. 256.
2. The Mother. Collected works of the Mother. Vol. 12. Pondicherry; Sri Aurobindo Ashram, 1978. pp. 45-46.
3. The Mother. Collected works of the Mother. Vol. 3. Pondicherry; Sri Aurobindo Ashram, 1978. p. 1.