What is healing?
For as much as we focus on wellness and trying to be happy in our culture, most of us spend very little time thinking about what healing actually is, or how to experience it.
We tend to think of it as the realm of certified health professionals—doctors, nurses, therapists—people with special, almost magical powers to take some action that will make us whole and healthy.
On a certain level, that’s true. A physician can prescribe antibiotics or remove a cancerous tumor. But really, these actions are about taking away something harmful (an infection, a cancerous mass of cells) so that the body can be restored to its natural state.
What is that natural state? Health.
I want you to really think about this for a minute, because its implications are profound! It means that your natural state is not disease and discomfort. Your natural state is one of health, balance, wholeness, and intimate connection.
But we get so caught up in our experience of pain and suffering, and the habits we build around that suffering, that we can start to think that disease is our natural state. Whole philosophies and theologies have developed to reinforce this view.
When we believe that disease is our natural state, we’ll keep waiting for a magical healer to come along and fix everything for us. Health will always be elusive.
But the contemplative journey shows us another way.
Let’s return for a moment to the idea that healing is a process of removing barriers, so that the body can get back in touch with its innate sense of state of health.
What kind of barriers? Physical barriers, like an infection or tumor, are often the first that come to mind. But we also face mental, emotional, and spiritual barriers to health.
In Western, scientific cultures, we have strong distinctions between the physical plane and the mental-emotional-spiritual plane. Scientists and philosophers of science call this the “mind-body problem.” But what exactly is the problem?
Viewed from a holistic, contemplative perspective, there is no problem! Or at least there’s not a “mind-body” problem that needs to be solved in the way modern science goes about it.
In fact, practically every ancient culture—and certainly every contemplative tradition—sees these as interwoven and interdependent dimensions of one single human reality, held together by a Divine Will or Divine Consciousness.
And now, even modern Western science is discovering that our internal states—our thoughts, emotions, and behavior patterns—are directly linked to, and often causal of, our state of physical health.
Disease, or more literally, dis-ease—a lack of ease or feeling ok in our bodies—is ultimately a result of attachment of some kind. This is stated in every single contemplative tradition, from the Christian mystical contemplative tradition to the yoga tradition to the Buddhist tradition.
Once we see this basic predicament of the human condition, and understand the true nature of healing more clearly, now we can ask much more interesting questions. Like: what am I attached to? How does my attachment cause dis-ease? And then, most importantly, what can I do about it?
What are your attachments?
We can start by looking at external attachments or addictions. Food, drinks, and mind-altering drugs (not only the illegal ones, but also legal substances like caffeine and alcohol) are probably the most obvious.
But other behaviors can become compulsive or addictive, too, like shopping, compulsive exercise, sex and unhealthy relationship patterns, and perfectionism (which can so quickly become workaholism).
When you keep going deeper, you find more basic, internal attachments—like your thoughts, emotional patterns, or core beliefs about yourself and the world. With mindful awareness, you can learn to follow these root attachments outward, seeing how they manifest in thoughts and emotions, in behavior patterns, and ultimately in dis-ease.
One of these core beliefs that drives dis-ease—and that is shared by almost everyone—is shame. Shame is the belief that we are somehow flawed in our core. It leads us to think: I’m not good, I’m not enough, I’m not worthy of love or acceptance. And it keeps us looking for healing and wholeness outside of ourselves.
But again: health isn’t outside of you, or something that can be done to you. It’s your natural state. The natural flow and pull of our bodies, of human consciousness, of all of Nature—is already towards health, wholeness, integration, intimacy, and connection.
So what can you do about it?
The goal isn’t to do something to make yourself healthy and happy. Rather, it is to awaken to the fact that your natural state is already one of health, and to live out of that state every day.
Contemplative practices just teach you how to let go, to surrender all the attachments that block you from living in direct and conscious awareness of your inner core of health, wholeness, and intimacy.
Centering Prayer & Meditation is an extremely simple method of learning how to do this. It teaches you how to let go, to surrender your attachments gently and gradually. In fact, this practice is so gradual and gentle that some people don’t even recognize the change at first. Maybe it’s only after a few weeks of regular practice that they can look back, and notice that their shame, their barriers to healing, have been dissolving.
All you have to do is learn the practice—it takes just a couple of hours—show up every day, and say yes. God and the natural course of nature will take care of the rest. That’s all you need to find deep and lasting healing.
Of course, as you probably know, it sounds simple…but it’s not always easy to do in practice. Learning what to do is quick and easy. But getting into the habit of doing it regularly and consistently, for the rest of your life, is the hard part.
Why is it so difficult?
Old habits die hard! Shame continues to gnaw at us, to tell us it’s not worth it, to try to convince us to give up. It feels easier to stay in those old, familiar patterns.
And it really might be easier to stay in those patterns…at least for the short-term. But it won’t be easier in the long-term, and it won’t help you find healing and wholeness.
That’s why I’ve created the Centering for Wisdom program. It has everything you need to get started, as well as the support you’ll need to develop habits that will last you for a lifetime.
This support includes:
- Me as your teacher and guide. You’ll have access to all my training, experience, and Centering Prayer and Meditation practice of over twenty years
- Instruction in Centering Prayer and Meditation and HeartMath® techniques.
- Individualized feedback. You’ll get personal feedback on the Action Items you submit each week, as well as feedback in weekly live coaching sessions.
- A safe, supportive, private community. In addition to live sessions with your cohort, you’ll receive lifetime access to a private Facebook group for past and current Centering for Wisdom members.
- Modern technologies to support your practice and provide feedback. The Wisdom Profile™ and the HeartMath® Inner Balance Sensor allow you to see the progress you’ve made through scientifically validated instruments.
Ultimately, what you’ll receive is a practice that will gently show you how to accept your body, yourself, even your attachments. It will allow your shame to melt away, and open you up to deeper intimacy with God, your true Self, the people you love (and maybe even the people you don’t love so much!), and with the natural world.
This program offers everything you need to set you up for a lifetime of daily centering practice, so you can let go of chronic stress, and gradually surrender the attachments that stand between you and God, between you and your natural birthright of health.
If you want to embrace this deeper level of healing, then I want to invite you to the Centering for Wisdom coaching program. I’m starting the first cohort of this newly revised program in the first week of April, and right now you have the chance to be a part of the very first cohort where I integrate Centering for Wisdom with the HeartMath techniques and technologies.
And if you have more questions, I invite you to book a phone call with me. I’ll help you get clear on your current challenges and where you’d like to be in the next few months. If I’m confident I can help you get there, I’ll discuss that with you. And if not, that’s fine too, and I’ll look for other resources to help you.
May your daily contemplative practice bring you to deeper levels of healing. And if you’re looking to get started with this process, or maybe you want to go even deeper, then I’d be honored to journey with you in that process.