When I was an Acupuncturist treating people for mainstream complaints (back/neck pain, etc) I found that most people associated healing with less discomfort. If, after the appointment, they had a flareup of symptoms, or other uncomfortable symptoms occurred, they assumed that acupuncture wasn’t working or that something had gone wrong. Basically, they assume discomfort = not healing.

Taking this a step further– I also found that people who had their main complaint (the issue they came in with) lessened or if it completely went away the person would all but forget about it and go on to their next complaints, sometimes not even realizing that they came in initially for back pain and at their next appointment they were saying that acupuncture didn’t work because their stomach hurt.

Taking this even a step further– I also found that the group of people who experienced quick relief of their symptoms would often take an attitude of “I don’t know what happened, it must be luck/chance that I feel better”. I was not looking for accolades, and in fact many time patients had to directly do things– like stretches or eating differently– and they still wouldn’t attribute their healing to themselves.

Whatever the result, due to our conditioned mindset we do a few things in relation to the healing process:

1. Assume that anything seemingly negative (i.e. not numbness offered by pharmaceutical companies) means that we are not healing, or that whoever we went to for healing “did something wrong”.

In some cases, this can of course be true. People, including healers, screw up. Some quite a bit, and quite often. But in many cases we have been culturally indoctrinated to assume that healing means numbness, or that our symptoms will automatically improve.

This is often not the case. If we picture our healing process as an onion, we might have to take off layers of that onion in order to fully heal from whatever caused our imbalances/pain in the first place. In all cases of pain, dysfunction, and imbalance our whole body protects the area that is out of balance (yes, even in cases of emotional imbalance). So when we begin to peel the layers back of the proverbial onion, we might find that our body has to re-arrange, re-integrate, and actually process the pain or the original cause of our dysfunction.

This may not be pleasant. It may bring up physical pain, emotions, and needs for your body to figure out as a whole how to rebalance itself.

2. We do not realize that healing, real healing, has to involve us.

We are all to willing to give our power away. Sometimes this is necessary, such as if our appendix explodes and we need emergency surgery. But in many cases, the person who heals vs. the person who doesn’t has a lot to do with personal investment in healing. We are all to willing to go to the doctor, or the shaman, or the healer and have them do things to us… instead of us having a stake in the process and participating with them.

We assume that healing is immediate. Again, we are not willing to work for our own healing. Anything– be it exercise, eating differently, meditation and visualizations that could heal (or cure) our situation many of us simply won’t do… or we will do once and then say it didn’t work.

I will say that healing is a lot different than curing, by the way… and I am not of the mindset that you can just think “positive thoughts” and your cancer will go away. I have been in the holistic medical field for way too long, including working in hospice, clinics, and hospital systems, to know that is not true. But the person who thinks positive thoughts, does positive actions, and is invested in their healing process totally and completely with a desire to live will certainly be more likely to be both healed and cured.

3. We do not understand that healing is a process
This is a big one. See #1, but we are so used to taking a pill for something, utilizing something outer to quell our inner pain, that the idea that healing is a process and something that involves our own efforts is something of a foreign concept to most of us, even those of us seeking more holistic methods.

Basically, when we go for the numbing that pharmaceuticals offer, we are only looking for that numbing (in most cases, obviously there are exceptions to this). When we look for healing, we are going through a process. A process that likely needs our support as well as a team of varying clinicians and healing methods.

4. We do not understand that we are mind-body-spirit
People who come to me nowadays have likely gone through allopathic medical approaches, therapists of varying stripes, holistic providers such as acupuncturists, herbalists, and bodyworkers. And they are still having difficulty. This is because we can take care of the mind all we want, we can take care of the body all we want, if we are having an imbalance that is persisting despite these methods and/or is chronic, the spiritual layer of our illness and imbalance needs to be worked with.

This is if we actually do want to heal (some of us want to destroy ourselves, actually). But to heal from something chronic or serious (either physically or emotionally) we likely need that team of clinicians and different methods of healing for the mind, body, and spirit.

5. We trust people and “experts” that we shouldn’t
Every time I look on Facebook, or really anywhere on the internet I see people offering advice and articles that are ill-informed and some are downright dangerous. There are gurus and “spiritual teachers” espousing methods for healing mind, body, and spirit such as releasing trauma without any sort of training in the physiology of trauma, people who say that a specific herb will cure your cancer (without any sort of herbal training), and people without any sort of health care training, bodywork training, or understanding of really anything about, well, really anything, who say that your thyroid disease comes from hating yourself (like there is a one to one ratio for such things… or my favorite that Ebola (when that scare was going around) could only happen to you if you lacked self-concept.

Diseases are multi-dimensional. We are multi-dimensional. In fact, one of the first precepts that you learn about any sort of holistic or spiritual healing is that each person is an individual, with their own unique constellation of reasons why their imbalanced began. You learn that two people who have chronic fatigue (for example) may need two different herbal formulas (and yes, not just one herb).  It is only be teasing apart the emotional, traumatic, energetic, spiritual, mental, and physical reasons for illness and imbalance that we can truly understand it.

Until then, we are just perpetuating more illusion, and we are adding to the general ignorance that is continually shared and memed throughout our world. There are plenty of “experts” out there treating what they shouldn’t be. We were all new clinicians at some point, but if you want herbal help for your cancer go to a trained herbalist. And not only a trained herbalist, but one that specializes in cancer… one that has a track record of working with people with cancer. If you are looking to heal from trauma, do not go to someone who has no healthcare and/or psychology training and is saying they are a “shaman” from a weekend class and so now they can work with trauma. Go to someone who has studied trauma, knows it, can hold space for it, specializes in working with it.

If you want spiritual help, do not trust the “expert” on your Facebook or internet group that is telling you what you need to do with yourself without knowing you or even looking at the situation. The amount of bad advice I have seen just concerning Kundalini awakenings still is oddly astonishing to me, but this can extend to advice about spirits, trauma, or really anything else spiritually. A real spiritual worker will know that they need time to look at a specific situation, to do divination concerning it. And they will not either have the time to be on Facebook all day offering suggestions or mostly they will realize that spiritual work is not a game, and that people can get hurt or confused by bad advice, or advice that is simply not individualized for the person inquiring. Nobody who does this work professionally and ethically will offer suggestions on the internet, basically. They will not have the time to and they know that spiritual work requires diligence, ethics, and individualized attention… not generalized statements.

Basically, do your homework as both someone who wants treatment for something and/or as a hopeful clinician who wants to specialize. Learn to refer to someone who actually works with trauma, or cancer (or anything else) if you want to work with it so you can go beyond perpetuating more illusion with little help for your clients/patients.

6. We go to healers we know won’t help us
This one sounds odd at first glance, especially because we are spending actual money. I once worked under a woman healer who was excellent at working with digestive disorders, to the point that people with things like ulcerative colitis could leave her clinic after a month or two of treatments and resume basically their normal lives (with some dietary restrictions, of course).

Down the road was a new graduate who promised everyone he could “cure” them no matter what it was. He promised a one, two, or three treatment cure. I had seen this man work and he was simply not very good at what he did. But people came to him, partially because of his promise of “cure” but there are some complex energetics considering healers that most people do not want to discuss. I was always curious why people with digestive disorders would go to him instead of the woman healer I worked under who was incredibly more effective and cheaper than this man.

Really effective healers, true spiritual workers, and so forth are somewhat rare. There was a time in my life that I was looking for Truth (capital T). I was looking for a healer that could actually help me, and while I found a few that were moderately helpful, I couldn’t find someone that could heal or even explain what I was going through.

I realized one day that I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to be healed, or “cured”, and I simply wasn’t ready to meet anyone who had any type of power or capability to understand what I was going through.

When I was ready, I found healers, teachers, and so forth that had the explanations, the healing capabilities, and the teaching capabilities that I was so hungry for.

This pattern is hard to wrap your head around, so I will explain it with another story. Even as a more general acupuncturist I didn’t really want to work with fertility patients. Fertility in acupuncture is a really specialized area, and requires a lot of study in specific areas of reproductive endocrinology because patients are typically going through a lot of allopathic treatment. I was, in fact, not very good at fertility work. There were also three acupuncturists in the somewhat small town I was in who in bold letters stated they were specialists in fertility work, with requisite pictures of parents with their children conceived with the help of said acupuncturist.

But people would occasionally call me for fertility acupuncture. And I realized at a certain point that these were people who didn’t want a child. It sounds harsh, I realize, but when you would talk with them about their stress levels, their partners, or anything else it was loud and clear. I began referring all of these patients out, and no longer taking them on, and they wouldn’t call the fertility expert.

Sometimes we are afraid of healing and despite our best efforts we sabotage our own healing.

It is difficult to change, to want to change, to realize that healing is a process, to realize that we have to put our own efforts in. It can be difficult to do research to realize who is an expert in working with trauma spiritually (or anything spiritually) and who is just playing in the spiritual sandbox, or to find a specialized acupuncturist, herbalist, bodyworker, and so forth to help us heal. But if we want to heal, if we truly want to, if we are ready to find the people and teachers and healers that we are looking for, we will. We just have to want to move on in our lives, to heal, and to let go of the fear that is telling us that we want things to remain in our lives as they are.