Are You a Healer?

Is healing a gift, or can it be learned? Is wanting to help enough? What exactly can be taught? The answers — from a Protestant minister, a Sufi medical doctor, and a psychologist shaman — may surprise you.

By Betsy RoBinson

I wonder about these questions — worry, obsess, and sometimes get angry. Perhaps my four years in a healing school, practicing on and submitting my body and psyche to fellow students, have made me a tad phobic about what can go wrong if you don’t know what you’re doing — or worse, if you believe you know. Perhaps it’s the commercialization of what many believe is God/the Creator/the Source’s domain. It bothers me that with only workshop training, some people call themselves “master” of an energy healing modality and hang out a shingle. It puzzles me that sometimes such people can help. It frightens me that they may hurt someone. So what is this healing business, and who can do it?

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Grant Lessard

requires that those who lead the prayers understand other people’s pain. it took a life as a wife and mother. chapel. 10 years as a prison chaplain. Listen with your heart. Do they improve? · Practice listening to someone — with respect and without judging. then they be a healer. pray to heal their suffering. Sometimes people with good intentions. August 2006. The rooms are spare and comfortable. · test yourself: With someone’s permission. but it’s not just their faith in God but their desire to see people healed — that real love. and retreat house in rural Gaylordsville. a master’s from the New York Theological Seminary. People suffering from everything from depression to spiritual crises to pain and serious illness are invited to “soak” in the love and healing power of Jesus Christ.Reverend Gail Paul. not personal manipulation.org) offers three levels of training. may still carry wrong desires. certain that they are ready to help. D. because the people who attend “soaking prayer” healing services come in a range of physical conditions. 54 Spirituality & Health Jan/Feb 2007 . and pray. For information or to phone in prayer requests. What Is Prayer Healing and Can It Be Taught? Although Paul felt called to heal when she was a teenager.” Before Paul invites students to be on a soaking prayer healing team. Oratory of the Little Way School of Healing Prayer (Oratoryhealing. our beCollege–Jewish Institute of Religion in New York City lief that people are to bring her to her present valuable. notice whether you want to solve their problem. “I don’t know how want to see them people heal or who should healed. get training. “I’ve seen extraordinary things happen in this chapel. And sometimes people must be in a sacred space with other believers to have the strength.” She only knows that healing comes let go. a 40-year-old ecumenical Christian healing center. or other professional counselor. to let God do God’s work. “If I heal that person I’ll feel so good about myself. ordination in the United Methodist Church. Students also work to heal their own wounds.Min. We’re just people who believe that God heals. where she says simply. Connecticut. “They understand how difficult it is to let go of anger and hatred. such as.) To heal. call 860-354-8294. or sometimes to relax enough. love.” says Paul. We’re not the healers. And it helps if those who pray and the subject of the prayer believe in the possibility of healing. a pastor. Soaking prayer is just what it sounds like. she says. that we position. “It’s a matter of observing and sometimes just letting people try — being there beside them to see whether they’re doing something inappropriate or whether they’re following the main principles — to listen. · Read books such as The Nearly Perfect Crime: How the Church Nearly Killed the Ministry of Healing by Francis Macnutt. with Mission-style furniture “for people of all sizes.” Says Paul.” says Paul. c o u r t e s y o r at o r y o f t h e L i t t L e W ay from the grace of God. studies at five colleges and seminary under the tutelage of an orthodox rabbi. · if you believe you are called to heal. Love is healing. (Paul quotes an article by theologian Francis MacNutt citing the lack of mutual belief as a major flaw in the recent Harvard study that declared prayer a sometimes counter-effective healing modality. They may pray a specific prayer..” S&H. which is critical to being totally present to another’s problems.” Gail Paul’s Practices and Resources if you feel called to heal: · talk to a priest. See “Harvard’s Big Prayer Study. the Oratory teachers observe them working with and praying for one another. and a doc“When we project torate from Hebrew Union deep love. four grandchildren.” says Paul. notice if you’re feeling your own emotion more than witnessing theirs. Director of the oratory of the Little Way Gail Paul glows as she shows me around the Oratory of the Little Way.

In this case. Most energetic healers shift the c o u r t e s y o r at o r y o f r o b e r t i b r a h i m J a f f e spiritualityhealth. and body.. steady voice. a profound calm comes over me. University of spiritual Healing & sufism Graduates of healing schools go to Robert Ibrahim Jaffe to “fill in the holes” in their training and “learn how to be with clients.) “As you travel that need to be understood: For healing to be complete. it doesn’t mean that healing has occurred rically.” he explains. Founder and President. there’s only love and peace.” Can this peace be taught? Can one learn to be a spiritual What Jaffe is describing is the light. influencing the world around you when Can people heal the wrong way? “Yes. she would it. And they get results. when you the person. In you.” says Jaffe. the more love. Those people have a place in the first get a state of healing. I was terrified. the more freedom. “But first. that’s a sign and to a certain level. but the instant I hear his deep. my sudden calm. but heart. I met an incredibly psychic woman who could get into Are Allopathic Doctors Healers? people’s energy fields and change them very.” S&H. “God surhas to occur across all the realities. Peace. The more you purify yourself. whose ‘being light. it divides into what we call divine qualities. The quality of al salam or what the Heover the next hour. that he sees as various colors.” According to Jaffe. more oneness — all these are qualities of God — beautiful But it requires inner work — the purification of the spirit gold or white or silver or copper or green lights that emaand heart and oneself. I call them energetic healers. Well. there are a couple of things Organ of Perception. as I watched her heal a person. in the mental body. rounds you with God qualities. because as she changed the field. “When I first started healing. They can work etheand heal initially.” Jaffe answers you are ‘walking your proximity. you. And in that state. the “For me. I really thought that the person their presence “organizes” you. energetic changes.com 55 . then an absolute collapse.D. Find a teacher Sufism we speak about 99 of them. in the intuitive at a deeper level. D. psychological and emotional changes. I anatomy and physiology and the medicines that affect was shocked. and in the subtle bodies that surround people — the as the psychic gave the healing. What you’re feeling is the establishment of some of those qualities.D. as a physifield. something like a dark cloud came over brews call shalom. case driving the person deeper into illness. might die. “but they learn rounding the body. I am eager and nervous when I dial his number. emotionally. They’re His gifts to you.” the 99 are the major ones. the person had asthma. in this scheme of things. challenge you. that healing is inside When the essential light is broken.” nate out of you. But first level of the cocoon. “That’s like “If you’re drawn to white light before it’s split by a prism. M. the more salam He gives and spiritual changes.” he says. or human energy healer? “No question. “Many people who go into [allopathic.” says Jaffe. spiritual healing is the highest level of healing. very quickly. healing.’” quickly. So I learned “The second level is people working with the chakra that just because somebody can change the energy field system. fragment. The more peace. April 2006. or scientific] mediEnergetic healing works with the subtle energy fields surcine have little healing ability. it further in your relationship to God. breathing improved.” Jaffe is a Sufi master as well as a licensed medical doctor with a background in alternative and complementary medicine. there’s perfection. (See “The Heart as an cian and so-called Sufi master..Robert Ibrahim Jaffe. “There is God in what we call the essential state of unity. You need biochemical. Hence. “What just happened?” I ask. There who can see into your are actually hundreds and thousands. started to are in the presence of somebody who embodies that peace.’ or very deep self. about 20 years ago.

using indigenous plants. there was a professor of economics at the university who had no interest in being a healer. to the lower world. so he tried to run away to the United States. some people are born with a mission to heal that may not be awakened in childhood. com/HealingCommunity. and I’ve felt in my own being. he was a protégé of the anthropologist Gregory Bateson and the cybernetic scientist Heinz von Foerster. · Practice self-inquiry. Spirituality & Health is creating a forum for sharing such information. For that. Their learning may happen in early adulthood. artificial hierarchy. He tried to make himself dirty so that he would be rejected by the world of Spirit. see the University of Spiritual Healing & Sufism (sufiuniversity. who can look into your heart and mind and test your knowledge. and to God. that healing cannot be taught.energetics of those cocoons. but a natural hierarchy in which some are called to be healers and others are called to be chefs or poets or whatnot. which transcends the lower cocoons of the energetic body and enters the soul’s world and can change the relationship of the soul to itself. where he drank a lot and paid money to prostitutes.” says Jaffe. he worked in academia. have embraced Keeney as a doctor of their ecstatic shamanism and “shaking medicine. Please. But write from your heart and tell others what you wish you had known about your teachers before you entered your training — positive or negative. 56 Spirituality & Health Jan/Feb 2007 Bradford Keeney is a joyful bear of a man who grabs you in a full-body hug and holds you till you vibrate as if plugged into an electrical outlet. When you have results. as well as healers of many other cultures.” as he says.” For more information.” he says. To become a true spiritual healer you have to go through a discipline of purification and training. “I’ve heard many elders say. which is a very subtle light. texas Medical Center. so for that I think you kind of do need somebody to guide you. addictions. Shamanic healers also do that. and they. And I think this breeds a kind of arrogance: ‘If I simply desire it — the knowledge of healing. and usually it’s a lightning bolt believed to be of divine origin that pierces the recipient’s being and begins an initiatory process. Ph. and director of the Bushman n/om Kxao ethnographic Project. this requires a teacher. or whatever interferes with your peace. arguably lazy. but He does it through burning off things that need to go. “We rebel against the natural hierarchy. So he also knows the linear ways of Western analytic thinking. I’m equivalent to a shaman in the Kalahari or Amazonia or Japan. he was on his way to the Kalahari to stay with the Bushman healer women. and after a weekend. wisdom. you get the mantle of healer.’ This is nonsense. Robert Ibrahim Jaffe’s Practices and Resources · Find a practice to purify yourself of your aversions. it means He loves you. the miraculous healings that people talk about. institute of Religion and Health. but without the sting.org). author. For more than a decade. you need to witness the soul’s reality. I’ll tell you a story: “In Bali. When I caught up with him for this article. Jaffe’s website is DrJaffeMD. But the healing dream came on him. or reading a book.D. and the dream came to an elder that he was to walk this road. Houston Bradford Keeney. . He was happy with his academic life. I don’t mean a socially imposed. to the body. In the Spirit of Service Have you had an experience in a training program for healers that might benefit others who are searching for teachers? is there a teacher who has changed your life — in a good or bad way? in the spirit of helping the healing community. you can’t earn it nor can you push it away. · illness or breakdown are initiations. when God gives you illness. It’s a gift. whatever — then I can open the Yellow Pages and find a place. to go where he dreamed and practice the ways of traditional healers. that everyone has the skills to be anything. shaman.” Cultural anthropologist. or having a daydream. which is a powerful way of healing. · Get a book about the 99 sufi qualities and repeat one quality 100 times a day.com. “There is a convenient. But it didn’t matter. A pioneer in family therapy.” S&H June 2003). Go to spiritualityHealth. “in sufism. “it’s a sign that God wants to take you deeper and give you more. On the other hand. He didn’t want it. and shake with them (see “Dancing with the Kalahari Bushmen. “The third level is spiritual healing. I have never witnessed a soul healer who hasn’t gone through a discipline.. idea in today’s culture. dance. But for me it’s the most powerful form of healing — that’s where you see cancer and AIDS being healed. no gossip or selling.” But before Keeney “dropped off the map. he has been welcomed to live.

the ropes. it’s a deeper knowing. of powerful and your community. Healers can be conduits into peace. of those you love.” says Keeney.’ “So the choice is often. That’s a own. he said. At that moment you are given everything you need. And one morning he woke and there was a line of people that all had that dream. straight from the divine. and on through the greater systems humbling mantra. the entire village had the dream that they were to go to him to be doctored. the last thing anybody wants is to be is a spiritual teacher or healer. from the oldest cultures in Africa to the sanctified black churches in the backwoods of Louisiana to the high mountains of Peru and Asia. At that point. or membership in a spiritual ideology or group. because of the suffering attending the necessary teaching and learning.” Bradford Keeney’s Practices and Resources A Litmus test for students and teachers · is there joy? A true teacher puts a smile on a student’s face and a giggle in the belly. It’s so overwhelming that some don’t talk about it for years. “But I want to talk about that illumination because I meet too many people who say they’re illumined. You’re not saying to yourself. they will say. now I’m getting the feeling. this is happening. And if someone came to you at that moment. In many cultures that I’ve seen.’ No. It’s the structure of ceremony. And yet it may take the rest of your life to fully trust that you have the hookup.” What Is Spiritual Prosperity? “Healing boils down to spiritual prosperity. there’s baptism and luminosity and energy and lightning and so forth. the Kalahari Bushmen. they weep. ‘Oh. in greater hands. bliss. ‘This was the most amazing experience of my life. see Bradford Keeney’s Profiles of Healing book and digital recording series at RingingRocks.org. you’d know where to put your hands and what to say to heal them — with no conscious effort. As they would say. if not always. · Does Love flow through both student’s and teacher’s veins? · Do student and teacher acknowledge an equal need for healing? For more about traditional healers. the rewiring of your whole being. the cords. wow. True “If you think you spiritual prosperity involves know how to heal. what are they talking about? Everyone I’ve met who I’ve believed — whose community believes — to be illumined. the Big God.’ And it’s not a moment. and spirituality steps in to transform that suffering into bliss.When he returned to Bali. Betsy Robinson is managing editor of S&H. opening your heart to feeling and being inseparable you don’t. and I wonder. It’s typically a baptism that will last through a night.” says from suffering — your Keeney. have been attached to your being. and joy. it breaks you. And it may take weeks more to return to the everyday and sort out what happened. your financial portfolio will increase.” Grant Lessard Knowing What to Do “Here’s what I’ve been told by the world’s oldest living culture. But the hookup has been made. even days or weeks. Without a doubt. But you know in the midst of the baptism. That suffering overwhelms you.” says Keeney. that compose our biosphere and all life. You just know. “When the greatest gift comes from the Creator. · Does the work make you humble? the path you’re on is a good one if both teacher and student doubt and constantly test their humanness against the eternal truth of spirit. “Not the fraudulent spiritual prosperity in our culture today — the belief that if you sign up for the right practice. It can’t be told as an everyday event. if they talk about it. his first week back. It doesn’t mean you can then pass a multiple-choice exam and be a psychotherapist or a licensed shaman or whatever. the transmission. technique. But do the goods get delivered? Do you know what to do after that illumination? Yes.com 57 . that everything was given to you. spiritualityhealth. ‘I can’t fight it.

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