Healing

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"Spiritual" healing

In modern spirituality alternative methods of healing are usually regarded as being "spiritual". However although they are "non-physical" they have nothing to do with the spiritual planes but with subtle, although still "material" energies. Talking of "such movements as Christian Science, Mind Cure, Metaphysical Healing, Spiritual Healing, and so forth", Mme. Blavatsky wrote:

Understand once for all that there is nothing “spiritual” or “divine” in any of these manifestations. The cures effected by them are due simply to the unconscious exercise of occult power on the lower planes of nature—usually of prana or life-currents.[1]

Since this approach, whether consciously or unconsciously, uses occult forces, it is very important to maintain a strict ethical code:

Already these so-called sciences of “Healing” are being used to gain a livelihood. Soon some sharp person will find out that by the same process the minds of others can be influenced in many directions, and the selfish motive of personal gain and money-getting having been once allowed to creep in, the one-time “healer” may be insensibly led on to use his power to acquire wealth or some other object of his desire.[2]

Origin of diseases

In one of his letters, Mahatma K.H. wrote that diseases are "the progeny of human selfishness and greediness", that is, the result of an excess of what per se is good:

It is not nature that creates diseases, but man. The latter's mission and destiny in the economy of nature is to die his natural death brought by old age; save accident, neither a savage nor a wild (free) animal die of disease. Food, sexual relations, drink, are all natural necessities of life; yet excess in them brings on disease, misery, suffering, mental and physical, and the latter are transmitted as the greatest evils to future generations, the progeny of the culprits. Ambition, the desire of securing happiness and comfort for those we love, by obtaining honours and riches, are praiseworthy natural feelings but when they transform man into an ambitious cruel tyrant, a miser, a selfish egotist they bring untold misery on those around him; on nations as well as on individuals. All this then — food, wealth, ambition, and a thousand other things we have to leave unmentioned, becomes the source and cause of evil whether in its abundance or through its absence. Become a glutton, a debauchee, a tyrant, and you become the originator of diseases, of human suffering and misery. Lack all this and you starve, you are despised as a nobody and the majority of the herd, your fellow men, make of you a sufferer your whole life.[3]

However, this does not imply that every present disease is the result of actions in the present life. They are frequently the result of past karma, that is, of wrong attitudes and actions performed in a near or far previous life.

Mental healing

The concept of mental healing was first introduced by the "Christian Science", a system of religious thought and practice developed by Mary Baker Eddy based on her study of the Bible. The major teachings of Christian Science include the belief that spiritual reality is the only reality and all else is illusion or "error", sickness and disease being not real but the result of fear, ignorance, or sin. The recognition and understanding of the spiritual nature of reality allows for healing through prayer or introspection. Later, other movements such as "Mental Science" and "New Thought" developed, introducing the use of affirmations and denials to cure illnesses.

Regarding this, H. P. Blavatsky wrote:

Is it true that all our diseases are the result of wrong beliefs? The child, who has no belief, no knowledge or conception, true or false, on the subject of disease, catches scarlet fever through the transference of germs not through that of thought.[4]

Blavatsky questioned the infallibility of the connection between diseases and mental patterns:

But "Christian Science" goes further than that. At a lecture, in London, it was distinctly asserted that every physical disease arises from, and is the direct effect of, a mental disease or vice: e.g., "Bright’s disease of the kidneys is always produced in persons who are untruthful, and who practise deception." Query, Would not, in this case, the whole black fraternity of Loyola, every diplomat, advocate and lawyer, as the majority of tradesmen and merchants, be incurably afflicted with this terrible evil? Shall we be next told that cancer on the tongue or in the throat is produced by those who backbite and slander their fellow men? It would be well-deserved Karma, were it so. Unfortunately, some recent cases of this dreadful disease, carrying off two of the best, most noble-hearted and truthful men living, would give a glaring denial to such an assertion.[5]

This view can be supported by the fact that spiritual teachers such as Jiddu Krishnamurti, Nisargadatta Maharaj, Ramana Maharshi, and many others died of cancer.

Regarding the technique of affirmations and denials, Mme. Blavatsky maintained that this was not the teaching of Jesus, and criticized the effectiveness of it in removing the causes of evil:

Sins, wickedness, diseases, etc., are not denied by Jesus, nor are their opposites, virtue, goodness and health, anywhere affirmed. Otherwise, where would be the raison d’être for his alleged coming to save the world from the original sin?[6]
The Christian Scientist in his denials and affirmations . . . by denying disease and evil . . . is simply flying into the face of fact and encouraging the unwary mystic to ignore instead of killing his sinful nature.[7]

A serious danger appears if the "healer" tries to mentally force another person to change his mind in regards to his "wrong beliefs":

In nearly every case, the tenor of the teachings of these schools is such as to lead people to regard the healing process as being applied to the mind of the patient. Here lies the danger, for any such process—however cunningly disguised in words and hidden by false noses—is simply to psychologize the patient. In other words, whenever the healer interferes—consciously or unconsciously—with the free mental action of the person he treats, it is—Black Magic.[8]

One of the problems in this view is that it does not take into account the law of karma:

Disease, mental characteristics and shortcomings, are always effects produced by causes: the natural effect of Karma, the unerring Law of Retribution, as we would say; and one gets into a curious jumble when trying to work along certain given lines of this “Christian Science” theory.[9]

Blavatsky is not so much denying that "mental healing" may have an effect, but that it does not addresses the cause of the disease, but only delays the natural karmic effect, or transfers it to other aspects of our nature:

[T]hrough too much attention to her body she [a "Christian Scientist"] is reaping a temporary enjoyment now, for which, in subsequent lives, she will have to pay, [and] again, by using her mind so strangely to cure her body she may have removed her infirmities from the plane of matter to that of the mind. . .
[W]hat the extreme practice of mental curing does is to stave off for a time an amount of Karma which will, later on, reach us. We prefer to let it work out naturally through the material part of us and to expel it quickly if we may with even mineral remedies. But for all that we have no quarrel with mental healing at all, but leave each one to his or her own judgment.[10]

About this, Annie Besant said:

Whether it is wise or not to cure [a disease] by mental effort depends very largely on the knowledge of the person. There are some forms of illness which are generated in the mental and astral bodies. It is possible to throw such a disease back into the astral body by mental means, and then harm is done rather than good. It is also possible to drive it out. Hence it is very desriable that the person using mental force in these things should, if possible, be clairvoyant and know exactly what he is doing. . . . The safest method of all is by not applying the thought to the body itself not to the pain but to the realization of the self in the patient; and so by trying to increase the realization of the self, which is always perfect health, cause an inward action from the self outward, and that can never do any possible harm. But where the mind runs on the body it is very likely to cause mischief.[11]

She also added:

The moment you become what we call "occultists" you have no right to use any power you possess for your own cure. You may use it for your neighbor but not yourself.[12]

Energy healing

Master K.H. wrote:

To heal diseases it is not indispensable, however desirable, that the psychopathist should be absolutely pure; there are many in Europe and elsewhere who are not. If the healing be done under the impulse of perfect benevolence, unmixed with any latent selfishness, the philanthropist sets up a current which runs like a fine thrill through the sixth condition of matter...[13]

Mesmerism

Mesmerism is a technique based on Franz Mesmer's discovery of the "animal magnetism" and its use. In Mesmer’s view, illness has to do with blockages in the natural flow of this universal vital energy throughout the human body. Harmony can be restored by various techniques and some of them are employed even today by practitioners of energetic techniques. One of them is the laying on of hands on specific points called "poles", while another was the making of passes over the patient’s body.

Mesmerism can be used to hypnotize the individual with a number of aims. This practice, however, has been traditionally denounced as dangerous and undesirable in the Theosophical literature. Although opposing to the latter, C. W. Leadbeater admitted that the healing aspect of the technique can be beneficial:

Curative mesmerism, (in which, without putting the patient into the trance state at all, an effort is made to relieve his pain, to remove his disease, or to pour vitality into him by magnetic passes) stands on an entirely different footing; and if the mesmerizer, even though quite untrained, is himself in good health and animated by pure intentions, no harm is likely to be done to the subject.[14]

See also Mesmerism, Henry Steel Olcott and Mahatma Letter No. 80.

Therapeutic Touch

Therapeutic Touch is a contemporary healing modality drawn from ancient practices and developed by Dora Kunz and Dolores Krieger. The practice is based on the assumptions that human beings are complex fields of energy, and that the ability to enhance healing in another is a natural potential.
Therapeutic Touch (TT) is used to balance and promote the flow of human energy. It is taught in colleges around the world and has a substantial base of formal and clinical research. This research has shown that TT is useful in reducing pain, improving wound healing, aiding relaxation, and easing the dying process. It can be learned by anyone with a sincere interest and motivation towards helping others.[15]

Self-Healing

An Adept who is sick has no right to use his magnetic force to lessen his personal suffering as long as there is, to his knowledge, a single creature that suffers and whose physical or mental pain he can lessen, if not heal. It is so to speak the exaltation of the suffering of one’s self, for the benefit of the health and happiness of others.[16]

Online resources

Articles

Books

Audios

Notes

  1. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. XII (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1980), 155.
  2. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. XII (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1988), 155.
  3. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 88 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 274.
  4. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. X (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1988), 38.
  5. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. X (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1988), 39-40.
  6. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. X (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1988), 37-38.
  7. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. X (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1988), 41.
  8. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. XII (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1988), 155.
  9. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. X (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1988), 40.
  10. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. X (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1988), 287-288.
  11. Annie Besant, Theosophical Lectures, (Chicago: The Rajput Press, 1907), 135.
  12. Annie Besant, Theosophical Lectures, (Chicago: The Rajput Press, 1907), 135.
  13. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 111 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 375.
  14. Charles Webster Leadbeater, Clairvoyance, (Adyar, Madras: The Theosophical Publishing House, 1987), ???.
  15. What is Therapeutic Touch? at Therapeutictouch.org
  16. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. VIII (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1990), 81.