At an event recently, I along with other participants, was asked to focus on healing on specific parts of the world where healing would be particularly beneficial. In the wonderfully diverse group, I was in, it was interesting to see different people’s reactions and approaches to this activity. While undoubtedly everyone shared the extremely positive intention of wanting to provide healing, I was curious about the differences in people’s starting points and reactions to this activity.
One thing that I found particularly noteworthy was the differences in people’s reactions to the current situation of the thing or situation that they considered needed healing. In a few cases, people looked distinctly upset from thinking about an aspect of the world that they thought needed healing and reported on how it was such a bad situation and how terrible things were and how bad it made them feel. One person believed that to provide any focus on a situation that was not desirable was not useful as it would give it more ‘negative’ energy and reinforce it more to be as it was so they were reluctant to think about it.
This made me reflect on the kalakupua approach – that of the Huna adventurer, in relation to this situation and what it takes to be most effective in this activity. I offer some of my own reflections here:
My belief is that the best intentional healing is accomplished when the healer works from a place of empowerment, connection, and love.
Awareness: A Starting Point
In order to make a change, it certainly helps to be aware of how things are presently. Awareness is an important starting point. Focussing on the current situation does not mean that you are condoning it, feeding it or contributing to maintaining it in some way. To be effective, one could choose to accept the current situation as it is and combine this with the strong expectation that things can change.
Your Present Moment-A Place for Real Change
As we know, everything changes over time. However, an even more effective approach is to actively give your permission for a situation to be as it is currently. This places you in a position of extreme power and is a position from which you can then give yourself permission for things to change. It also avoids any sense of denial, avoidance or disbelief and the associated emotions of fear, anger, and sadness. It also enables you to bring the situation fully into your present moment, the only place from which you can make changes. I urge you to try it and feel the difference in your body as you do so.
Focus is important. One very practical approach to healing is that of focussing on giving energy, love, and compassion to the helpers in such situations. It helps with this kind of healing to be as specific as possible.
It is not necessary to empathise with a situation in order to bring about healing. It is certainly not useful to empathise so much that it causes you to feel terrible. Certain emotions can reduce a person’s effectiveness, and extreme empathy in such situations can be disempowering and debilitating even if well-intentioned.
Here I am mindful of the process of grokking –a form of deep identification with another person, thing or situation. An important aspect of successful grokking is to maintain the ‘1% shaman’ throughout the process. That is to become the thing you are grokking as much as possible while still being able to make changes to influence something to follow different patterns. Without doing this you can be so absorbed in the other thing or situation and lack the volition to make any changes.
Empathy is not the same as caring. It is possible to care about a situation without being absorbed with empathy for it. So to be effective is useful to question ‘how much do I need to be absorbed into empathy with this situation in order to be of assistance?’.
Of course, the judgement of whether a situation is bad or good is just that – a judgement which implies someone making a subjective judgement (also all judgments are always based on limited knowledge as in an infinite universe we can’t know everything, however, I won’t go further into the implications of this at time!).
Whilst evaluations of what is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ provide powerful initial motivations to act, continually dwelling on labelling something as ‘bad’ tends to keep you focussed on what is wrong with a situation and to some extent ‘sticks’ you to it. What is more empowering after the initial motivation is focusing on making a difference and thinking thoughts which imply movement and empowerment such as ‘let’s change this!’
Connecting without sticking
An analogy I like is that of the spider’s web – a symbol used in some shamanic cultures. This has parallels with the Eye of Kanaloa which can be interpreted as a symbol of the aka web -symbolising connections with people, places, objects and even thoughts. It is possible for a spider to be caught in its own web, but very very rarely does this happen. The spider is prepared and also knows where to tread so can remain effective in its world whilst not getting stuck in its own web. So it is with our own web of connections, we are more effective when we can connect without becoming stuck.
In addition, the notion that energy has an objective negativity or positivity is not a helpful one, energy is just energy carrying information -the rest is just our own value judgment about how we interpret the information.
So when it comes to healing, being as effective as possible is desirable. I believe that this means acting from a place of empowerment. If we consider the principle of Pono – that the means determine the end, using the most empowered and effective means for healing will produce the most empowering and effective results.
I share my thoughts as I welcome everyone who wants to help and heal the world and make it a better place. Starting from a point of empowerment enables everyone to employ their wonderfully diverse healing modalities in the most effective way.
Shamanic Healing in the Wake of Disaster
I would also like to close with reference to an excellent protocol for helping those involved in the aftermath of a natural disaster which was developed by Serge King and outlined in an article entitled ‘Shamanic Healing in the Wake of a Disaster’. I consider it worth repeating here as it can provide an effective starting point for healing and one that can easily be adapted to suit a variety of circumstances. The steps are as follows:
- It doesn’t matter where you are or what posture you are in, and you don’t have to close your eyes if you don’t want to. If I have to tell you not to close your eyes while you are driving, then you need help, too.
- Imagine a comfortable place. It could be out in Nature or in a building, it doesn’t matter as long as it’s comfortable to you.
- Ask for a symbol of all the people who were hurt in any way, physically, emotionally, mentally, or materially. Let the symbol take the form of a single natural or man-made object, a sound, or a feeling. This allows you to focus on helping many people without strain. If you want to ask someone or something specific to provide you with the symbol. go ahead. Otherwise, just trust and ask.
- When something new or different appears in your imagined comfortable place, accept that as the symbol. If the symbol needs fixing or healing, use your imagination to fix it or heal it. If the symbol looks or feels fine, do something to make it even better, or imagine filling it with strong, beautiful energy in the form of light or sound. When you are finished, silently say something like “amama,” “so be it,” or “amen.”
- Next, ask for a symbol of all those involved in helping the people who were hurt, and follow the same guidelines given above. You can do this for as many symbols for as many different things as you want, such as the animals, the plants, and the buildings, but I suggest that you do it for the hurt ones and the helpers, at least.
- When you are all finished, just say, “Mahalo,” or “Thank you,” and trust that the good powers in the universe will respond by manifesting your intentions in whatever way is possible.
- Repeat the process whenever you feel moved to, for this problem or any other that may come up.
This article first appeared on Aloha International.