Spiritual healing does a body (and mind) good.
Story: Andy Roman
Thanks to recent hurricanes, two big trees in my yard toppled over. Within days, their leaves, bark, and branches showed signs of decline. Without their connection to the earth, trees get sick and die. The same is true for us people. Spiritual wellness means being connected to the source.
Things can look good on the surface—our appearance, our status, our relationships—but when we drift too far from our inner core, we get ill. Then all else erodes around us. To live out of integrity, out of touch, or out of reach inevitably adds up to a malaise that easily manifests as physical woe.
Healing our inner lives, or “spiritual healing,” is important because the body follows what is in the heart and mind. Why wait for the tree to collapse to discover the importance of being connected? Heed the warning signs before it’s too late.
At our core, we humans are peaceful, happy and artful—like a free-spirited child full of natural curiosity and joie de vivre, a French phrase meaning “joy of living.” As long as we remain aligned with our nature, everything about us shines from that inner light.
But when we disconnect from feelings, shroud ourselves in sophisticated “adult” pursuits, we easily get lost, make bad choices that serve our limited concepts of reality, and lose sight of the big picture. Uprooted from the ground of our being, we forget our origins, ignore our mortality, and unwittingly find ourselves living an inauthentic life, making huge mistakes with our lifestyle or our morals or our pursuits.
Unconsciousness leads to error and illness, and that’s why consciousness is the cure; it points to the good and healing. The truth shall set you free. Anchor that tree before the wind wrecks everything.
The process of spiritual healing starts by telling the truth. There are three levels of truth: the facts, how I feel about the facts, and where I stand in relation to the facts. Expressing the truth, especially at the feeling and relational levels, brings us closer to a reality aligned with wellness.
I’m convinced that being real lies central to healing and getting well. Being true to our nature means letting go of all the tensions, blocks and false mindsets that hinder the natural state. Telling the truth at the deepest levels means confessing, reconciling, expressing remorse and forgiving.
At Hippocrates Health Institute in West Palm Beach, we see this sort of transformation in our guests over and over again as they heal their lives. And as “staff,” we know it in our own lives, too. As a spiritual community, we become intimately involved in each other’s healings as witnesses, helpers, sympathizers and friends. We create an atmosphere where authenticity is valued as the norm. People exhale at Hippocrates. And then, of course, we inhale.
After the initial discomfort, being real at deep levels feels good—the kind of good that does a body good. It’s not milk; it’s love and authenticity.
One young Hippocrates guest dealing with cancer lived a self-ingratiating, accommodating lifestyle of never complaining or standing up for herself by speaking up to her family about her real needs. After an especially emotional therapy session, she reported an instant 50 percent reduction in her physical pain! Now that’s the mind-body connection!
The corporate magnate guest had ignored his children and spouse to make his fortune. When he finally showed his remorse, wept his regret, and genuinely reached out to forge new loving connections, he reported a deep sense of relief and renewal. “I feel right in my skin now,” he said.
The supermodel who showed up at Hippocrates’ door with eating disorders and a deep-seated sense of isolation realized that, although she lived a life of bounty and ease because of her appearance, she had spent most of her years being haughty and distant to people in general, and downright mean to her boyfriends and family. With a little help from the mirroring of others, she came face to face with the inner emptiness of a life devoid of kindness and charity. “I’m ugly!” she wailed in one therapy session. And then her healing began in earnest.
Let’s talk about prayer for a moment. Years ago, I lived in a rural spiritual community in South Georgia. We tried to live biblical values. We shared our cars and lawn mowers. We helped our neighbors. We ate meals together.
One evening, a wandering Christian minstrel family stopped by in their converted Greyhound bus to do a show for us. As they played their guitars and electric piano and sang of faith and prayer, the leader with the microphone shouted out, “Is there anyone here in need of healing? ” The music was a crescendo as he made his plea, but nobody spoke up. Being the wise-guy I am, and wanting to ridicule these troubadours’ provincial simplicity, I stood up and said, “I do.”
They all focused on me, eager to heighten the fervor. I, of course, just hoped to catch them in my net of judgment and sarcasm. “I have a wart right here on my finger,” I proclaimed theatrically, holding up my digit for all to see.
But instead of feeling like fools, they didn’t skip a beat and barraged me with “Thank you, Jesus. Heal this man’s ailment. Thank you, Jesus!” It was over the top. I was embarrassed. For myself. For them.
Later, after the show, I reflected that even though their presentation seemed hokey to me, I couldn’t deny their sincerity. I felt bad about my arrogance and sarcastic tone. I went to bed feeling like an idiot.
The next morning, I woke up to find no wart. That’s right—it was gone. I believe in the power of prayer and loving intent. It’s way bigger than our ideas.
Andy’s ego: zero. Andy’s humility: one.
Spiritual healing means waking up to the big picture and being gracious about it. Lord knows we could beat ourselves up forever for all the mistakes we’ve made and pain we’ve caused. Maybe on some level, our unconsciousness deserves that. But isn’t it more refreshing to see Scrooge transformed, rather than punished for his greed?
I say ignorance is its own punishment. I say we’ve already done our time. Let’s free this bird that was made to fly, and help each other fly free, too. Let’s unleash our hearts to do what they were meant to do: focus on life without distractions or the blinders of ego, and manifest, through simple gestures in everyday life, our deepest intent to help and to heal ourselves and the world. Let’s get on with the innate kindness of life and evoke bountiful health because it’s our birthright.
Spiritual healing isn’t reserved for the saints. It isn’t like asking for special favors, but like accepting an inheritance from loving parents. It means saying yes to nature, and yes to ourselves as part of nature. It means looking life in the eye and expressing “please and thank you” from the deepest regions of the heart. It means reconnecting our roots to the source within and finally, finally receiving the goods.
About the writer →Andy Roman, a licensed mental health counselor, has served as a psychotherapist at Hippocrates Health Institute since 1990, using and teaching feeling-centered, body-focused awareness tools to help guests and health educators. He conducts private sessions with individuals, couples, and families, and facilitates the ongoing Healing Circle Therapy and support group.