The Meaning of Healing

Healing & Meditation

Somadevi on the power of healing, curing, the source of ills, and loving oneself.

I would like to explore with you the meaning of the word ‘healing’. For most people it probably means recovering from an illness. I prefer to use the word ‘curing’ instead of ‘healing’ for that specific meaning.

People use the word ‘healing’ more and more frequently these days. Many join organizations, which embrace causes dedicated to healing diseases like cancer, aids or TB, healing domestic violence, the violence between countries, racial or religious groups; causes dedicated to saving the planet, the environment, endangered species…The list is endless. People come together to look for local or global solutions for the world’s seemingly intractable problems and suffering. Their work is invaluable and the incredible stories of a few individuals doing some good in the face of amazing odds is a great example of the power of the spirit of healing.

spreading the love by visual alchemy

But very few start by looking within to recognize the source of all the ills. When we look outside, we can fix things temporarily but healing needs to start with our selves. Deep within, everyone wants what’s good and right; so why do we go so wrong and astray? All the values we are taught as children seem to vanish so easily when we are confronted with difficult situations. Besides, children learn, not from what they are told, but from the examples they see around them. They learn from a tender age, that violence, lies and deceit are what get you ahead, not peace, truth and honesty. Politicians and all kinds of famous or infamous people make the headlines in the media, not people who advocate peace and love. The satisfaction of our senses and cravings seem to be what drives the world.

When I talk about healing, it does not mean that the body will not be dealing with diseases or be in pain and won’t eventually pass away. And even if we give the body the best care possible, its nature is to come and go. We are all born with a certain genetic make-up, which makes us susceptible to specific diseases. In the course of a lifetime, we will be exposed to all kinds of stressors, ranging from the weather, to deep emotional wounds.

The feeling that I am a small, finite, insignificant and separate entity brings the fear of death and annihilation and is the root cause of all fears and of all suffering.

To see what is essentially one and the same in all of us opens the heart. When the heart is open, we know our oneness with the universe and greed and fear drop away and so does the cutthroat competition amongst each other. We can come together when we focus on our similarities. The heart sees no difference between the essential nature of a beggar and the greatest emperor.

But the mind always defines and divides. By focusing on our differences, it makes us discriminate against each other and pulls us apart.

When we can see the bigger picture, everything is fine as it is, in spite of the apparent ups and downs of life. When we know that waves are only water, we can weather the most raging storms.

Healing is about
drastically expanding
our perception of the universe
from our usual selfish,
ego-centered and
narrow-minded standpoints.

Our bodies are born, grow, flourish for a while, start declining and finally return to the same source they came from. Everything in nature follows these cycles, from a blade of grass to the most distant galaxy. All bodies are forever recycled in the big cosmic universal play.

The tree is not afraid to lose all its foliage in the winter because spring comes again. All bodies must die so that new bodies can come forth and this cycle never ends. Names and forms keep changing but life is eternal. When we identify solely with our name and form and get attached to this identity, we suffer. When we let go of the personal and embrace our universal identity, we belong everywhere. This whole universe is our home.

To be a healthy human being does not necessarily mean that the body is not dealing with any illnesses. When the body is sick, we simply need to go see a doctor, take some medicines or maybe change some things in our lifestyle and habits. Health is a state of being, inclusive of the body and its inevitable breakdowns.

Of course we do not need to have a life threatening illness in order to begin the process of healing. Let us not confuse to be cured and to heal. A cure happens at the physical level. Healing reconnects us to the spirit where most illnesses start and find their way down to the physical body.

Embracing the spirit does not mean leading a life of asceticism and denying the pleasure of the senses. But when we love who we are, the way nature has made us, and what it has given us, desires drop away. When desires lessen, we can appreciate both what life gives us and what life takes away.

Healing in this context means to go back home. I call home our natural self: I am at home in my being because I am at home in the universe; I am at home in the universe because I know that I am not a separate entity at the whim of life’s vicissitudes.

One can experience spaciousness and peace of mind instead of tension and resistance when the body is dealing with an illness. Illnesses are like clouds in a blue sky. Even during the fiercest storm, they do not affect the blueness of the sky. They may just obscure it for a while.

In the common language, illnesses are seen as enemies that one needs to fight and struggle against. “She has lost her fight against cancer,” is a typical sentence used in eulogy. If death is the loss of a battle, then we are all losers.

When we finally discover who we are and the stuff we are really made of, beyond body and mind, beyond names and forms, then and only then, can struggle come to an end…It all starts with a look at who am I.

Our perception may change forever if we get even one glimpse of that underlying, all pervading reality. We discover that happiness is already here in abundance.

Paradoxically, when this realization is upon us, we can take better care of our bodies than we used to, because we begin to simply accept what is, rather than how we would like it to be. It brings tremendous relaxation to stop the constant struggle towards becoming the image of who we would like to be. Let’s give the body more rest, then less chemicals, stimulants and all kinds of artificial means will be needed to keep it going.

When we put the terms spirit and healing together we may think of ‘spiritual healing’, such as laying on of hands, faith healers, psychic abilities or all kinds of esoteric practices. While there is nothing wrong with this type of healing, it’s not what I mean here.

I’m talking about health as another word for wholeness and naturalness. To be whole means that body and spirit work together. I will even go further and say that they are not two complementary aspects of our beings but they are one and the same. The body is the visible manifestation of the spirit. The spirit is the invisible manifestation of the body. Without spirit, the body is dead. Without body, the spirit cannot express itself. Healing always happens at the level of the spirit and trickles down to the body, not the other way around. Just building strong, fit bodies doesn’t necessarily lead to healing. While it may help to cope with stress, create a better self-image and boost our self-confidence, it cannot bring peace, love and happiness.

In the last century, science has made amazing breakthroughs at naming and mapping out all the different anatomical and physiological systems of our body. But even as we discover the different centers in the brain for pleasure, joy or even ecstasy, we haven’t been able to touch the source where it all comes from. That source will always be beyond measurements and any scientific experiments, however sophisticated. That source is the spirit I’m talking about. Although it is ever present, we can feel it only when our senses turn inwards towards the depth of our hearts.

Another word, which can be substituted for the word spirit, is Love. Love is another word, which has been so misused. When Love is associated with Spirit, it has nothing to do with relationships with others, because Love sees no ‘others’. Love sees the whole world as ‘myself’. The bible says: “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” Before we can love our neighbor, we need to love our own self. How can we give something that we don’t have in the first place?

Loving oneself is not selfish because love can never be a possession. True love can only be received and given freely. When we love our self, this love simply radiates out through our being. Whatever we do will be permeated with love; whoever we meet, will feel and be touched by this love. Love is the fragrance of oneness and wholeness. Love is the only thing that can heal. The biggest enemy of love is not hate, its opposite, but fear. Fear resides in the unconscious and our animal nature. Only love can illumine the darkest corners of our soul with joy and consciousness. When love shines in our heart, we’ll keep smiling even through the most painful illness.

Somadevi, Osho News – Soma will be running the workshop ‘Self Discovery through the Tao‘ in Dharamsala, India (28 Nov-2 Dec 2013)

Artwork by Bill Brouard from Visual Alchemy © Copyright 2013 –


Soma GlickSoma grew up in Paris and spent her teenage years in Madagascar. Back in France she studied Art and Literature in Bordeaux. In 1977 she took sannyas and remained in Osho’s communes until the end of the Ranch (kitchen and cleaning departments). In 1990 she joined a 3-year Master degree programme in acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. After living in Boulder, she moved to Bali, where she offered free acupuncture treatments to women and children at the Bumi Sehat birthing center in Ubud. For many years she travelled the world, teaching an intensive residential course for licensed acupuncturists on Oriental Medical Pediatrics and Obstetrics. In May 2013 Soma returned to Boulder where she works as a professor at the Southwest acupuncture College and reopened her private practice.

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