Our Role in Healing

Yoga as a way we can choose to heal.

Our role in healing can include invoking our own healing energies through dreamwork and visual meditation as well a practicing healthy exercise like yoga.

Whenever we speak of healing, we usually experience it as something that comes to us as a gift given.  For some it may be a gift of nature, of the universe, or a gift of God.  It is seen as something we don’t entirely have complete control over.  Be that as it may, beyond the obvious rules of eating right and getting exercise, there are certain things we can do on a spiritual and psychological level that promote healing.

We do have a part to play in making it all happen and there are varying points of view.  At one extreme we have people who assume healing is beyond them, especially on matters that medicine can’t adequately treat and will take a fatalistic stance such as “Well, I will either get well or I will die of this disease.”

And at the other end of the spectrum we have those who take on too much responsibility, thinking that if they don’t do this and do that, they will not be healed—acting like it is entirely up to them and not the doctors, God or the healing energy from elsewhere such as the universe, another a healing person or their own healing energies!.

Acknowledging Our Blocks to Health & Following through on Good Intentions

I think there is a happy ground in the middle which takes into account that we do have responsibility for our health yet knowing there is only so much we can do.  First, we can, as a minimum, try to acknowledge when we abuse our bodies by eating junk food, over eating or not getting enough exercise.  And secondly, we can also make the intention to do what we can to improve our health such as seeing a doctor, eating right and exercising.  If we are religious, this includes praying for health or asking for prayers.  It seems like such an easy thing to say but the truth is that prayer works in many amazing ways.

Tapping into Our Own Healing Energy

Also, another important way to promote healing is by tapping into our own healing energies, especially by doing dreamwork and/or visual meditation.  After many years of working with dreams to create better health, I have learned there is something like an inner healer which is constantly at work to let us know when we are healthy and when we are need of healing, be it psychological, physical or spiritual.  This inner healer may appear in dreams as a physician, a care giver or a nurse.  Once we’ve seen this inner healer in a dream, we can ask for dreams that will include this inner healer to show us the way to healing.  This archetype can become a guide for us, acting on our behalf.  It can empower us to heal ourselves and others as we become a conduit for the energy it represents.

Through visual meditation, such as by imagining sick cells being removed and healthy ones taking their place, we can also promote energy healing at the cellular level.

Working so proactively for our health at the dream level reaches far beyond the physical to the energy level, affecting and caring for cells and the ways they communicate with each.  What a profound role we can play in our own healing!

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Dreamwork & Meditation: Experiential Practices to Access the True Self

Recording dreams regularly will provide many insights not otherwise available to the waking mind.

Recording Dreams: A Form of Dreamwork

In a Spiritual Book Club I am facilitating, the members selected a very profound and experienced-based book by John Welwood called Toward a Psychology of Awakening.  At the start, Welwood makes the point that his Christian upbringing (and it is my personal opinion, many of our Christian upbringings) did not provide experiential practice for realizing our true natures even though there was wonderful ritual and music.  As a result, Welwood, like me and many in my generation, turned to Asian religions and other sources for insight.  Even today, I personally believe this is the primary reason why serious seekers are not attracted to the mainline Christian religions: there is often too much emphasis on the organization, joining it, being a member, and contributing to it—when what people really want is an experience of the divine!

In studying Buddhism at the graduate level, I was fortunate to have mentors who were well versed not only in meditation but also in working with dreams.  For me, it was primarily through dreamwork that I first developed a spiritual methodology that gave me a deeply meaningful experiential access to the spiritual life and its healing.  Later, through meditation, I experienced the power of intuition and other states of consciousness that inform one of the wide and awesome nature of our true being.  With such experience, the scriptures, rituals and music had all the more meaning!  I could personally relate to the stories of salvation and God’s presence in our lives.  These no longer seemed like myths and fairy tales.  Religion was no longer about following the rules or joining a group but about living a rich experience-based life with fellow seekers.

I think that if Christianity is to thrive, it will have to incorporate experiential practices such as dreamwork and meditation into regular activities such as bible class and Sunday school.

One of Intuition’s Gifts

Art often comes out of chaos.“In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order.” – Carl Jung

This interesting quote inspired some thoughts this morning.  When what it is important to us ends, like life, a marriage, a meaningful job, or even dearly held hopes or dreams, the world can seem to be in chaos.  We may feel that everything is falling apart and that our connection to what is real is broken.  We feel lost and alone.  In such moments it is really important to take some time be to choose to be apart, to separate ourselves from the daily grind, and affirm that feeling of disconnection. 

Ironically, it’s often by removing ourselves to a quiet place, and sitting in meditation, releasing all thoughts and concerns about the brokenness of everything, that we may experience in the peace something of the underlying order that is supporting us at all moments.  At these times, intuition may open, giving us the gift of the supporting sea of consciousness, which eventually offers hints at new directions and possibilities—and a new emerging order despite the possibility we may go through a long time sitting with the pain of the chaos.

Meditation Classes: Heart Centering, Relaxation and Visualization for Health

Spiritual Life Program at St. Mary's, Honolulu

Grow Spiritual Seeds

Starting Classes on Meditation!

Many thanks to your generosity, we are starting our first class on Thursday, Aug. 31, 6:30 pm at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, 2062 S. King St., Honolulu, HI  96826. Topic: Heart Centering & Relaxation Meditations. The second will be the following Thursday, same time and place. Topic: Visualization Meditations for Better Health. BOTH CLASSES ARE FREE! So please come and tell others.

If you want to support more classes like these to grow spiritual seeds please visit https://www.gofundme.com/StMary-SpiritualLife or make a check to St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, send to same at 2062 S. King St., Honolulu, HI 96826 and put “Spiritual Life Program/Ministries” on the memo line. A BIG MAHALO!

Help Me Grow A Spiritual Life Program at St. Mary of Mo’ili’ili

Spiritual Life Program at St. Mary's, Honolulu

Grow Spiritual Seeds

If you like the blogs I have posted giving concrete and practical information on how dreams and intuition can be used to improve health and grow spiritually, please help me grow a Spiritual Life Program at St. Mary of Mo’ili’ili in Honolulu, Hawaii.  We are just now launching a fundraising campaign to support classes on spirituality, dreamwork, meditation and mindful exercise as well as to offer a guest speaker program and other activities-all of which serve to honor the body, mind and spirit, holistically.  Under the supervision of St. Mary’s rector, the Rev. Greg Johnson, I will manage the program and teach many of the classes as money becomes available. Perhaps there will be something of interest to you. Certainly your financial help will help us grow seeds planted by the late Rev. Nancy Conley at St. Mary’s.

To go to our GoFundMe page and find out more, please click on the link below:

https://www.gofundme.com/StMary-SpiritualLife

You may also fund the conventional way by making out a check to St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, for Spiritual Life Program/Ministries on the memo line.  Checks can be mailed to St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, 2062 South King St., Honolulu, HI  96826.

Part II, Intention, Gratitude and Faith: Recipe Ingredients for Transformation

Recipe for Transformation

Image via Pinterest.

In my previous blog, I stated that the road to spiritual transformation is essentially an inward journey that intimately connects us with our body, minds and spirits.  Intention, gratitude and faith are the ingredients that invite miraculous changes on this transformative path, changes that cannot be achieved by just following the rules or doing some other conventional practice.  Why is this so?

The reason is that these traits prepare one for the emptying of self, the total letting go, the kenosis that is ultimately required for transformation.  The emptying of self can be made in countless little decisions or in one major gesture whereby there is a willing and loving pouring out of one’s self, the using of all one’s resources and the expending of all one’s energies to undergo a transformation.  It calls to mind one of St. Paul’s statement in 2 Timothy 4:6, “I am being poured out like a libation; and my time of departure has come.” (NOAB, NRSV)  Jesus’ own life was said to be one long emptying of self for the sake of others.

Intention

Intention sets the choice of the individual and indicates in what direction all energies will be utilized and expended, if necessary.  Usually navigating the spiritual path asks a great deal of clear-sightedness, resolve and determination from the seeker.  Setting a firm intention will martial these qualities to serve the journey.

Gratitude

Gratitude has a way of opening and expanding the heart, tuning one to the frequency of higher consciousness energy.  It also has a way of making the person buoyant in the face of adversity.  It raises one up rather than pulling one down.  Gratitude can therefore raise a person above the fray, allowing for peace and well-being.  It is absolutely essential in allowing the person to “let go” with peace of mind.

Faith

Faith is the “assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”  (Hebrews 11:1, NOAB, NRSV)  It is a type of visionary knowing that instills confidence.  Without faith, one can do nothing involving risk and change.

Applying Intention, Gratitude and Faith to Our Spiritual Practices

Because intention, gratitude and faith are so important, it is very helpful when they are consciously brought into our spiritual life such as in prayers, dreamwork and meditation.  Intention sets one on the particular path.  It is very useful to intend dreams that ask for a specific piece of information or guidance.  It is good training to ask for things needed in prayer.  Faith is thereby deepened when we get answers to prayers and dream requests.  We find we have a give-and-take relationship with divinity.  Gratitude opens us to positive energies on the path because a grateful heart enriches meditation and life by connecting us to higher energies.  And believing all our requests and intentions will be heard and our gratitude appreciated opens the visionary pathway for the change that is to come.

Intention, Gratitude and Faith: Recipe Ingredients for Transformation

Recipe for Transformation

Image via Pinterest.

Many try to live a good life by following the rules and expectations of a religion, family or society.  This practice may indeed bring a “good life” in more ways than one but it is not the primarily what is called for by Jesus and other great religious leaders.  It’s not what they wanted for us.  They wanted what in Christianity was called a metanoia, a change of heart that leads to complete transformation of mind, body and soul—or as some writers call it, the Great Death.  This is not the death of the body, but the death of our former ways of looking at the world which created the negative habits and practices we previously lived by.  It entails a change of identity, a death and rebirth while alive in this body that precludes turning back.  It is transformation at the highest order which entails a great deal more than obeying rules.

Setting Oneself on the Road to Transformation

Assuming, however, that one makes the choice to move beyond following the rules to undergo the transformation, how does one do it?

A very good way to set oneself on the road to transformation is to develop a profound relationship with one’s own mind, body and spirit.  The Kingdom of Heaven is within, as they say.  Therefore, it stands to reason to look here for transformative blessings.  For many people, the Kingdom within is the last place one would look for healing and growth because of the anxiety, depression, confusion, etc. that many people feel on a daily basis.  Yet, this place of often questionable turmoil and striving is the very field of play.

Progress on this inward field can be made by working with dreams, which Freud called the the Royal Road to the Unconscious, along with regular meditation and prayer.  It helps greatly when these practices are done with:

  • great intention to heal and subsequently manifest my true self at its deepest level,
  • gratitude for the many gifts that have been given
  • a profound faith that this transformation and any attendant healing will take place

My next blog will further discussion on why intention, gratitude and faith invite miraculous changes on the transformative path, changes that cannot be achieved by just following the rules. Please click here to see Part II of this blog.

A Great Short Video on the Meaning and Necessity of Empathy

As opposed to ESP which is the ability to pick up information “out there” that is not available to the five senses (such a correctly determining what shirt a person will wear tomorrow,) intuition is based on the ability to understand what is going on with another person in a broader and deeper holistic fashion such as picking up on their emotions, viewpoint, history, experiences, etc.  Empathy is an extenuation of intuition in that because one is intuitive, one can put oneself in the shoes of the other person and “know” what that person is going through.  One can feel compassion for that person and will feel more compelled to help that person.  It is a quality that all people in the helping professions need and one we all could develop.

Our culture does a great job in teaching kids to be competitive but does little to teach empathy.  It is no wonder why there is so much behavior manifested that is based on struggling against one another rather than working together to help one another.

I highly recommend you see this short video on the meaning and necessity of empathy at this link: lifehac.kr/C2ePfNa

 

Can We Make the Term Priestess Respectable?

A prietess is a woman who helps others connect to the divine.

Image via Pinterest.

While surfing on Pinterest I saw a definition of priestess and realized that I am truly one, along with some amazing ladies I know.  It is what I have been attempting to do ever since I began teaching dreamwork and meditation years ago.  Here is the definition:

A priestess is a woman who helps others connect to the divine so that they can heal and/or actualize their soul’s path.

I have found it interesting that women priests in the Episcopal Church are called priests and not priestess.  Perhaps the term resonates with witchcraft, and the wild things beyond the control of civilized constructs such as organized religion.  For sure, the term is connected to what the Hawaiians would call mana, or power.  Such power, no matter if it is a force of nature, or a force of our own souls or the force of a divine power, is indeed outside the control of humans.  Yet, this energy is what drives real spiritual enlightenment, healing, growth and conversion.  It is what religion is truly all about.   In resurrecting the term priestess, we can perhaps also bring back, or let back in again, the sacred life-giving energy that is needed to rejuvenate a person or a congregation.

I think all great priests, men or women, truly act out their calling when they serve this sacred function of connecting people to the divine, especially in a highly personal way such as attending to the needs of a dying person, doing spiritual direction, or healing a community conflict in such a way that it brings out the best in everyone.   However, nowadays,  sadly, emphasis is usually put elsewhere so that people are first more readily to identify priests as the performers of rituals and homilies that may or may not inspire and functionaries of religious organizations, not much different from a corporate CEO.   No wonder people, so many people, have a hard time finding life in a church!

All people hunger for an experience of the sacred.  Perhaps it will take priestesses to do the job, if the priests (male and female) don’t measure up to the job.  If this is the case, organized religion perhaps can expect to see a decline in attendance.

A Source of Spiritual Insight: The Appearance of Animals in Dreams and Intuitive Insight

Jesus likening himself to a mother hen

Image via Pinterest.

The animal-human relationship has had a big influence in human psychological development. One way this can be seen is the deep attachment and communication that can happen between a pet owner and the pet. Even with animals in the wild, humans have long looked on magnificent and tiny creatures and wondered at their various gifts such as speed, flight, cunning or strength. It is no wonder that animals often appear in our dreams or intuitive insight. Perhaps we are either being given, or given insight, into that animal’s energy to meet a particular challenge of the moment. It is no wonder that ancient people worshiped animals. They wanted the particular energy associated with that animal to face the tasks ahead so they called upon the spirit of that animal to help them.

Even Jesus recognized the special energy that each animal exhibits. In Luke 13:34 he resonates with the deep caring nature of the mother hen as he compared himself to that humble bird who gathers who her brood under her wings. He could have compared himself to a grand animal of any sort like an eagle or a horse. Instead, he feels great compassion for his people and wants to protect them from the many dangers. Perhaps he is calling on this energy within himself for the tasks lying ahead for him.

Notice when an animal appears in your dreams or meditation. Ask yourself what energies you associate with that animal and then ask why you might need this energy at this time in your life. As a follow-through, try to act with the energy of that animal to meet the challenge facing you.