Marilyn Gordon, BCH, CI
One important way of understanding illness, darkness and
suffering is to see these states as processes by which an
individual becomes a healer. Called the "wounded healer"
paradigm, it is for many a process of initiation and of
connection to a more expanded way of life. Of course, not
everyone who enters difficult times becomes awakened by
them. But for some who do, it is a process of metamorphosis.
have your own personal history with this. You go through
something very difficult. Perhaps it is a great physical
or psychological illness, such as cancer or depression.
Perhaps it is alcoholism or another addiction. It may be
a great loss of an important relationship. You may even
be called to the brink of death. And then something happens.
You may hear voices speaking to you, telling you of the
possibility of moving into another level of your life-or
you may have another way of being "called." Something moves
you into another stage of yourself, and your life changes.
Your personality and interests change. You may be led to
work with others to help uplift and heal them. You cannot
go back to the life you once led. You are operating on an
entirely new level.
A Process of Initiation
is the transformation of the "wounded healer." You may have
seen this process happen not only within you-but within
your clients as well. Often by the time your clients come
to see you, they've been hanging out in their own forms
of darkness for too long-and they're ready for you now.
They're ready for you to help them tap that voice inside
of them that is beckoning them to a new life. If you can
see their process as just that-a process in which they are
becoming initiated and transformed, you can help them to
shift their suffering into epiphanies of insight and new
ways of being.
time ago, I read a great book, which is unfortunately no
longer in print. Called Healing and Wholeness by
John A. Sanford, it discusses the rebirth of healers from
their own personal states of darkness. Sanford describes
dire illnesses of shamans in which they'd often be on the
brink of death, they'd be in touch with an inner voice telling
them that a new life was on the horizon, they'd understand
the mysteries of their particular predicament, and then
they'd awaken to a new life.
describes a woman named Dorcas who lived in an African tribe.
She became extremely ill. She said of herself, "I was so
sick! I lay in bed for three years. I could not eat or drink
or even walk. I just lay there day after day, and at night
dreams would come!...My spirit would see so many things
in the night. And then, in the morning, before the sun would
come up, my spirit would return to my body, and I would
lay in bed another day." Dorcas went to many doctors of
all kinds. Finally one doctor said to her, "You must go
to your own doctors. They can help you, and we cannot."
And then in a dream, her grandfather came to her and said,
"You are not sick. You are going to help your people. I
like you very much, and my spirit will enter your body,
and you will do my work." Dorcas kept hearing these voices
and seeing visions. One night, they told her to get up and
sing. They said, "Wake up-you must wake up and teach!" Soon
she did just that, and she let those "voices" work through
her as the voices of spiritual healing.
says that there is something of the shaman in every person,
and there is something shamanistic in every illness. If
we allow ourselves to become conscious of the meaning of
our illnesses (including our predicaments and life challenges),
we can awaken from them and go to the other side of them-into
states of healing and wholeness.
The Wise Mind
with this understanding that we can guide ourselves and
our clients through these experiences to the other sides
of whatever we may be experiencing. I often ask clients
in their sessions, "And what would your Wise Mind like to
tell you about your situation?" Clients channel their own
wisdom and find ways to awaken from their suffering. If
we just give them a pill, they never get to know the essence
of their challenges, and they may not have the opportunity
to know their experiences as opportunities for awakening.
is also why we spend time in sessions exploring the specific
difficulty. "What is it like? What is happening? Tell us
as much as you can." This is a way for people to come to
know the details and the meanings of their challenges so
that they can see them as ways to transformation.
embracing the wounded healer paradigm gives us a sense of
the truth behind our experiences. The same attitude helps
us in our view of our clients. We understand that whatever
is taking place is a necessary experience on our path. We
understand that the greatest difficulty may be the very
moment of darkness that is the springboard for ultimate
illumination. This kind of understanding goes beyond the
idea of controlling habits or getting rid of symptoms. This
way of seeing knows that healing is a process in which consciousness
is being awakened.
truly the difficulties in our lives are initiations for
a higher calling, then it becomes easier to forgive whatever
seemed to bring the difficulty upon us. It's really about
even more than forgiveness. It's about reframing the entire
experience of our challenges by seeing the perfection in
them, seeing that they are necessary steps toward transformation
you eventually come to understand is that you've been given
the opportunity to dissolve an old part of your personality,
an old way of being, and through your connection with higher
consciousness, you emerge as someone new. You learn about
the healing process, and you gain faith in the perfect way
that it's working. You gain empathy for others who are ill.
You gain the ability to go on an inner journey with them
to help them to emerge. And you gain a special inner quality
that is the mark of a transformed life.
Palmer Hall, in his book Healing: The Divine Art
(which, fortunately is available) has said, "Plato taught
by his example that man possesses within himself the power
to cure the diseases of his body, that in the end, every
man is his own priest, and every man is his own physician.
Wisdom is a universal medicine and is the only remedy for
ignorance, the great sickness of mankind. This is the doctrine
of the mystics, the doctrine which they learned in the old
temples, the doctrine which someday must be the foundation
of all enlightened therapy."
paying attention to our experiences, learning the ways of
releasing them, and understanding the art of spiritual transformation,
we can lift up all woundedness and enter the realms of light.
Read Extraordinary Healing: Transforming Your Consciousness,
Your Energy System and Your Life by Marilyn Gordon.
It's a Guidebook for Healing Yourself and Others with Transformational
Hypnotherapy and EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques). Available
at bookstores or at www.hypnotherapycenter.com.