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Inspirational Article


The Essence of Self-Healing

by Swami Kriyananda
Excerpts of talks given at Ananda Assisi, 1987

Article Index



Paramhansa Yogananda taught that there must be a two-way exchange of energy between the doctor or healer, and the patient, for true healing to take place. We must be more than just passive recipients of energy, but should dynamically engage our own will and magnetism to draw the healing we need.

This emphasis on energy represents a shift in thinking from a model of the universe based on fixed, insensate matter toward one based on fluid, conscious awareness. The more we recognize that energy is the essence of all that we see and experience through our senses, the more we come to depend on that energy and understand how to work with it.

The subtle causes of illness

As we go back and try to perceive what is behind each outward, physical manifestation, we can see that there is a subtler reality responsible for that manifestation. God created the universe first as thought, then He projected that thought out as energy, and finally He condensed that energy into matter, or the physical world. The more we are in touch with the unseen cause of the outward form, the more power we have to work with the energy which created it and to effect changes in it.

This is extremely relevant to our understanding of the field of self-healing. The more we can tune in to the subtle realities of thought patterns and energy that produce illness, the more we can change those patterns at their source.

Generating the right energy

The future of healing lies in knowing how to introduce energy into the body and to work with it in such a way as to destroy disease and bring about lasting health. Energy, in fact, has always been the cause of radiant well-being. Merely eating the right foods won't necessarily give you good health, but right attitude and the energy it generates can.

An attitude of joy is perhaps the best healer of all. Norman Cousins, the well-known writer, was able to cure himself completely of what had been diagnosed as a terminal illness by deliberately laughing for many hours every day.

Energy has been the cause of seemingly miraculous cures. Yogananda said, "The greater the will, the greater the flow of energy." This is the basis of our Energization Exercises. But we also need to understand that healing requires more than just generating lots of will and energy. We must learn how to use that energy sensitively in cooperation with a higher power.

Learn to work with God

I've found in working with healing energy, it's more effective to hold the thought, "I want to work with God, not just for God." Of course, it's good to do things for God, but when you're doing them in cooperation with Him, the flow of energy becomes subtly but very tangibly different. Then amazing things seem to happen effortlessly in a harmonious flow.

A few years ago I had been working very hard, and my heart started to feel very tired and strained. I began sending energy there but with the added thought, "God, let's do this together."

With that approach came the understanding of using energy in a different way—not just with determined will power, but with a consciousness of a flow of health and happiness to that body part. My heart immediately began to respond and quickly returned to feeling well. By working with God, our will works with the energy rather than driving it, and we find we can do a great deal to heal our bodies.

Certainly there are times when it's necessary for us to consult a doctor, but we don't constantly need to be running off for medical attention. Once Master said, "Every time I turn my back, I find people here starting to go to doctors all the time. But if they have faith in God and in the divine flow, everything will work much better."

A new approach to healing

There are many indications that, in a hundred years from now, our understanding of how the world operates will change dramatically. Every development in modern science is moving away from a focus on outward physical forms into an awareness that the universe is really a flow of energy.

Healing in the future will be a fusion of new medical knowledge with spiritual insights about the effects of energy and consciousness upon the body. When these two disciplines converge on a single point, a whole new approach to healing will emerge that reflects the fact that our bodies are essentially composed of energy. By working with new forms of energy, and being in tune with a higher source, we can accomplish things that pills could never do.

I'd like to share a story about a healing experience that I had which doesn't involve the deliberate sending of energy on my part, but rather being in tune with a higher consciousness. Some years ago I had an extraordinarily painful attack of kidney stones. I've never experienced anything like it—the pain was so intense that every muscle in my body was quivering like a leaf, and I couldn't speak.

A friend was helping me and was urging me to go to the hospital, but the thought of driving over our bumpy roads was totally out of the question. Two hours passed, and the pain was getting worse and worse. I don't like to pray for myself, so I just hung in there. I can't say I grinned and bore it, but I bore it.

Then I looked at my watch—it was Sunday morning, and I was supposed to give the Sunday service in fifteen minutes. Feeling desperate at this point, I prayed, "God, I'm totally incapable of giving the service in this condition, so if you want me to give it, please take this pain away."

It was quite amazing but within the length of time it took me to say that prayer, the pain vanished and was replaced by intense joy. It wasn't just the emotional joy of relief, but rather the feeling of God's presence. In fact, during the Sunday service I was so overwhelmed with joy that I could hardly speak anyway.

What is true healing?

This healing wasn't brought about by sending energy to the kidney, but by offering the illness up to God and letting Him do it. It can happen in either way, but the important thing to understand is that if we do it together with God, the possibilities are unlimited. If we send that energy with His grace, if we ask Him to heal us, and if we understand that all true healing should be according to His will and not our own, then all this can become a means for our spiritual growth.

We can think of disease as a natural process of the psyche in its effort to cure itself of sin, delusion, or various kinds of error. Therefore in self-healing it's important for you not to send energy only according to your own desires, but to try to feel what is God's will in the matter.

Ultimately what's important isn't the healing of your body, but the spiritual growth of your soul. If you grow in the consciousness of God, when this body goes, you'll keep on growing. But if you've only focused on physical health, you'll have created a beautiful mausoleum—a white sepulchre, as Jesus called it.

Change your attitudes

Transformation of consciousness is the essence of self-healing. Learn to change your attitudes, because in the last analysis, wrong attitudes are always responsible for anything that goes wrong with you. Even accidents that occur are caused by something in your consciousness that attracts them.

Finally, remember that regardless of health or disease, you should strive to be a part of that divine flow and be united in your consciousness with God. Saints, too, sometimes have to deal with illnesses—maybe they're taking other people's karma, maybe they're working out their own—it doesn't matter. But remember we go through what we need to in order to achieve the highest healing of all—the healing of our ignorance of who we really are: children of God.