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  • Bruce Johnston

What Heals?

This is an important question. Energetic/holistic/spiritual healing practices and methods do not heal in the same fashion that Western medicine approaches the subject. In a profound way the difference in the two methodologies is reflected in the difference between the mind (or hetabrain, in the words of Philip Shepherd) and the heart. The mind/hetabrain solves problems by manipulation of circumstances and events to better suit its preferences or desires. The heart, or logosmind (again stealing a word from Mr. Shepherd) solves problems very differently, usually by reframing a situation so that it is no longer a problem, or relating to a situation in a different way. The heart’s way embraces transformation. The hetabrain’s way resists it at nearly all costs.

I do not know that one approach is better than the other. I would not heal a broken arm solely through holistic practices. I would put that arm in a sling like any sensible person. If I had appendicitis I would likely go to the hospital, even though I suspect holistic healing could help the situation as well. Western medicine is very, very good at the warding off of threats to health, as the hetabrain is very skilled at building defenses and guarding against danger.


All the same, western-style medicine, through its focus on disease, provides almost no template for well-being. It knows what sickness looks like, but health, not so much. I would say that holistic or energy healing strives for well-being on all levels while maintaining the ability to recognize imbalance and correct it, rather than the power to cure every dis-ease under the Sun. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is our motto in this realm.



I certainly never disregard the many great insights of western medicine - its understanding of the body’s mechanical and biological functioning, its discoveries of cells and blood types and microorganisms (though other traditions have also claimed discovery of at least the last), and all the rest. I have little patience for purity; as an American I live in perhaps the least-pure country on Earth, one of a huge variety of peoples and cultures. I simply use what is useful, no more and no less.


So, what heals? I would say that most anything done with a healing intention does so on some level. I don’t know that I want to speak any more precisely than that.


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