Tim Boyd – USA, India
International President Tim Boyd, always profoud and on the move ...
I would like to turn our attention to the important subject of Healing. Even though it is not greatly stressed within our Theosophical teachings, it is both a fundamental reason for the founding of the Theosophical Society (TS) and an unavoidable consequence of a serious engagement with those teachings. It is also worthwhile to note that members of the TS have been in the forefront of healing work since the Society’s beginnings.
What is healing? If we examine the actual meaning of the word, it is not about specific practices or the methods employed in different healing communities. Its root meaning is to make whole. Its focus is the restoration of wholeness from a condition of fragmentation. But what does that mean? As a human being I have hands, legs, eyes, a brain, and so on; how can I not be whole?
The Ageless Wisdom tradition, which Theosophy represents, views the human being in terms of seven interpenetrating planes of consciousness, from highest spirit to lowest matter, with the most refined reaches of Spirit and the densest aspects of Matter being beyond the range of perception. But how is it that within this view of the human being, we can speak of ourselves as being somehow incomplete, fragmented? Our fragmentation results from our singular involvement with the most obvious and easily perceived aspects of our being. The theosophical work is directed toward Truth, or Spirit. However, the real work that we find ourselves doing is always related to the personality — the body, the emotions, and the mind in its lower uses. Truth or Spirit do not require our intervention, the personality does.
This path that we pursue is directed to the refinement and sensitizing of the instrument of personality, which is simultaneously our greatest tool and greatest obstacle to wholeness. The obstructive dominance of the personality, or ego, is where our work lies. In our normal functioning the seven interpenetrating planes of being are unequally active. A better way of saying this might be that they are not integrated in their activity. Our major focus from moment to moment is on the personal aspect — servicing the senses, emotions, and thoughts which continually demand our attention. Our fascination and attachment to all things personal prevent us from seeing something deeper, and sustains our fragmented condition.
Much of the human predicament results from a process of identification. Beginning at birth, when a soul first inhabits a body, we start forming a variety of identities. The first is body identification and gender — “It’s a boy/a girl”. Following on this we take on religions, nationalities, race, caste, and so forth. Each of these becomes inextricably woven into the fabric of the personality. Together they become “who I am”, a separate, individual self apart from all others. We claim these identities, then spend a lifetime enlarging them, clinging to them, and cultivating a host of desires based on them. In that process we remove ourselves from a broader possibility. This is the process of fragmentation which separates us from the central truth of our being that all is One.
H. P. Blavatsky (HPB) made a profound observation about this process: “Whatever plane our consciousness may be acting in, both we and the things belonging to that plane are, for the time being, the only realities.” So when we are fixated on anything — that becomes our reality. Whether it is the pain we are feeling, our happiness, our social standing, or the video on our cell phone, for the duration of our fixation that is what we see and experience as real. Consciousness is the key in all of this.
So what does this mean in terms of Healing, or a restoration of wholeness? An answer to this question might begin with an assessment of the thoughts that fill our minds throughout the day. A brief check of the normal thoughts that occupy our attention and fill our conversations might be revealing. For many people who are consumers of daily news broadcasts, normally certain fears arise. The recent cycle of reporting has raised fears of economic inflation and shortages. There is also anxiety in the air around war and armed conflict. Add in the usual reports of local violence, and for many the concern of personal vulnerability arises. Health concerns, interpersonal relationships, income, food, work-life, household needs, and so on, also fix our attention.
Using Brain Imaging Scanning, laboratory experiments have calculated the number of thoughts that arise in our minds in a day. It is a surprising number — at approximately 6.5 per minute, we have 6,000-plus thoughts per day! The chief characteristic of this host of thoughts is a focus on the self, the personality — its fears, desires, and needs. Until this cyclic channeling of consciousness is seen and redirected, there is no possibility for release.
There are many maladies that arise from this isolating focus on the self. The effects of prolonged physical and social isolation are well known — depression, increased risk of heart disease, dementia, suicide, stroke, and anxiety. These can be regarded as symptoms of a deeper condition requiring more than a correction in the physical body. At its deepest level, healing is the restoration of the sense of connection to an unfragmented Self, a Universal Consciousness. It is not merely about the correction of physical conditions. However, it is possible for the body’s vibrancy and longevity to be extended.
Even though I came from a family where almost all of my uncles were doctors, as a youth somehow I never made the connection between medicine and healing. My first real exposure to an energetic form of healing occurred as a teenager, while visiting with a gentleman who would become a profound mentor for me. He was a member of the TS, and highly regarded, particularly among many of the younger people in the Chicago area. They called him “the Old Man”.
During the visit another young man who had come with us was suffering from a severe headache. After talking with us for a short time the Old Man turned to him and said: “Al, it looks like you’re not feeling well, what’s going on?” When Al told him about the headache the Old Man called on two of his students, and said: “Please, guys, would you take Al’s headache?” They put a chair in the middle of the floor for Al to sit, one stood in front and one stood behind. They rubbed their hands together and without touching him, held their hands on each side of Al’s head. They stood like that for maybe a minute. When they finished, they shook their hands like they were shaking off water, went back to their seats, and sat down. For all appearances, I had seen nothing, I saw two people stand up, and I saw them sit down. But clearly Al was relieved.
That was my first exposure. I spent 13 years living in a community that we created with the Old Man. Over the years I saw many healings take place and came to know some profound healers. With time it became clear that healing is a natural ability that can be cultivated in anyone.
In TS history Col. Olcott is the most pronounced example of healing work. After coming to India he spent three years working in what was then called Ceylon — now Sri Lanka. The focus of his work was to revive Buddhism. In the face of the orchestrated attempts of the British colonial forces and the Catholic Church, Buddhism, the traditional religion of the nation, had come under attack and its influence was in decline. At one point the Christian missionaries announced they had discovered a well of water that would heal people. However, conveniently, it would only heal them in the name of Jesus. On hearing this Olcott went to the Buddhist monks and told them they could not allow these missionaries to lay their religious claim to the field of healing. He told them: “You have to do some healing.” When they all declined, Olcott’s response was: “Fine, then I will do it myself.”
In his youth he had some exposure to the practice of mesmerism (projection of etheric or vital energy). Even though he had never formally practiced, in Ceylon he began by working on a person who had a paralyzed arm. After the first treatment the person came back the next day and said he experienced great relief. Olcott said that the positive report buoyed his confidence. He continued the process the next day, with the result that the paralyzed arm became completely usable; and word spread.
Over the course of the next three years, anywhere Olcott went there were crowds demanding healing. Olcott was a man who kept records of everything. During those three years, he documented 7,000 cases of people whose conditions were ameliorated, or even completely reversed, including such things as paralysis, blindness, and all levels of pain.
Olcott spoke about the two methods that he employed in his healing. The first was that he would invoke the presence of his Master. He said that the greatest healings he did were the result of this method. In one case, while working on a blind man, this man described in great detail a figure that he saw standing in front of him. His description matched the features of Olcott’s Master. In that case the blindness was cured. The other method that he employed involved the accumulation and projection of energy by a process of will. This was the method of Anton Mesmer. Ultimately he discontinued his healing work because of its all-consuming demands on his time and energy.
Another prominent member of the TS who did lasting work in the field of energetic healing was Dora Kunz. For a number of years she served as President of the TS in America. She was born and grew up in the Dutch East Indies. From early childhood she had profound clairvoyant ability. Later in life she did a great deal of work in the medical community, describing and diagnosing illness based on what she could see in the aura of the patient. One of the doctors who worked with Dora over a period of years, Shafica Karagula, wrote a couple of books based on the experience: Breakthrough to Creativity, and The Chakras and Human Energy Fields.
Dora’s clairvoyant investigations of the human aura brought her into contact with healers. At one point there were a number of highly regarded healers who consented to work with her. Because of her ability to see energy fields she could see the changes in the health aura of the patients. She could also see the energetic activity taking place with the healer. In speaking with the healers she would ask them if they believed that healing was something that could be taught. Their almost unanimous answer was “No”. Their general feeling was that the ability to heal was a gift from God, and if it had not been given to you, you cannot have it. But Dora did not accept that idea based on her own observations.
The more she observed and worked with the healers, the more she became convinced that, even though there were variations in the methods and capacities of individual healers, there were fundamental shared features of the healing process with all the healers she observed. She began holding regular invitational healing workshops for doctors, nurses, and healing professionals at the Pumpkin Hollow Farm, a TS camp in upstate New York. Later, additional sessions were added at the also Theosophical Indralaya Camp, in the state of Washington. At one of these sessions Dora met Dr Dolores Krieger, a professor of Nursing at New York University. Together they evolved the system of healing they titled Therapeutic Touch. Based on the results of the scientific testing performed on patients, training in the method entered the curriculum of the University. Later it spread to other universities in Europe as well. Around the world, more than 100,000 nurses have been trained in this method.
The first step in Dora’s method of healing is what she called “centering”. We pull ourselves away from our habitual condition of consciousness, of jumping from thought to thought. We become quiet. In that process of quieting, our own energies start to harmonize. This is the common experience of anyone who sits for meditation on a regular basis. Following from that centering, we cultivate the intention to heal. Healing is in no way a personal matter. The energies involved are not the property of anyone. Our intention to act as a conduit for the flow of healing energy makes us available to that flow. The remainder of the Therapeutic Touch process initially involves a use of the hands to sense and transmit the energies. With time and exposure one’s sensitivity and effectiveness increase.
A deepening awareness that we are not separate from one another opens us to dormant powers within. One outcome of this is that people begin to seek out the presence of such a person. Why? Because without saying a word, in their presence others experience a sense of safety, of peace, the possibility to feel centered, calm, whole. Such a person becomes a radiant center that breathes the possibility of wholeness. In other words, one becomes a healer. This is a matter of choice and practice, not divine dispensation.
Am I a healer? That is really something that is up to us. Do we choose to maintain the fragmented state of continuous struggle for a separate identity? Or do we opt for another possibility? Our daily chores and relationships will always be there, but how we see and interact with them can transform them in a way that creates a condition of wholeness in our families, with our friends, and in our relationships.
The belief to which we cling, that we are each independent entities, separate from one another and from all other things, is disproved in this process of healing. At its root, healing is a spiritual practice because it confirms our unity. It confirms that the energies flowing through you also flow through me, and that we have the capacity to interact with these connecting energies.
This article was also published in The Theosophist VOL. 144 NO. 2 NOVEMBER 2022
The Theosophist is the official organ of the International President, founded by H. P. Blavatsky on 1 Oct. 1879.
To read the NOVEMBER, 2022 issue click HERE