December 28, 2013

I’m a Healer, Not a Saint.

Warning: naughty language ahead! 

It’s a peculiar job to work with people’s problems.

Often solutions are quite easy and simple, requiring that they “start” to change. When you “start to change,” you change! Yet, it is important to invite these concepts into a person’s mind slowly and gently, so they can accept and integrate them at their own pace.

Words woven together can magically transform a person’s story until before you know it, seeds have been planted for the very transformation of their life.

I’ve had so many different experiences. Every person is a whole universe. And every person is unique.
I am always learning new things. I have challenges too, like we all do. My work is my greatest teacher. Compassion also means tough love, when the moment requires it.

Recently I was quite disarmed by a woman who attacked me over trying to kill a mosquito whilst she was talking in a treatment. To me, it seemed a small thing. To her, it was a big thing (or she made out like it was). From such experiences I learn the power of a person’s world view, what they choose to experience about themselves and their projections (and mirrors).

So the truth was that her vulnerability caused her discomfort, and my seeming indifference to her feelings was what initiated a lot of anger. It was her vulnerability that fuelled the anger.

Really, the moment was perfect. She was stuck endlessly in the same old story that she kept telling herself, far removed from “reality,” and far disassociated from being empowered.

Empowerment comes when we realise that we are the storytellers.

What was required was a shift in state, a slight “shock” to change the momentum of conversation. From another angle, what seemed insensitive to her, was actually the most sensitive and intricate event that the universe could have conspired to create.

I care deeply about the people I work with. I also know that caring too much has its drawbacks. Too much compassion can make a person too comfortable. This particular person needed a lot of tough love, and she really needed someone to look her in the eyes and say “shut the fuck up” and stop indulging in your story.

What a gift she gave me then—

Her attack was sharp and angry. My response was polite of course! How far should I go?

I am a healer, not a saint!

Some of my other experiences delve into uncomfortable and often murky waters: sexuality.

The healer’s code means he must respect the healing without crossing boundaries or borders into sexuality. How a person “does” their sexuality and owns their sexuality is how they “do” their life. The story they tell themselves about sex, is the same story they tell about their lives. Sex is deeply personal as well as deeply symbolic and narrative.

When you invite a person to be vulnerable, often they open themselves up to you in a way that they would a sexual partner. Thus as a healer, boundaries must always be clear, and one must respect the healing process enough to dignify it.

Of course we know in the therapeutic process, it’s common for a person to “fall in love” with their therapist. We call this “transference.”

Professional ethics aside, it is important to manage these feelings in a respectful way where wounds can be healed and looked at in a new way. Traumas and emotional Saṅkhāra (sanskrit: conditioning of the mind denoting cravings and addictions) are all wrapped up in the unconscious mind where love and sex are projected into the realm of one’s emotional center.

This dance of creativity is all about needs and feelings of the person undergoing the healing. I am human too, yet my neutrality is an essential component in exploring the often messy and entangled fabric from which a personality is birthed.

As long as I retain a professional distance, these feelings can be worked out in a compassionate way over time.

I never want to pretend I am not human, that I don’t ever have my own problems, my own challenges, my own sexual desires; yet if I am the practitioner, I cannot indulge in my own catharsis. The essential aspect is that I don’t act out my feelings; that I act with responsibility and self-restraint.

Why do I share this?

Unfortunately, there are some men who “prey” on women via offering tantric or “sexual healing.” This taints the sacred aspects of both sexuality and of healing.

It is an abuse of power.

I cannot condone the crossing of inappropriate boundaries. I also think it’s important to have this conversation. We need to understand what we are providing (particularly as men) and respect the healing boundary.

Unfortunately, abuse of this type tends to morph into further abuse and trauma by the legal system and society at large. The rationalisations that attempt to justify inexcusable behavior also damages the sanctity of healing.

What I ask for and expect is holding those abusers accountable for their actions.

The shadows of trauma, and wounds are inflicted on someone placed in a vulnerable position. Whilst I’m not speaking here as an expert, I feel that any “therapist” who claims to be involved in healing, and then carries out a penetrative sexual act in the context of healing, has become an abuser. As a man, I believe the lines between practitioner and patient are intractable.

Why is this important to me?

My goal as a practitioner is for my client to go within and discover their deepest truths, undergo a redefining and recalibration process, and then birth a personality that is “chosen” rather than being the victim of experiences. This is a sacred calling.

I believe everybody has a pure soul, a true essence, which is love. All the dramas and attachments are an illusion, taken most seriously by the “ego.” I like to tell people, the ego is dead!

My perception of the world is an extension of my belief system. It is not true reality, although it may feel like my reality.

Some so strongly identify with their perceptions, that they are not willing to entertain the idea of being the storyteller. They prefer to stay in “victim” mode.

Transformation requires choosing, it requires a willingness to be vulnerable, and a willingness to focus on the goal.

My desire to do this work is sourced in my own personal journey. I honor all those who have chosen to work with me in revealing and opening themselves to something greater.


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Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Alex Lytle/Pixoto

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