The Healer's Mind
Whenever you are present as the Healer of yourself, you are poised to invoke the wholeness principle of Consciousness in the service of Sentience. This means that what will be happening in your conscious mind will be loving and supportive of whatever you are feeling in the moment. For instance, if there is pain, you'll focus your attention on the pain, and then find where it centers in your body. This is radically different than what our conditioned mind has had us doing automatically-either finding a way of subduing the pain or escaping it altogether.
One of the deepest and most compelling mandates of human conditioning has been: "Seek pleasure and avoid pain." This conditioning has been so pervasive that it seemed to be completely beneficial and rational. However, while seeking pleasure makes good sense, avoiding pain has turned out to very problematic.
When we avoid pain, we cut ourselves off from a loving connection with the part of ourselves that is feeling the pain.
This causes at least temporary fragmentation, and makes it impossible for us to heal the root cause of the pain. The solution is to train our minds to do something extraordinary, to turn and face the pain with loving acceptance of its existence here now, just as it is. With this loving attention, and the inner resources necessary for bringing real help to the hurting part of ourselves, true healing is finally possible.
The Healer's Tools section of the Healer's Guide has many practices and tips about how to make it much quicker and easier to bring loving acceptance to the parts of yourself that are experiencing pain. Before going there, let's do a quick experiment to explore what the Healer's mind learns to do differently than ordinary mind:
Pause for a moment after reading this sentence and feel the support of the chair under you.
As soon as you are paying attention to the sensations in your body where you are touching the chair, take a moment to curl your toes, and pause for a few seconds with them curled.
Now relax your toes and pause while you feel deeply into the sense of relaxation...
You may feel, among other possibilities, a radiating or perhaps tingling sensation. What you have just done is intentionally focus your attention on feeling sensations. This is the quintessential movement that distinguishes the Healer's mind from ordinary mind--to refocus conscious attention from mind and thinking to sentience and feeling.
The Healer's Attention
The single most powerful faculty of the human mind is the conscious use of attention. Almost always, our attention is directed and focused by forces outside of our conscious awareness. Events in the outer world grab our attention. For instance in this moment your attention may be focused on these words you are reading.
Or if you look up from reading, you may see something that triggers a thought. For an instant your attention was on what you saw, and then it was quickly redirected to the thought that was triggered by seeing it. Perhaps it was the word for the object, its name; or maybe it was a short story about it, "That's the photograph of...." Typically, thoughts trigger other thoughts and attention dutifully follows the train of thoughts until another event, a feeling or something else grabs or hooks your attention, and so it goes.
All of the practices and exercises on this website have the common feature of helping train the Healer's mind to change the old, conditioned habits of attention by bringing the faculty of attention itself under the conscious control of the Healer. We cannot truly be here for ourselves until we can assume the authority of consciously choosing for ourselves what we pay attention to.
The conditioning that has held habits of attention and imprints in place is very powerful. And yet it easily lets go when we take control of our own attention. One common unconscious habit of attention has been to ignore or dismiss bodily sensations while reading. Another more problematic habit of attention is to escape from unwanted feelings and sensations by paying attention to thoughts instead.
The Healer's attention is focused on feelings and sensations because that's where the healing is needed.
And ironically it's the attention itself that heals. Healing happens when our loving attention falls upon a previously unwanted or ignored feeling. In the deeper layers of ourselves as Beings, a circle completes between the Universal Feminine, the root of the feeling and the Universal Masculine, the attentive lover of the feeling. In this way humans and Deity work, play and dance together collaboratively to heal themselves-and in the process, Creation itself.
Directing and Focusing Attention
A camera can be a useful metaphor for the mind's faculty of attention. We can consciously direct our attention and adjust the focus of attention, just as we can change the camera angle and adjust the focus of the lens. Attention can be directed either inside of self or outside, and it can be adjusted to anywhere from laser sharp to soft and diffuse. A wide-angle focus allows us to take in the larger picture, and a sharply focused attention allows us to study something specific in detail.
Although we have always had the ability to consciously direct and focus our attention, this has almost always been an automatic, unconscious process. Because of the mind's conditioning, it's been happening without us even realizing we had a choice.
With conscious awareness of our attention comes the possibility of consciously moving attention from the thoughts and ideas of mind toward the feelings and sensations beneath those thoughts.
Also like a camera lens, we can focus our attention either on what is in the foreground of awareness or what's in the background. As conscious awareness fades into the background, it goes beyond the range of the lens of attention and becomes unconscious.
For the Healer and explorer, the most interesting and helpful aspects of conscious awareness are found in the deep background of awareness and in the layers of the unconscious immediately below conscious awareness, often referred to as the 'subconscious.'
What happens in our inner process has, for the most part, remained undetected by our conscious awareness, or at best kept in the deep background of awareness. However, as the Healer working to improve our inner process, we want to refocus our attention on the elements of process formerly relegated to the background. For instance, in ordinary consciousness the words you are reading and their associated thoughts are in the foreground, and the way your body feels in the chair is in the background.
As an experiment, you can continue reading and paying attention to the words and their meanings while also feeling whatever bodily sensations are available to feel in the moment. This will likely involve reading more slowly for the same level of comprehension-while at the same time feeling your body as you read.
Another way to experience refocusing the lens of attention is to stop reading for a moment, and when you do-listen to what your mind says about what your body has been feeling. Try this now if you like.
You probably heard something like, "I'm feeling _____," or "My _____ feels _____." The main point is that no matter what your mind said, it was a thought.
By refocusing attention here, we were able to see that it was just that, a thought; and that it or a similar thought was in the background until you stopped to become aware of it. You consciously refocused attention to observe the thought rather than unconsciously believing it or automatically identifying with it.
Identity and Attention
Identification is ordinarily a subtle unconscious process. Identification happens whenever our attention is hooked by something occurring inside of us. In the ordinary mind, the perception of a thought is experienced unconsciously as identification with it. In other words, ordinarily there is no awareness of having a thought or of observing it, only a sense of being the thought. For instance, "I am having a thought that I should be doing something else right now," is ordinarily replaced by the (likely untrue) realization, "I should be doing something else right now."
Another way of saying this is that within the conditioning of the ordinary mind, we have believed our thoughts. We have unconsciously, automatically believed that what we think is right and correct, beyond question. And of course this is almost never true.
Almost all thoughts arise out of habitual, conditioned patterns that have not been updated since they were first established long ago-in childhood or earlier.
This is because one of the habitual, conditioned patterns of the ordinary mind has been to unconsciously identify with our thoughts. Whether the thought is true or not has almost always gone unquestioned. The quick and easy solution to the illusions and delusions created by unobserved, unquestioned thoughts is to consciously move our point of view from identification with the thought, and instead become the observer of the thought.
When we are not our thoughts we have the power to question them. "Is it true that I should be doing something else right now?" can be a good entry to a more present and real identity as the Healer of myself, the 'me' who observes and questions my thinking.
In the Healer's mind attention continually moves to the position of observer. Only when we become observant of ourselves and our process do we have the power to heal. In fact, it's the ability to observe thoughts and feelings that distinguishes you the Healer from the other parts of yourself.
When the Healer hears the buzzer that signals a part of self is hurting, you are able to look around to see who is asking for attention. The quickest and easiest way to do this is to find where in your body you feel the feeling, and come into observance of the feeling by feeling into it.
The same can be done with thoughts. Conditioning has programmed us so that when a thought hooks our attention, we become attached to it as if we are entranced by it. In fact, thoughts can easily create a 'spell' that takes us away from ourselves and brings us into alliance with the thought, almost always to the point that we identity with it as in, "my thought," or "I think..."
At an unconscious level this ultimately means "I believe_______, and therefore it's true." In most of us this line of faulty unconscious reasoning has gone to "I am my thought," or rather, "My thought is me." For example, without any observation or questioning, "Life is hard," can very easily go from a thought to a belief, and become an unquestioned 'fact' with a profound influence on how my life goes. Part of my identity is now a person whose life is hard.
In normal consciousness, our sense of identity rides along with the perceived inner phenomena of the mind and body, including the emotional body. Thoughts, feelings and sensations have captured our attention. And with that they have captured our identity.
Observing the thought, feeling or sensation with curiosity immediately breaks the spell.
This is because you, who are observing this inner phenomenon, are experiencing the thought, feeling or sensation from outside of it. You are not in it or identified with it, you are observing it.
Now your point of attention is as the observer of an aspect of a part of yourself. This is where the Healer's mind begins. When your conscious attention has this self-observing point of view, you are in the position of the Healer, the one who can heal all the rest of you. And since you, the Healer are observing another part that's hurting, you are at once both the Healer and the part that is being healed.
The specific healing medicine that the Healer brings in this work is loving acceptance. Practicing observing ourselves and loving what we observe in ourselves is part of every practice on this website.
For instance, when the Healer rescues the child from a past trauma, the Healer unconditionally loves the child, just as she or he is in the moment without having to change in any way. And the Healer's motive in coming to help the child in pain is not only to stop the pain and so we can feel 'good' again. The Healer's motive is love. The Healer wants to find and reclaim this previously lost part of self so you can be reunited within, so you can be more whole, so you can be more of who you truly are.
Through developing the Healer's skills and using the Healer's tools we get better and better at doing this unusual and amazing thing-loving ourselves. When our minds are able to give our open, honest complete and unconditional loving acceptance to the darkest, stinkiest, most desperate and depraved parts of ourselves we know we have the right medicine. We have a loving mind. We have the Healer's mind.
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