The question ‘what is healing?’ is one that relatively few people ask because most have the belief that healing means cure. Healing may mean cure, but I believe that it is also possible to be healed and to die from the disease, or continue to live with it for decades. When we are healed we can be healthy despite having a disease. Healing is often an internal change rather than a bodily one.
Healing As A Change in Consciousness
So, if it’s not cure, what is healing? The definition of healing that fits best for me is that healing is a change in consciousness. I think that most people live unconsciously. We are not fully aware of our beliefs, thoughts or feelings and how they affect our actions.
Too often we look outside ourselves for answers that can only be found inside. For example, we feel angry with someone and blame it on something that they did or said, rather than looking inside ourselves to understand why we are responding this way.
Those of us who try to fill our inner hole with an addiction are generally not conscious of the need our addiction is meeting. I venture to say that all of us have addictions – or almost all; maybe the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Tutu are exempt! But the rest of us are addicted to emotions (like anger, jealousy or hurt), to things or people having to be a certain way, to certain beliefs and ways of thinking, to being in control or out-of-control, to television, to exercise, to cleanliness, to danger, to safety…and to substances like sugar, coffee, alcohol, tobacco, or drugs.
Awareness Needed to Beat Addictions
Addictions of any kind help us feel safe. They are harmful because they limit our awareness and our freedom to choose our response in every moment. They prevent us from being whole, and from healing.
In order to break the addiction we have to become conscious and aware, and start to identify the external and internal triggers that lead to the addictive behaviour. Recognizing these triggers can lead to a decision to choose a response, that is more in-line with our core values, and to the intention to keep choosing it however difficult, and however many times we revert back to the unwanted behaviour.
Developing conscious awareness is a process of building commitment to the self. I think that this is what healing is. A shift in consciousness so that we see ourselves as worthy and lovable and start to treat ourselves as such. Healing starts here.