I was thinking about a friend and her health issues when this article came to me. These are 7 keys that can be used to heal a physical thing, but they are also 7 keys to creating change and growth in our lives as well. So where you read 'heal' below, you can also read 'change', or 'grow'. One of the main themes that you'll notice here is that deeper healing, growth or change is less a product of goals and determination, and more living in a state of surrender. Also you may use the name of each of these keys as a slogan, to think of often, to remind yourself of that particular key/truth...
Key #1: Don’t Know
The first key is to practice ‘not knowing’ what you or another needs to heal, change or grow. It is said, ‘In the beginners mind there are many possibilities, but in the experts mind, there are few.’ So this is really about maintaining a beginners mind. This is also called, 'living in the Void'. It's about recognizing that while you may have a head full of opinions, they really are just that - opinions. They aren't truth. So this is about keeping an open mind...or even more...challenging any fixed views in our mind when we find them. And as we increasingly open our mind, we will find that fixed views become replaced by awareness, and awareness is moment to moment. So we find ourselves living more in a moment-to-moment awareness, seeing things as they really are, and this gives us the ability to be wisely spontaneous. The deeper reason that we even fixate on a certain view-point is because that is the structure of the ego: the human personality is formed by identification with a view-point...to the exclusion of other opposing view-points. So not knowing what you need actually becomes not knowing who - or what - you are. So the word 'void' becomes very fitting.
So why is this important? Because our personality with it's fixed views and habitual ways of doing things is partly what maintains our health issues, and all our problems! So healing is partly about de-crystallizing our habits. And as we do that we get space, space to follow our intuition more, and space to see things in new ways. We naturally find ourselves trying new things, and we make discoveries! We learn. We connect new actions with new results. In short, we shift from being more habitual to being led more by our intuition, and things can then happy in our life more magically and miraculously. And intuition is very self-reinforcing; my own experience with intuition is that many of the best things in my life have come when I was willing to try something new, to follow an urge or an inkling.
Here's a simple exercise you can do to highlight the value of following your intuition: make a list of intuitions or urges that you had, that you went with, and note how they went. Then make a list of times you did not follow your intuition or feelings, and note how those went. This exercise clearly shows us the difference between living in a more left-brained, intellectual way, and living in a more spontaneous, intuitive, whole-brained way.
As we practice not-knowing, or being in the void around our choices, we become more able to listen to and follows the lead of our intuition. And as we follow our intuition with smaller things, we build the confidence to follow our intuition with bigger things. Our humility increases as see things happening in our life better than we could have planned. And not only do we achieve great results, but life becomes a great adventure of discovery. What is an intuition, an urge or an inkling you could listen to today?
Key #2: Go With Your Heart
Following our heart is one of the most important keys to living a happy life that I know of. And in a nutshell, here's why: life is about joy. But life also takes work, discipline and focus. So when we choose a path that our heart is leading us to take, it is just that much easier - because your heart is into it. There will be some joy in the journey, not just in the end that we are looking forward to. So a path with heart is easier to take, but there are also many other surprising things that happen when we follow our heart.
When on your heart's path you will find yourself with others who are also on this path - and you get to experience the joy of synergy, of being with like-minded, with others like yourself. Shared values and vision is not only wonderfully energizing but also very supportive to your ability to be fully yourself, and to express more of yourself, which is a major key to a fulfilling life. Instead of the people around us challenging us, we find them bringing out, appreciating, and loving our best, most authentic self. That's pretty important! I even know of one teacher has even has given this a name, he calls it, 'fitting out', and says it is way preferable to fitting in. In short, if we don't take a path our heart is leading us to, things will be harder.
Plus - all healing is really healing the heart. The state of your body is really a reflection of the state of your heart. Many illnesses may have actually started with an anxious heart, a sad heart, or a lonely or grieving heart. So by creating a happy or peaceful heart, you actually give yourself a chance to heal. And a path with heart helps this to happen - happiness is healing! So healing the heart means making our heart happy, making our self happy. It means allowing ourselves things like beauty, loving companions, music, and purpose. The heart is our center of physical vitality - so when the heart is open and happy, we feel open and happy. When the heart is depressed, the body becomes depressed. Strengthening the heart strengthens our body and connects us to our Soul, the source of all healing. What has your heart been asking for?
Key #3: Nutrition is Basic
In any process of healing, growth of change, having good nutrition will be very helpful, perhaps even essential. Question: what do you do three or more times a day, that affects your blood sugar stability, your energy level, your degree of mental clarity, and even the level of your hormones and presence or lack of inflammation in your body? Yes, what you eat does all that! All your systems: your digestive system, your hormonal system, and even your brain, all run on the nutrition that you provide them. For some things precise nutritional changes may even completely take care of it. But nutrition matters for all of us.
The first thing maybe is energy - good nutrition helps us to have lots of energy. When we have lots of energy, our body tends to feel good, our emotions tend to be positive, and our mind tends to be clear and sharp. And today we have so much insight regarding how nutrition works and what to do to improve and customize our diet so it really works well for us. Whether we work with a naturopath, or just experiment and observe on our own, there are universals that will apply: What foods make us feel great? And what foods make us feel not so good? We will want to eat mostly low glycemic foods (google that for more info on it), remove any foods from our diet that we are sensitive too, and find out how much and what kinds of protein make us feel our best. I often use a food journal when I want to improve my diet. I track what I ate, and how it made me feel immediately after, and say 1 - 2 hours later. After a few days I review it, learn what I can, and plan accordingly.
Nutrition I have learned is a very individual thing, and a great area for anyone with a body to learn more about. As we add in more of the foods that make us feel great, we can crowd out any lower quality processed or addictive foods. What way of eating make you feel your best?
Key #4: Heal Your Brain
Today we have a better understanding than ever about that three pound miracle that lives between your ears we call your brain! In the last 20 years or so, new technologies, like the SPECT scan and BEAM scan are showing us our brains much more clearly, with its different areas and degrees of activity or inactivity that goes on in them. And we are co-relating that information with people's diets, life-styles and more. So what this really means in a practical way is that we can now personalize our healing plan according to our brain type. We can customize our diet, our life-style, or take certain supplements or even precisely targeted medications, all to balance our brains, which in turn balances out our body's functions, like our metabolism or our moods. For example Dr. Daniel Amen's work has discovered that there are at least 6 types of depression, coming from six different types of brains, and they will each require a different treatment. Balancing the brain for many people will be a key step in their healing. How can you better support your brain?
Key #5: Heal Every Moment
What this key really means is that you can’t just heal part-time. Ultimately, healing means a total surrender to what's best for you. You let go of your personality/ego with it's beliefs about who you should be and what you should be doing, and you surrender to your Soul or Higher Self's plan for your life. Your surrender to what is truly best for you. This makes sense if you realize that healing is really the purpose of our lives. We heal through joy. And we heal through living a life that honors us, that is kind to us. This means that if our job is poisoning us with stress hormones on a daily basis – then something about that needs to change. Likewise if our living environment is toxic and stress filled, then again, what can you do to change that? Or if you have a dream, a calling within, that you know you must do in this life, and you have been avoiding it - something about that also needs to change! The recipe for healing can be summarized simply as: add what heals you, and remove what hurts you. Heal every moment by surrendering to your Soul, which leads you to live a life that is fully loving to you. Where have you been resisting what's best for you?
Key #6: Live Your Purpose
One of the great keys to healing is definitely having a clear purpose, so that your heart is engaged by your life. That purpose could be some activity you love, a focus of activity for you to do, or even a person or group you feel called to serve. A purpose is less something we ‘decide on’, and more something we surrender to. It’s more like a calling, and we must say yes to it, yes to that adventure. Living fully is healing, and as we surrender to a calling, we are surrendering to our own Soul, and in that we fully come to life, and we heal! As a great example of this, I recall the story of Dr. Bach, the creator of the Bach flower remedies. At one point in his life when he was working as a physician, he had become very ill himself, nearly dying. But then he made the choice to say yes to his Soul’s calling to go and find the flowers that would help heal people (his calling). And when he did that, his health fully returned. He later felt that doing what we most love is a very important key to healing. What do you enjoy doing more than anything else? What do you feel called to do?
Key #7: Grow!
This is probably the most surprising key of all, and the hardest one to live, and that is because, in my opinion, our culture isn't really a big supporter of true change and growth at this time. The cultural atmosphere today is more like: get stuff, be great, do something great...while selling us 'quick fixes', which turn out to not be fixes at all! Meanwhile our Soul's directive (and path of healing) is more like: lighten up, let go, have faith, be disciplined, care, and share. I sometimes think the new superhero movies today are in a subconscious way speaking to some of those greater possibilities within us now. Because as we learn the lesson life is asking us to learn, our health problems or present challenges will fall away, and we'll find ourselves with new powers, greater freedom, and yes, greater responsibility and ability to make a difference in the world. Growing or expressing more of who we truly are will rock our world, and our health issues will become just a small detail in our review mirror...So this might be the most important question of all: What is life asking you to learn? What would real growth or change look like for you? Who are you becoming?
So that’s my seven keys to healing: don’t know, heal your heart, support your brain, include nutrition, heal every moment, live your purpose, and grow! We might begin with healing a physical health challenge, but ultimately we find ourselves growing - into all that we can be.