The Aka Web of Healing
In my life as a healer I have explored a great many healing therapies and modalities and have noted that no matter which system is used, some people are healed with it, some people are not healed with it, and some people are healed without it. What I intend to do here is express some observations made over several decades on what seems to be taking place during a healing. The focus here will be on the body, but the concepts are applicable to the healing of mind, circumstance and environment as well.
The "Aka Web" of the title refers to a Huna concept of an etheric connection between all things. Aka is a Hawaiian word that can be translated as "essence," and we are going to examine the essential connections, or "aka threads," between different forms of healing.
First, let's look at the fact that the body can be healed with the help of--and sometimes in spite of--an extremely varied range of methods which I will list (only partially) in four main categories:
Although some of my categorizations might seem arbitrary, even this partial list is phenomenal. If the body can be healed by all these different methods--and there are countless case histories to support the healing effects of each one--then clearly each and every method is just a means by which some identical thing, the actual healing process, takes place. Chemical replacement theories of the healing process are inadequate when therapeutic touch gets the same effect; surgical correction theories are inadequate when prayer gets the same effect; energy balancing theories are inadequate when hypnotic suggestion gets the same effect; spiritual harmony theories are inadequate when nutrition gets the same effect. Therefore, let's look for a common thread in the process itself.
Before we do that, however, it will be necessary to have working definitions of health, healing and sickness. In English, health is defined as a condition of wholeness, or freedom from defect or separation. It is therefore akin to the word "harmony." "To heal" means to make whole or to bring back together that which has been separated (as in healing a wound or a relationship), and "to harmonize" would be a good synonym. "Cure" is another word used in English, specifically meaning to eliminate a problem (such as pain, grief, trouble, etc.). Interestingly, it comes from an older word meaning care or concern. Taking the basic meaning of both words into account it would be quite proper to equate healing with loving. Sickness (a common English word for unhealth rarely used in England in that sense) basically means to be troubled, distressed or grieved; illness means evil (which is why so many believe it is "bad" to be sick); and disease simply means to be uncomfortable.
In Hawaiian, to which I am partial, the definitions are more clear cut. Health is equated to energy. Good health is abundant energy (ehuehu), and poor health is weakness (pake), or lack of energy. Illness is equated with tension (ma'i), and healing is the restoration of energy flow (lapa'au). The word for harmony can also be translated as "a state of great energy" (maika'i) and the word for love can also mean "to share energy" (aloha).
Putting it all together for the sake of discussion, let's call health "a state of harmonious energy" and then healing will be "to harmonize and energize." For sickness/illness/disease we'll use the word "disharmony," and that which causes such a condition we will call "distress," meaning excessive stress or tension.
At the most basic and practical level a body is healthy to the degree that its cells are healthy. A healthy cell is one which is in harmony with its environment, has abundant energy, and is effectively performing the function appropriate to its location in time and space. To perform that function and maintain its energy and harmony we know it needs a sufficient supply of nutrients and an efficient system of cleansing. If either the nutrient supply or the cleansing system are disturbed then the cell diminishes in effectiveness, energy, and harmony and either reduces its function, performs an inappropriate function or ceases to function at all. When the number of cells so affected are enough to bring the disturbance to conscious attention by a symptom of some kind, then the body, or a portion of it at least, is declared unhealthy.
A successful healing method is one which corrects, directly or indirectly, a disturbance of cellular nourishment or cleansing. Since so many widely differing methods can do this, it will be helpful to look at the common factor producing the disturbance: distress.
Distress--constraint or tension--is exactly what is happening at the cell level when disharmony is in evidence. Distress (or excessive stress) constrains the flow of nutrients to the cell and inhibits the cleansing process, primarily through muscle tension. At this point it is important to remember that some forms of muscle are used for body movement and other forms support and protect organs and nerves. So distress may not always be at a conscious level of awareness. Next question: what brings about such constraint?
Rather than attempt to list the physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, circumstantial and environmental factors that may contribute to distress, let's look at the common thread here, too. Stress, whether distress or eustress (pleasurable stress), occurs as a natural effect of resistance to change in the physical, emotional, mental or circumstantial environment. Resistance, like stress, is not a bad thing in itself. It enables us to sense our environment, to walk across a floor, to build muscles by exercise, and to grow in many ways by working through challenges and accomplishing goals that stretch our talents and capacities for learning. But this refers to a flexible kind of resistance or, in other words, a dynamic balance between resistance and non-resistance of the sort that a tree uses when it grows around a rock that it cannot either break through or push aside.
Distress comes from rigid resistance, the kind that continues beyond the point of effectiveness and into the range where function breaks down. Rigid resistance takes place because of conscious or subconscious fear of whatever is being resisted. That is, consciously or subconsciously, a person may hold an idea that the thing which is being resisted is dangerous, or that the effect of not resisting it would be dangerous. Normally the body then tries to move away from the danger, to neutralize it, or to block awareness of it because the body automatically tries to re-establish harmony whenever disharmony occurs. When the existing physical or behavioral resources of the body are such that these procedures are ineffective, the continuing effort of the body to get away from or get rid of the danger results in distress. When this becomes painful enough or disharmonious enough to reach conscious awareness the person usually seeks other methods that will hopefully be more effective.
Basically there are only two things to do about distress: either remove what is being resisted or cease resisting it (change the reaction). All healing methods, even the spontaneous ones of the body, use one of these two methods. Surgery, for instance, may use the first method by removing an object, such as a bullet, which is being resisted by the body, or the second method by stitching separated parts of the body back together or implanting a new part. Therapeutic touch, as another example, may use the first method by inducing the diminishing or disappearance of a tumor, or the second method by increasing the strength or relaxation of the body. An ordinary individual uses the first method when he or she puts out a fire to avoid getting burned, while a non-ordinary individual might use the second method and alter his or her body so that the fire doesn't produce a burn.
From my observation and personal experience, I am convinced that health is a natural state of harmonious energy that gets covered up or inhibited (disharmonized) by distress. Remove the excessive stress by action or reaction and health appears, all by itself, because it was there all the time just waiting to manifest. Regardless of method, healing will not take place unless the energy flow of the body/cell has been restored. Removing or changing resistance will improve the flow of energy and produce or assist any healing.
Many modern healing systems are often ineffective because they attempt to be overly exclusive. In other words, they tend to treat illness as being caused only by physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual conditions and to reject some or all of the others as having no bearing on the case. Yet stress can come from any of these realms and is usually mixed in particular symptoms. Even something as simple as a smashed finger can be related to feelings of guilt or confusion about a life direction, or to spiritual alienation, or to all three at once. If the finger is only treated at the physical level then the healing will be slowed down by the distress being maintained by one of the other conditions. A healer ignores any one of them at the peril of the healee. It frequently happens that dramatic improvement in mental health occurs through nutrition, that tumors are removed with hypnosis, and that emotional release cures spiritual apathy. Seldom can one healer be all things to one healee, but love draws the right healer to the right healee at the right time.
Healing can only occur because there is some harmonious state known to the body--or to the spirit of the body--which it loves so much that it will spontaneously move toward it whenever it can. Distress, caused by resistance which is caused by fear which is the absence of love, in its turn causes disharmony, or disrupted energy and relationships. Healing, an act of caring, of loving, removes the distress and allows the body to return to the harmonious energy state it loves.
The common thread in all healing is, and cannot be other than, love, pure and simple. The love of the healer, recognized or not, for the healee, and the love of the healee, recognized or not, for the state of harmony and energy deeply known. Love may be used as a method of healing, but it is always part of the process.