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Healing, yes, but not the whole truth

Have you ever been captivated by something magically life-changing? A teaching, healing, or new perspective that felt eye-opening, exciting, and hopeful…

Maybe you felt that meditation or sleep hygiene would solve your focus or sleep problems. Or that acupuncture would be the end-all answer to fibromyalgia. Or that if you just do enough tapping, you’d be all set?

Later you realized that while a new technique was useful, it wasn’t the all-encompassing sure-bet you hoped it was.

I’ve been there. I think we all have.

Many decades ago I learned reiki. It opened my understanding and made a difference in healing myself and others. Then I sadly realized it wasn’t a cure-all.

Tools for life’s challenges

I’m sure most of us would love to have a something that could fix anxiety, insomnia, health concerns, or spiritual desires.

Yellow brick road next to a river headed under a bridgeWe clearly have more agency over our lives when we can be resilient and responsive, and good techniques help us do that. Maybe you’ve heard of, tried, or been engrossed by these approaches:

  • CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy)

  • Western/ traditional medicine

  • Naturopathic medicine

  • Acupuncture

  • Byron Katie’s work

  • Scientific findings

  • Meditation

  • Energy healing

  • Therapy

  • Divine wisdom

Partial truth

As someone who values personal and spiritual growth, and I’m familiar with these and many other tools. They can really create changes, and they’re not the one-way highway to enlightened presence. Let’s look at a few of their offerings and limitations:

  • CBT focuses on changing thoughts to release emotional distress. It’s true, thoughts are a component of emotions; we can learn how to not have them drive the bus as much. However, it’s hard to simply decide to change thoughts when your belly’s tied in knots and natural stress cortisol throws your body into high alert.

  • Both Western medicine and naturopathies can be useful and healing. But sometimes, when the two approaches define themselves as opposed to each other, they create inflexible treatments.

  • And then we have Divine wisdom. Well, who can say that Divine wisdom isn’t the answer? Listening to the Divine may lead to powerful insights and connections, and a sweet opening of presence and attention.

    But we’re not just learning from Divine wisdom, we’re learning from our relationship to the Divine as well. Integrating the insights and living in the day-to-day world—even forgetting about the Divine level of reality—are also paths to wisdom.

You get the picture….

Seems like each tool could be “THE” answer

These tools can be so engaging, sometimes my clients (okay, also me!) get convinced that they’ve found “THE” answer. Maybe if they understood it more, used it better, got over their resistance… everything would come together. Instead of healing, that’s a sure way to get stuck place of self blame. (And its a foundation of cults, but that’s another story.)

Insights and tools work better when you realize they’re part of a larger whole, rather than a singular Yellow Brick Road. Truth, but not the whole truth.

Embrace the magic

We can gain a lot with immersion, and…. if you’re feeling walled off from fluidity, beating yourself up for not doing something “right,” you may be preventing yourselves from learning and moving through the layers of life.

We’re each a unique human system. It’s okay that techniques work for others, but not for you. Healing is trial and error, instead of a straight and true “guaranteed” (ah, we wish) path.

Embrace the magic of the work you discover, finding what elements work for you. Byron Katie’s work is great at shifting blame. Acupuncture may shine for ailments like morning sickness but not tinnitus. Scientific findings expand our understanding of the world, but science is a fluid art, not the end of knowledge.

As you travel your own network of learnings, you’ll also stand in the multitude of life’s many layers. You’ll be open to grow, learn, and be who you are. Even when you use reiki to do that!

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Image from Akshay Nanavati at unsplash.

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