Being Whole

Barbara Vaile (photo by Sarah Whiting)

The muffled sound became riveting, over and over, “I can see!  I can see!”  I had mimicked the full pews in front of me of raised hands and craning necks. My palms tingled. The woman speaking — blind minutes ago — had gone outside to affirm her new sighted reality repeating the mantra of her intention. 

The organ music soothed on, the service continued.  Thirty red chairs at the front of the chapel were lined up with a healer behind each awaiting the hundreds of us. One by one we took a chair as it emptied. I had witnessed my first hands-on healing!

My turn. As the burly man in the red blazer shook and squeezed my shoulders, my inner critic began to surge. I focused hard on receiving with gratitude whatever was happening in the present moment. Something began flowing up through my torso as if my body were a shiny stainless steel tube, chimney-like, energy rising like smoke.

This healing service was the culmination of a five-day Spiritual Frontiers Fellowship retreat at Carleton College in Northfield.  I was at this campus for a liberal arts education. This week I was taught that we are all psychic. “Normal” went out the window.

At the time — this was in the 1980s — Erhard Seminar Training (EST) — taught that either there have always been miracles or there have never been miracles. For me it was always. No contest!

How did I get in this space 30 years ago? My mother had picked this college for me to attend. Answering my question about miracles, she had said years earlier that some day science would figure out how they happened. Mother believed nutrition trumped doctors. She had no time for illness, thrusting it in the camp of malingering, raising the specter of hypochondria.The day after the healing experience was hot. At the breakfast table the spectrum of response included the full range — from wonder to crabby. The beautiful southern woman in the long frontier gown who shared her healing breast-cancer story was heard to complain that the miracle had been too noisy, raucous. Whoa! Dissension. Polarization. How completely human.

The next summer people were turned away from the retreat for lack of space. A separate local group began to handle the flood of applicants.I sought information on healing. I found that Catholics had a strong tradition of healing. Notably in South America, priests were holding healing services. Extreme Unction had originally been a healing sacrament and changed into a last rite.

Since then I’ve had more than 30 years to study the concept of healing energy with scholars such as Carolyn Myss, Candace Pert and others. Scientists have been demonstrating that our thoughts are the greatest influence on our cells. Some are exploring epigenetics, the power of meditation, and other passageways of mystery.Today we’re often educated with an emphasis on skills to get jobs and money. We crave pleasure to offset the pain we are experiencing. I am learning from many others, however, about how much more we are endowed with — that we have not been playing with a whole deck.

It is said that the remedy for our contemporary society is to educate to know the self — that our life pathway is to learn to create wholeness.I believe that seeking and finding truth causes power to shift. When power shifts, it is not just ceded — it is also claimed.