The Fine Line Between Teaching and Healing

A leaf in sharp focus in front of soft focus leavesWords have the power to heal. In shamanic traditions, this is sometimes called “word doctoring.” It can refer to spirit-given words or phrases which the shaman transmits to the patient, or it can be a “healing story,” often associated with other shamanic work on a patient’s behalf.

Story-telling, when it comes from the spirits, can also carry healing power for an audience. I believe this goes beyond “teaching” through story and into the realm of “healing” for those listeners who are ready to receive. Teaching happens on a mental level; while healing is much deeper, changing or affecting something in the “knowing” that we carry in our body. This is profound, and it can happen through story.

This  kind of experience has me wondering about the power of the written word. How many times has a short passage, or even a single phrase from a book, struck a chord with you and fundamentally changed your life? Is this an accident, or is there something we as author/healers can do to transform our books from works of teaching to works of healing? I think this is worth playing with.

When someone comes to us requesting healing, we as healers often ask ourselves, “What am I here for? How did this person come to me and not to someone else? What is needed of me in this moment?” Then we ask the spirits what is needed, we give the client what the spirits offer for us to give, and we trust in the results. We act with healing intention, the active presence of the spirits, and trust.

What would happen if we carry the same process into our written work – ask what is needed from our book, engage the spirits in our writing, and trust that what is written is exactly as it should be? When this is done, I believe the healing comes through for those who are ready to receive.

There are some who read my book – which was largely spirit-given – and can tell me exactly what they liked or didn’t like about it. And then there are the others. These are readers who love my book, but when they try to tell me why or how, they can’t. They¬† just know that they were touched in some profound way. I can see it on their faces and hear it in their words. How interesting this is to me. How healing it seems to be for them. How divine. It doesn’t happen for everyone, but for some it does. For me, this is what makes my writing worthwhile.

This also raises the question of everyone else who touches our books during the publication process – editors, illustrators, formatters, publishers, promoters. How much power do we give them in the process, and what kind of energy do we allow in? If our book is a healing, they are our drummers, space holders, and attendees in a sacred process.

When we use our intention to shift our writing from teaching to healing, there is a fundamental shift in the nature of what we are creating, what it means for us as the author, and what it means for the world.

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