HEALING -- the quest that took me by surprise!
it's true, anyone can heal. we all have healing abilities in us. often the question is, 'how to access those abilities?'
mostly it requires an open heart and some knowledge of healing channels -- it's really the best if the healer recognizes their connection to the divine, to the universe, and becomes an instrument of that. then it's simple, simple.
I started healing other people, instinctively, as a child. I had no idea what I was doing, but I noticed that people felt better when I was around, and if I was listening to them talk about their deeper realities. (and somehow, people were always moved to talk about their deep truths with me.)
when I started doing massage in my late teens, I was astounded how much I could 'hear' another person's body -- mostly complaining under its weight of stress and strain -- and something in me knew how to address whatever problems they had. I dimly registered that it was 'interesting, but not important' to me at the time -- but something was there.
anyway, years later, living in California (where EVERYONE's a healer! yeah, okay...)
I kept stumbling into spirituality from all kinds of odd and unexpected angles -- 12-step programs (a deeply spiritual movement), a piano teacher who had a profound god-connection that wasn't religious (Howard Richman, www.soundfeelings.com), healer types of various walks including massage therapists, acupuncturists, psychotherapists.... I never went looking for spirituality, it just kept finding me. almost despite myself.
mostly I avoided the people I thought were really wacko -- the crystal healers, the channellers, the psychics, the ... I dunno, it just seemed like a lot of moderately unbalanced or nearly-hysterical types of people were running around claiming to be this or that kind of esoteric healer. (& of course I could easily have been mistaken in my knee-jerk judgments, too.)
mostly I just lumped all those "I'm an airy-fairy granola-munching NewAge (rhymes with sewage, chuckling) healer, ta-da!!!" under the Bullshit category and did big wide circles around them, avoiding them.
BACK TO JACK
as I mentioned before, in the mid-1990s, I met my first real spiritual teacher -- a saint, I think, if a saint is defined as someone who "is clothed in the energy of god."
(I decided to tell more of those details, because Jack was truly extraordinary and is/was a largely unsung spiritual pioneering hero in America.) http://www.holisticu.org/welcome.html
as usual, I wasn't expecting to meet such a person -- not sure I even really believed in people like that -- but my then boyfriend told me a few stories about this man, Jack Schwarz, he'd known intimately in the '70s, and the stories weren't like anything I'd ever heard before -- they rang true, deeply true, and this man clearly had supernatural abilities that he used to help people heal themselves.
the moment I heard his name, it just popped out of my mouth -- "I want to meet that guy."
within a few months, even though my friend Rusel hadn't seen Jack in nearly 15 years by that point, it turned out (coincidence? hah! NOT!) that we had a book project to do, the chief source of which were a couple of game developers who were based in Oregon, not 10 miles from Jack Schwarz' center!
anyway, when I met Jack -- he was a Dutch man, then in his early 70s -- I knew he was the real deal. he was completely unpretentious, brilliant, confidently psychic, funny, gregarious, and purely loving. amazingly loving.
I always got the feeling that he saw, clearly, a million times more in people than he would ever actually comment about. it was slightly unnerving, at first, to be around someone like that -- I always knew he saw ALL of me, more so than if I'd been physically naked, standing there, flaws and great aspects and all.
but he made it easy, through his huge and generous heart, to be around him and NOT feel completely self-conscious. or naked in the extreme.
(when Rusel told him that upon hearing his name, I immediately wanted to meet him, Jack replied matter-of-factly, but with a penetrating look at me, "that's because her mission in life is similar to mine." which I have to say, I thought was utterly incomprehensible at the time.
but time passed. now that comment makes a lot of sense.)
his supernatural abilities, what the Indian tradition calls 'siddhis,' included that he never ate, he rarely slept (maybe 2 hours a night, but it was more like meditation than sleep), he never got sick (though he lived off of coffee and cigarettes!) and he used to demonstrate, in the '60s and '70s, deliberately wounding part of his body (usually his upper arm, by sticking a graduated sail needle through it!) and either having it bleed, or not, depending on what the audience wanted, and then talking for a while, with the HUGE needle stuck clear through his arm, and then taking it out... and within a half-hour, he had NO visible scar or wound left, his body would repair itself while people watched.
he didn't need food to survive -- he said he consumed the light, and the air (what's often called a "Breath-arian" though I didn't know the term then) and it was more than enough for him.
Jack was also vibrant, strong, in fantastic health, and had an energy about him that lifted anyone who came into the same room with him. it was nearly impossible to sustain a bad mood or any kind of depressed feeling, or sadness, around him -- his 'vibration' (his term) was simply too high. when vibrations are at a high frequency, he explained, nothing of a lower, or denser, vibration level can penetrate.
that was Jack's short answer as to why he never got sick, and as to how he could spontaneously heal himself.
his moment of enlightenment came, ironically enough, while he was being tortured by a German SS officer in a death camp during the Second World War.
he suddenly saw/experienced the interconnectedness of all people -- the SS officer beating him was no different from Jack himself, who was in turn no different from the other inmates of the camp, who were in turn no different from the other German soldiers and officers there -- he understood in a flash that all souls ARE each other, and that what binds them together is pure love.
knowing that, then, he focused his full attention and love on that German SS officer, and said to him, in German, "I love you." the startled SS guy dropped the whip he was using on Jack's back, and awkwardly began helping Jack put his tattered shirt back on -- and did a shocked double-take because the fresh whip wounds on Jack's back were already healing themselves......
anyway, I connected with him immediately, and became his student for a couple of years. it was really interesting, because every time I attended a class with him, I kept asking myself, "what on earth am I doing here, studying this -- ?" and it didn't make sense to me to be delving into spirituality, like, formally -- but I just kept doing it because it felt good.
after a couple years with Jack, which really taught me a lot -- in some ways I'm only beginning to see the depth in what he did and said and showed, mostly by example -- I became more open to other expressions of spirituality and healing.
BROAD-SIDED BY REIKI
by 1998 I wound up becoming a Reiki master -- a Japanese healing system a friend of mine was really gung-ho about.(www.reiki.org)
again, it totally broad-sided me, I thought it was utter bullshit but attended her class because she offered me a place in it for free and I didn't have anything else going on that weekend, anyway.
but then my friend gave the transmission of energy that they call, in Reiki, an 'attunement' and I felt like I was having an acid trip for like, 20 minutes or more.
it was a shock: actually it was unbelievable, colors and floating and light in my head and visions and who knows what. had someone described to me in advance about such an experience -- I can hear myself scoffing.
and yet, there I was, tossed right into the fray of an unexpected experience -- there was no denying some energy was being downloaded into me. I saw it, felt it, experienced it flowing in and it was completely shocking.at one point I even felt myself turning upside down...
even stranger was the experience of then TRANSMITTING that same energy to other people, for healing, which happens almost immediately after the 'attunement.'
I had to eat my words about Reiki being bullshit...
BUT HOW DOES IT WORK?
but still, something was missing from the equation. I didn't fully understand HOW energy mechanisms work: for instance, how come some people could feel the reiki energy coming in, and others couldn't? how come some people got healed from overt physical problems during a reiki session, sometimes instantly and dramatically, and others didn't? it really got me examining the nature of healing and what it might mean, and I didn't have any answers.
during that time, I'd rediscovered meditation, and was sitting Zazen, the Zen style of meditation, every day, often going on weekend retreats to sit and stare at a wall for 10 hours a day, observing silence all the waking hours of the day. my outer life was chaotic and crazy, my inner life was becoming stable and interesting.
somewhere in there, I started doing some Indian-style, yogic meditation as well, through Yogananda's tradition -- involving breathing (pranayam) and a simple mantra (so-ham) -- and that was also an adventure, a different flavor of some internal experience.
TAKING THE LEAP INTO HEALING
finally, I quit my work as a freelance technical writer and journalist in the field of computer games (www.demaria.com), and set up shop as a healer. I was a Reiki master, I had been through a lot of breathwork, I was a good massage therapist, I was meditating a lot, and I just knew it was time to start helping people full-time. so I did.
the next thing I knew, I had a full-on business, taking care of Silicon Valley types, teaching them about chakras and breath and the human energy system and healing and ... that was my life, pretty much, in addition to making music and having a rich social life.
at the time, as I mentioned above, I lived in a small Bohemian town in the redwoods, near Santa Cruz, CA, and my circle of friends and 'family' was amazing to me -- musicians, high-tech geniuses, physicists, artists, all kinds of spiritual types, ravers, -- a kind of counter-culture do-it-yourself diverse scene that was stimulating and exciting.
I was an active member of the Burning Man community (www.burningman.com), I came and went as I pleased, I helped people, I made money, I travelled where I wanted -- to New Orleans for Jazz Fest two years running, to the barren Black Rock Desert in the Sierras whenever I needed a break, soaking naked in a deserted hot spring and walking for miles over a bleak salt-flat landscape...
I never felt so alive. I was performing as a singer-songwriter, and a poet, published my first book of poems, and got published in journals and on-line e-zines, and what have you.
(if you do a google search under my name, but using Alex rather than Alx, all kinds of interesting documents online turn up! I plead guilty to them all...!)
I mean, hey, I lived in a small cottage, in the redwood forest, on a creek, with four cats and a wood-burning stove, a walkable distance (a mile) from a small town that has a great coffeehouse. I don't honestly think it gets much better than that.
AND as far as the concept of 'guru' went -- no WAY.
I thought the whole idea was repulsive.
I genuinely thought that only insecure people in need of a crutch (or a life) gravitated towards gurus.
hah, was I ever in for a surprise! so, okay, I had my life (a study in California Bohemian motif), creativity, great friends, healing profession, an embarrassment of financial abundance... I was sitting zazen, it was my major solace and meditation discipline. and...
it was all great, but nothing, NOTHING prepared me for the tidal wave of Kaleshwara. (www.kaleshwar.org)