A healer always needs to be receptive to learning more about healing and what is needed, and a healer also needs to develop sensitivity to the unique energies of each situation. One needs to know what kind of energy or medicine is most needed in any situation, and how to project and circulate that energy for healing and harmony.
Medicine Healers and Shamans will use or project different kinds of energy, vibration, or qualities of Spirit for particular purposes. Understanding and experienced skill in this is known as wisdom. There is only one Great Spirit, one great energy of Love, or one great Source of all good Medicine. And yet, there are many forms, kinds and qualities of this primal energy, which many believe is the Solar love-energy of Grandfather Sun, though our Great Sun is but a Star among many Grandfathers Who purely transmit the One Light of Universal Spirit.
There is only One Light, though this comes in many ways and many colors. And it emerges from many centers of Being. We believe the Great Light can emerge from anywhere, if It is welcomed and received. The Wise Medicine Healers use particular qualities of energy and particular vibrations, according to the need. This is somewhat a science and somewhat an intuitive art. The main key in knowing what energies and vibrations are best in any case is by being sensitive to the changes in an energy field as it is receptive to new energies, and adjusting the energy and vibration toward a feeling of harmony and balance.
In other words, the right energy and vibration will be that which creates harmony and balance, or that which restores the inherent harmony of the person or situation. The focus is not on what is wrong or on negative symptoms. The focus and sensitivity is on feeling the restoration or the unfoldment of harmony and the circulation of vitality. When the focus is on the ideal or the intended solution, or on the feeling for right harmonious vibration, then the energies transmitted by the healer naturally adjust to meet the need or complete the ideal.
Those involved with healing should pay particular attention to these laws. Other important rules for healing include right intention and purification methods. The healer needs to be clear and sincere in the intention to serve what is best for the greater harmony, and should also be patient enough to wait for the right time – which is only when there is full receptiveness and agreement to healing. The healer also needs to be pure of disturbing or stale energies, which can be cleared by the practice of aura cleansing through smudge fire or bathing or a purifying ritual. The healer must also prepare the person or situation by one of these methods of purification.
Also the healer must be rightly balanced and attuned to the highest light or vibration of Great Spirit, or attuned with a greater Spiritual Presence or Healing Helper. For a Christian this might be Jesus or Christ, or for a Native this might be a great Medicine Ancestor, or it could be your highest spiritual Guide, or it might simply be your most complete connection with Great Spirit or God. Also, the healer must become a focal point or medium for the greater energies and right vibration to come through, which requires that one be in the attitude of service and allow oneself to be of use to Great Spirit.
There are various essential approaches in healing, which can apply to both energy healing and medicine tincture healing. One approach is clearing or cleansing, or purification. It certainly true that most problems are caused by impurities or disturbances in the either the physical, emotional or mental parts of oneself. So clearing is an obvious healing work, and one method for this is bringing purifying light into the energy field, in order to clear away impurities and troubles.
The first step in all healing is usually to do with some form of purification or letting go of the old substances and patterns of the emotional or mental body, because it is usually this stuff which is causing disturbances and disharmony in the health or in one’s life. All this stuff gets in the way of the natural healing intelligence and direction of the soul, which is the natural good spirit and true essence of each person.
Another approach is to add or give certain energies or vibrations to the person. For example, some people simply need more energy, or a part of them that is weak needs more energy. But the healer needs to be careful not to merely add energy to a problem. Rather, energy needs to given to the healing forces.
Another approach is to use a vibration or make an energy environment which will nurture or resonate the inherent healing powers of the person to come forth. This could be called nurturing or helping to bring forth the soul quality of the person, which is the healing and harmonizing vibration already inherent within the person. This soul energy would come into expression if it could, but it is often blocked by disturbances and impurities of the emotional body or by false beliefs and confused patterns of thought. Therefore, the healer can attempt to help the natural soul intelligence emerge, but there must also be work done to purify the emotional and mental aspects of the person. Often used are techniques such as emotional energy clearing, expressive catharsis, dialogue counseling, dream work, visualized journeying and vision quests.
Many Shaman healers speak of the 'lost soul' or the 'broken soul' of the person. For many people this is the forgotten soul. They have forgotten and uprooted themselves from their own essence, from their inner truth and deeper passions. The Healer may be the one to help the person find themselves, or re-connect with their own inner feelings and natural wisdom of the soul. They might help bring forth the soul and inner wisdom of a person by providing the right resonating vibration, or the right nurturing environment, or a challenging situation to bring that inner spirit out into conscious experience. And of course, healing and the emergence of the soul also involves the ability to express one’s inherent and unique talents and qualities of spiritual being. The soul-qualities need expression and when this expression is blocked or neglected, disturbances and disharmonies are created.
First the soul qualities need to be recognized, and then allowed into expression. This brings about wholeness and harmony, on all levels of life. If the person cannot seem to recognize their own self qualities, talents and beauty, then someone else may be needed to recognize or make that known. Often we can help another by recognizing and pointing out and appreciating certain qualities of the person which that person neglects to recognize or self-accept. Recognition can bring forth energies and qualities, which otherwise remain sleeping.
Finally, last but not least in the principles of healing, the healer is one who helps re-establish the person’s relatedness to Earth Mother and to Father Sky Vision, and their relatedness to a greater circle of natural living relations. For this relatedness, and the coming into wholeness and unity with all life, is the true spiritual healing, and it will bring about harmony and balance in all aspects of life. The lines of relatedness, the connections, within the great Circle, must keep increasing and flowing. And then everything and everyone will be adding to the harmony and wholeness of everything else.
So the healer can plant the Sacred Seed of a new Vision, of the emerging and growing potential of harmonious and balanced relationships, of unity-of-diversity, of a sharing spirit of cooperation, and a growing recognition that our self-wholeness is reflected in the living world around us. So, in the ongoing process of self-healing, we climb the mountain to Spiritual Realization, we root ourself in the relatedness of all life, and we walk the Path of Love and Beauty. We realize there is one essential spiritual Life, inspiring and moving through all beings. We serve this Life, and we enjoy this Life, in gratefulness.
There are four kinds of healing, and each is related to one of the spirit directions in the Native Medicine Wheel. This isn't about different techniques of healing; because of course there are many techniques and ways of healing.
First is cleansing or purification, related to the south. Next is vitalization or life energizing, related to the west. Next is balance and harmony, related to the north. And fourth is spiritual inspiration or vision, related to the east. Though if anyone starts to argue against these relationships on the medicine wheel, I wouldn't bother making an issue about it, because some tribes see these things somewhat differently, and that's ok. In my opinion, whatever makes sense to you and works for you is just as right as any other way. The main thing is that you get an understanding that makes some sense and that it works.
The first kind of healing is clearing or purification. This is a letting go of old stuff or disturbing stuff, or letting go of impurities, discord, or other troubles. This involves a conscious letting go, which is what we have to do in any purification healing. But to complement this, we also need to allow the Mother Earth to cleanse and purify us, and to clear away all energies that keep us from experiencing wonderful health, vitality and balance.
Clearing is the same as purification. Clearing and purification go hand in hand. First clear out the old and purify the blocks; and then go on to bring in power. No sense trying to gain power, if you're not yet clear or at least working on letting stuff go. Otherwise we'd be empowering a cluttered or scattered mind, or a closed down heart with frantic or disturbed emotions. So we must start with clearing and purification, which is important in any holistic healing.
This healing work of cleansing and clearing is what the Native Sweat is mostly about; it uses sacred fire and heated stones to make healing steam. In this way, both sacred fire and sacred water are being used for cleansing and purification healing. Native ways most often use water for emotional and mental clearing, because water itself is cleansing. One might go out into the rain to let the water clear one's emotions. Or one could immerse in a natural stream or a lake, to clear off emotional residues and also to gain mental clarity. It's possible to be emotionally and mentally cleared by simply sitting at a running creek, listening to the purifying, clearing waters, if we do it sincerely. Even a splash of water on the face whenever we cross a running stream is a good practice. Native healers also use fire and smoke to cleanse, such as using smudge to clear the emotional-mental energy aura. And finally, the sun itself is a great healer, though of course in moderation. Because sunlight can clear away stuff and destroy impurities.
There are medicine shamans who use spiritual light for purification and healing. This spiritual light can be found in inner meditation and in vision journeys. It's the Light that is the cause of physical light. It comes from Great cosmic Spirit-beings and ultimately from Great Spirit. And like I said, this spiritual Light is purifying and healing. We could even call it the healing Light. The practice is to visualize great intense Light above you, then see this Light shine down into and through your energy field and physical body, which then burns away and purifies any impurities or energy problems. Let Light purify you, from mind through body, from head to toe. The Light clears away anything that is not purely good and spiritual, and thus brings healing. This is a great healing practice, and it complements healing with water, which can also be visualized as cleansing your body if physical water isn't available at the time.
Spiritual Light can also be brought into the earth and into humanity, not only to purify but also to awaken our spiritual intuition and to dispel the many false delusions people have. My medicine teacher told me that in many of the traditional indigenous cultures there are certain selected and trained shamans who work in meditation states to channel greater Light into special sacred earth sites. These sacred power sites then act as radiating centers of Light and channel this Light into the minds of humanity. Some global medicine workers were given the task of helping to maintain a natural balance in humanity, which is why certain traditional rituals and ceremonies were brought to native cultures, to help maintain world balance and stability. This secret medicine work has been going on for a very long time, and those involved would be able to mentally communicate with each other across the world.
The next necessary kind of healing is energizing or vitalizing. This is also related to empowering. We need energy. We need vitality. We need revitalization. We need a renewal of good, positive energy. And we can get this revitalizing energy from the Earth. It comes from the ground, from the rocks, from the plants and trees. This is known as vital energy, or life energy, or it's also called etheric energy or ki or prana. It's called called mana, meaning the energy-food of life, and this mana is everywhere on Earth, in the plants, in the rocks, in the air and the water.
You breathe in this vital energy, prana or mana, but consciously and with intention. So you can fill yourself with this vitalizing energy, and you can take in all you need. This is the vital energy of good health, which we need to be healthy and strong. Our physical body of course needs this vital life energy. The strength and immune system of the body depends on it. But also our emotional and mental bodies need it as well, because emotionally we need to be strong and vital, and mentally we need this vital energy to intensify our consciousness and strengthen the power of our mind.
Vital energy, or mana, also comes from the sun as well. Solar mana (or prana) is very powerful, and the native shamans and priests of olden times learned how accumulate and channel this solar mana, which is one of the purposes of temples and pyramids. Also of course, many medicine teachers, temple priests, and other earth-spiritual people make a daily ritual of homage and gratitude to the sun, to the great sun Spirit. Partly they do this in order to refresh their body and spirit with solar mana, but also partly they do this for the whole community and world by being a human representative of earth who gives gratitude to the great sun Spirit. Giving love and gratitude for what is given reciprocates spiritual energies and keeps the Flow going. The native view is that we are all part of a larger life-energy system, which requires reciprocal flow, and our role in this is to be actively giving in some way rather than just taking. So it's always good to remember gratitude whenever we receive vital energies from the earth or solar energy from the sun.
So going back now to the two kinds of healing, the purifying and the vitalizing, each complements the other and each is related to a phase of our breath. We use the out-breath for purifying or cleansing, and we use the in-breath for vitalizing or energizing. Of course in any of these healing practices, you have to breathe in and out. That's obvious. You can't spend 5 minutes just breathing out, without also breathing in. So in either practice, we still have to work with the whole breath cycle, but either the out-breath or in-breath is emphasized and concentrated upon, depending on which kind of healing we are doing.
Remember that it's best to start with the purifying-cleansing healing before going on to the vitalizing work. We first want a cleansed and purified energy container before filling it up with vital power, because otherwise the incoming vital power tends to get distorted by old stuff that's still in the container. So before filling up with all that fresh natural energy, first clean out the container. Even if you're tired or exhausted, you should first start off with the cleansing, the clearing, the purifying.
In fact, this is an excellent way to get rid of tiredness. Just spend some time breathing it out to get rid of it. Tiredness is a kind of energy; it's tired energy. Most people think of tiredness as simply a lack of energy, and this does make logical sense. But actually, tiredness is itself a kind of energy; it's a tired, stale energy. So, tiredness is a kind of energy-stuff, which we need to let go of in order to feel more energetic. Most people don't think of tiredness in this way, so they try to acquire vital energy, but the tired energy is still going to be draining. Some healers understand tiredness as a sign of energy leakage, so if the leak doesn't get fixed, then it will continue to drain any vital energy gained. Later on I'll explain how to fix energy leakages. But for now, think of tiredness as a sticky stale substance which impedes the flow and accumulation of vital energy. So it's good to first breathe out and release your tiredness, before doing the breathing practices for vitalization.
Practice this now. In your own time and rhythm, whatever feels right, take in one very large deep breath, hold it for just a moment or two while imagining all your stale tired energies. Then breathe all this out in a relieving flow of release. Like, ah, there it goes. You'll feel it happening. You'll feel your tiredness being breathed out and released. Do this at least two more times, or just keep doing it until you definitely feel more clear, cleansed, and rid of the tiredness. You can do this same kind of releasing-clearing practice with any kind of energy or emotion that is stale or in need of being cleared.
Next, when you feel better, after releasing the tired energies or any other stale or stressful energies, then practice the vital healing. Breathe in vital energy from the earth below and also from the plants and trees around you. Without any reserve, take in this good, vitalizing energy. Take it in through your in-breath, with the recognition that you really do need it and you are worthy to receive all you need. Mother Earth loves you and wants you to have all the vitality you need, so take in and receive all you need. Breathe it in, breathe it in deeply, and keep breathing it in, until you feel you have all you need. Don't be shy or timid about it. There is plenty to go around, plenty for everyone. This the good energy of the Earth.
The third necessary kind of healing is balance, or harmony. This is when all the energies and functions of the body are in balanced harmony. It's when everything and every part in us are working cooperatively and harmoniously, for the greater purpose of whole health in the whole self. It's when all aspects of us are working correctly and with maximum health. Energy-balancing techniques are numerous, and many healers develop their own particular technique. My teacher used a pendulum, along with hands on balancing. Also, Native rituals involving the Medicine Wheel are very much to do with bringing harmony and balance to one's life, as well as to the land.
But one way that each of us can balance our own self is to simply feel the quality of harmony and balance in our energy field and in our body. And if we can really feel it, then it is happening. Energy always follows thought and feeling. So feel the harmony and balance. Think harmony and feel harmony. Or if this is not so easy at the time, then start with feeling that you are becoming more in harmony or more harmonious with Life. If this does not work as yet, then start with a wish to be in harmony or a wish to be in balance. At least start with a wish. Or at least start with a prayer for harmony and balance.
First open to and feel the harmony that comes from Mother Earth. She is the Great Goddess of harmony. She is the Great Wisdom of harmony, balance and health. Energetically open to Mother Earth, to the Earth Intelligence of Harmony. Feel the harmony of Mother Earth.
The best way to do this is out in nature, in a beautiful place, where we can feel peace and harmony. Nature has the power to heal us with peace, harmony and balance, because nature has these qualities. So being in nature helps to bring our energy field and our whole body back into harmony and balance. This itself is amazing – this power of Nature to heal us in this way.
So sit or walk in nature, and feel the harmony and balance that is being given. It's wonderful. But if one is sitting or walking in nature, yet jabbering about this or that, and thus not giving any awareness to this healing power of nature, then there probably won't be any real healing. We have to be at least somewhat present and aware of these healing energy qualities, in order for them to work in oneself.
What helps as well is conscious breath, which is to be aware of one's breath in relation to nature's harmony and balancing energies. This is the most effective way to enter into the healing harmony and to balance our energies. Thus, practice breathing in harmony with the Earth harmony, so that your breath comes into harmony with the harmonious rhythm of Mother Earth. Do this with feeling. Feel the rhythm of Earth Harmony, then harmonize your breath with this. Essentially this is the practice for coming into harmony and balance with Mother Earth, which is in itself healing.
To work further with this, practice balancing the in and out breath, so that both gradually become evenly balanced in duration. A good way to do this is while walking and using the counts of your step. First take some deep breaths, to get all ready and relaxed. Then, at some point, begin a conscious in-breath on your right step, and start here with step counting. Your goal in this practice, and it will take a bit of practice at first, is to walk eight steps breathing-in, then eight steps breathing-out, and keep continuing this. If you get into it, into the rhythm of it, it's very enjoyable, very energizing, and very balancing. Actually you're breathing in and out on seven steps, because the eighth step ends up being a pause between the in and out and. This practice will balance your breath and also bring your energy field into natural balance. It will also bring you into balance with the harmony and balance of Mother Earth.
This healing work also requires two factors to be working together: our self and Nature. On one hand are the harmonizing and balancing energies of Nature. Then on the other hand is our own self and what we are doing. Nature is giving to us her harmony and balancing energies, which is like a sound quality of harmony resonating from Nature. This harmony resonance then resonates in our own body, thus bringing us into harmony and balance. But in order for this to properly work, we need to first make some small effort to bring our self into harmony with Nature.
So this healing work is not merely a passive thing, like laying on a massage table and getting worked on. The healing power of Nature will indeed work on us, but we have to participate in some way and make some kind of effort, which is to consciously harmonize our self with Nature. This means to willingly bring our energy into harmony with Nature, or to harmonize our self with the natural energies around us. When you practice this, you'll understand what I mean. It's not mere thinking; it's a real energy experience. You're bringing your energy field into harmony with Nature, as best as you can at this time, while also being open to Nature harmonizing you. You make your effort, and She'll do her part in it. This is the healing collaboration between you and Nature.
The fourth kind of healing is spiritual inspiration or vision. This is when the spiritual waters of love and beauty fill our experience, renewing our heart and spirit. Love and beauty enters into our heart, into our being, and we feel uplifted and renewed by this higher kind of energy.
In all beautiful and peaceful places of Nature, and especially in sacred natural places, we can be uplifted and healed by the beauty, the love and the peace. This spiritual kind of healing, or inspirational healing, will then transform our mental, emotional and physical bodies. It has very deep positive effects. Most simply, this kind of healing can be understood as the healing gained from an upliftment of heart and mind. It's like being given a 'step up', or gaining a newly expanded consciousness, a new opening into a wider View or next Step.
This upliftment of heart and mind is also known as spiritual Vision. It's when a greater understanding and experience suddenly opens up, which then is transformative and change-altering in one's life. In the Native teachings, this is a needed spiritual healing from Great Spirit. It is a visionary and inspirational healing, which leads one from an old view to a New View, from a limited view to a more Expanded View, and from a self-centered view to a more All-centered View. This kind of healing can have a great effect on one's life, as it might change one's whole course of action, and it might motivate one to do spiritual practices – in order to better keep a balanced harmony between oneself and Great Spirit and with Mother Earth.
Vision and inspiration most often comes to us unexpectedly; in a sense, it is received. So for this to happen, one has to be patient, receptively open and ready. But besides simply waiting for vision and inspiration to come, can we do anything to help this happen? In American Native traditions the vision-quester prays to Great Spirit for vision, inspiration, renewal, or even for creative artistic ideas. But in addition, there are things we can do, rather than just ask and pray, and then remain passively awaiting.
First of all, we can go out into nature and meditate, then make a spiritual connection with nature and the land, and open up to new experiences. Anyone can do this, yet few people will make the effort. But if we want a spiritual vision or a new inspiration in our lives, then we really have to at least get out of our regular routine habits. Nothing new can happen and no new experiences can happen, if we simply remain in our normal routines, with the same old thoughts and same old feelings, etc.
You have to get out of your ordinary routine world, and go into a new unexplored world. You have to make that effort – to enter into a brand new place that is not just the same old thing. So the first advice is to begin freeing oneself from the energies collected from the routines and drams of everyday life. Then, get out and into nature, in order to be refreshed and renewed.
In the Native Way, a person might go on a vision quest, which is to go off into a wilderness or up a mountain, or at least go somewhere into nature all alone, to meditate and pray for personal vision. Spiritual vision is not just having ideas. The deeper purpose for a vision quest is to have real spiritual experiences, such as experiencing one's connection with all of nature, or having an experience of unity in nature, or a real experience of Great Spirit. These are actual experiences, not just ideas.
Yet in our modern times, a traditional vision quest might be quite difficult to organize and accomplish. And yet, we all need spiritual experience, healing and vision. So we can't really wait for a medicine man to come along and send us out on a traditional vision quest. We have to just go do it ourselves.
We have to go out into nature and let go, releasing the past and opening up to our deeper natural being. Open up to experiencing who you really are, down deep, and discover your spiritual relationship with the natural world. We all need to discover or renew our spiritual relationship with the natural world, not only for our own real healing but also for the sake of this world. So we all need to be out more in nature, to experience these healing and spiritual energies.
Also, we need to practice some kind of meditation, in order to realize our true, natural self. Two keys in meditation and in discovering our true self in relation with nature are: letting go and opening up. Letting go of all the conditioned ideas about oneself, while being open to experiencing one's true natural emerging self.
Our true and authentic self, which is our natural self, is often covered up by the layers of conditioned beliefs and thoughts we have about who we are or about what is real. Often, these are conditioned into us from a very early age; for as a child, we are completely accepting of what parents and others tell us is real and right. So we learn 'what is real' and 'what is important' from all those people and also from media. And they are simply passing down to you what they themselves had learned from their parents and cultural upbringing. And so it goes... the same beliefs and values of a culture passed down from generation to generation, as each child is conditioned by those before.
Now of course, some beliefs, ideas, and values passed down might be very true and valuable. Not everything we acquire from our parents and culture is wrong or bad. The point is to question what we were taught and conditioned by. Yet most people never question their acquired beliefs.
Thus, first we have to let go of our culturally conditioned beliefs, about our self and about life, because these culturally conditioned beliefs hold us back from a new vision and understanding of who we are. In fact, many of these cultural and also religious beliefs are falsely prejudiced against earth relation ideas. On a larger scale, in humanity, too many people have been conditioned and caught up in artificially invented, non-natural, false beliefs about themselves and of what is truly important in life. Our economic system and its consumer-oriented media also reinforces many of these false beliefs and values.
So the first step has to be letting go of all this, and this will take some time. There could be many layers. It takes some time to recognize a conditioned belief and then letting it go. You don't have to completely reject every belief you have about yourself, but at least take it down from its pedestal or at least question it.
It is a very big step to question or deeply consider what we presently think is true and right. But if there is no questioning, or if there is no looking deeply and honestly into our self beliefs and values, then there isn't much chance for having a new and transforming vision. How would a spiritual vision ever get through all of those hard layers of fixed and set beliefs?
So there has to be a loosening of our beliefs and ideas, and an openness to seeing in a new way. This is the opening door to a new vision. This new vision is like a ray of truth that suddenly enters through an open window in our mind.
Having an open mind to vision and also an open heart to know our innermost truth are the essentials. Our natural truth being will be revealed and will shine through - to the extent that we are clear of the crusty obstacles of our past conditioning. So the overall goal here is to clear out all of the simply-just-accepted ideas about yourself, the conditioned crust of self experience, so that your real true self can be revealed. Eliminate the veils, so that your true self essence will shine through, right into conscious experience and into expression. This is what can happen when we let go of our conditioned self-beliefs, while also opening up to our true essence of self being revealed.