Saturday, June 02, 2007

Hucksters and Healers

Charlatans and hucksters make us sick! It is so frustrating to be in an alternative field with people who make headlines by ripping people off. I'm referring to the San Jose Mercury News article about two alleged scam artists who called themselves "faith or mystic healers" and are now charged with grand theft for deceiving and taking advantage of hundreds of people. They claimed to "guarantee" results and then, their accusers say, proceeded to convince people through magic tricks and stage settings that they (the healers) were all powerful, that their clients were possessed or cursed, and that they needed to have those demons released or the curse lifted or they would only get worse or possibly die.

Too many times we've met people in our practice who were told this very thing -- "This fortune-teller (or reputable-sounding healer) told me I have a negative 'entity' in my space. Can you heal me of that?"

We HAVE met people who had a guide or an angel (or a part of their psyche that acted like a guide or angel) prodding them to change their lives. We've even met people who had what seemed like a dead relative or unidentified "entity" in their environment. But EVERY time we investigated further there was an element of the person's personality -- either a belief system they held or a particular habit that brought that element in.

I also have had personal experience with having been told by well-meaning friends and healers that symptoms I was struggling with were caused by "entities." They helped remove those so-called entities from my field and I felt an immediate relief -- which made it even more convincing --only to have some other so-called entity come right back in a week or so later. Then it had to be done again and again.

Until I said STOP! and made it change. This didn't happen before I thought it was possible. It wasn't in my belief system. I didn't believe in devils and demons... but I did grow up in a society where a large number of people do believe it (or at least were taught to fear it might be true). And when you hear a belief repeated often enough, on some level, it can start to affect your thoughts and feelings, too. And that's where the trouble begins. Because, to a large extent, what you believe (or at least can allow to be true) is what you bring in.

People who say "I don't believe I'll ever be a success" let any small setback act as an excuse. People who believe "they can't fail" use setbacks as a clue as to how to chart a better course. That's the mundane "real world" example of how it's done. But faith healing is all about that, too. The healer has to have faith that what they do is beneficial and they need to convey that to the client to be effective. Whether the client is a True Believer or not is often immaterial-- but the client has to at least be open to allowing the healing to happen. And, as the client develops trust and faith in the process, the healing works more and more. But, unfortunately, hucksters and rip-off artists know the importance of faith and trust, too, and they can take advantage of it as well.

Do reputable healers ever "guarantee" success? They don't have to. They know the end result, ultimately, isn't up to us. You might not want to hear that your job, your eating habits, your addictions or your relationship is "killing" you - literally or figuratively. You might not want to believe what we have to say. And ultimately, we can't control what you will do with the information you receive. Our responsibility isn't to heal you regardless of what you say or do--it's to assist in your process as best we can. And that's all any healing arts professional is called upon to do (doctors and other healthcare professionals included).

And what about negative entities and so-called demons? Well, first you should know that when I stopped lending credence to the belief that entities attaching to me was something to watch out for and be concerned about that experience went away for good.

How do Paul and I handle it in our practice? We talk about it: What else could be causing this? Could these "demons" actually be cut-off parts of a person's psyche that need to be addressed? What do they have to say to us? What are they trying to make us be more aware of? What's going on in our client's life that would even bring this in?

Drugs or alcohol are sometimes involved. Sometimes there is a need to say good-bye and make peace with a beloved (or not so beloved) parent who has passed on. Often there is an unresolved trauma or history of abuse that has to be addressed. And, frequently, when that work is done the almost palpable heaviness in their field lifts and the visceral sensation is as if an actual being has left the space.

We don't know whether that means a spiritual entity actually has come and gone. I specifically work with the belief that there are beings that work on our behalf but what's the truth? Sometimes it's easier for a person's psyche to address certain things as if they were not part of their actual selves. Maybe if we knew the true scope of who we are (as the Buddhists like to point out) we wouldn't need that. Who knows what's really going on? It can't be seen. It can't be proven.

We try to maintain a pragmatic point of view. Believing that positive healing spirit guides exist works for me even though I also believe that we, as a society, could have created that as a mental construction. But as Dr. Phil might say: "Is believing negative entities are invading your space workin' for ya?"

We didn't think so.

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