The world is brimming with people praying for healing – healing for a broken relationship; healing for an inadequate income; healing for an ailing body; and yes, healing for a hurting and frightened humanity.
Now, my concern with this is that lurking beneath the surface of most prayers for healing, are prayers for comfort.
It usually works something like this.
We have a comfortable existence (dysfunctional as it might be, mediocre as it might be, limited as it might be), and something jolts us from that comfortable existence. So, we pray to make the pain go away and to return us to a comfortable existence.
And the problem with this is that healing and comfort are radically different prayers; healing being a symbolic path usually leading toward something of a new way of being and comfort being a symbolic path usually leading toward something of an old way of being.
That broken relationship? While comfort may say, “make the pain go away and return me to my dysfunction,” deep healing may compel you through the discomforts of divorce.
That inadequate income? While comfort may say make the pain go away and return me to my mediocrity, deep healing may compel you through the discomforts of bankruptcy.
That ailing body? While comfort may say make the pain go away and return me to my limitation, it’s time we tell the truth in New Thought that deep healing may lead you through the discomforts of illness and physical death. In other words, it’s time we tell the truth in New Thought that physical death isn’t the failure of a soul. Physical death is the triumph of a soul over a body that’s no longer capable of supporting its work, for whatever reason.
And that hurting and frightened humanity? Oh, we have a long history of returning to a comfortable existence instead of doing any deep healing.
We have a long history of returning to a comfortable existence after jolts such as Emmett Till, MLK, Rodney King, Trayvon Martin. And here we are – jolted from a comfortable existence by the murder of George Floyd.
So here we are, at yet another choice point. Will we pray to make the pain go away and to return us to a comfortable existence? Will we pop yet another cosmic opioid of denial and apathy?
Or are we willing to navigate the discomforts of deep healing?
You see, for too long we’ve avoided the bittersweet but obvious reality that it’s often the path of discomfort that leads to deep healing. And this is difficult to say to New Thought people.
We don’t like discomfort.
It’s as if we’re in the emergency room in severe pain. There’s nothing wrong with wanting the pain to go away, but we have to come to grips with the fact that any good doctor is going to say, “Alright then, let’s have a look at what’s broken.”
We have to come to grips with the fact that deep healing will require some prodding and some pulling and some poking. We have to come to grips with the fact that we might have to go through some discomfort in order to get to what’s broken.
And I hope we can agree that something is broken. When I can watch the rise of a movement that would mimic the death of a person (any person) on social media, I hope we can agree that something’s broken.
And let’s not be afraid to say that something is broken if something is broken. Jesus didn’t pretend that injustice didn’t exist, and Gautama didn’t pretend that suffering didn’t exist, and Unity’s own Myrtle Fillmore didn’t pretend that disease didn’t exist.
If something is broken, to say it is broken isn’t to empower it. It’s just to stop deceiving ourselves about where we may be falling short of the full glory of truth.
So, if you’re in the midst of prodding and pulling and poking, take heart: the cosmic doctor is preparing you for a deep healing!
Now, I don’t pretend to know how to do this. Frankly, I would question any individual who claims to have the perfect formula. But not knowing must never become an excuse for not trying.
So here I am – willing to try.
And I take encouragement from history - that meaningful change comes through wildly imperfect people who are, quite simply, willing to try.
I don’t pretend to know how to do this, but this is my humble offering: I’m willing to step up. And I hope you’ll join me.
There are a lot of middle-aged Caucasian males who will speak nobly to such difficult moments (quotes from MLK usually dot their presentations) there are a lot of middle-aged Caucasian males who will speak nobly to such difficult moments.
But I wanted to offer more than that. I want to offer more than that. Because while this moment is difficult, its difficulty is accompanied by its potential to catapult us toward that something of a new way of being.
My stand is steadfast: anything short of a reverence for the Life which we share (anything short of a reverence for the Life which we share in each of its forms) is antagonistic to the truths we hold and to the principles we teach. It was the latter of the four gospels that said the same thing in a different way, “You cannot purport to love God and to hate humanity at the same time.”
So, while I don’t pretend to know how to do this, I think deep healing will require speaking. And I think deep healing will require even more hearing. I think deep healing will require vulnerability, courage, tenacity. I think deep healing will require all manner of divine discomfort.
And in the end, I think deep healing will require something of a gentleness with all who travel in the same direction, even if by a different path.
It was on a June night in 1969 that an unidentified lesbian, upon being clubbed in the head simply for asking that her handcuffs be loosened, shouted into a growing crowd, “Do something.” And amidst the early chants of solidarity and the rising choruses of “We Shall Overcome,” the days of Stonewall began.
“Do something,” she shouted. And people - gay and straight, black and white, male and female, old and young (a rainbow palette of humanity, if you will) united to discuss and plan and organize and demonstrate, ultimately to give rise to the establishment of June as Pride month.
And, “Do something,” the world continues to shout with every shooting, with every untruth, with every cruelty.
“Do something,” the world continues to shout with every bout of narcissism, with every streak of greed, with every apathetic eye blinded to injustice and inequity.
“Do something,” the world continues to shout today.
And meaningful change will come, as it always does, from people - gay and straight, black and white, male and female, old and young (a rainbow palette of humanity, if you will) united in their willingness to step up.