A Dream of Healing
Exploring dreamwork for healing body and spirit.
by Azima Lila Forest
Healing. Where does it come from? Who or what heals? My 40-plus years of involvement with various healing arts have taught me that healing comes from two sources: the body itself, and what we might call the Source, or whatever name we might give the great mystery that has created this universe and continually gives rise to all vibration, energy and life itself. Human beings, in my understanding, can act as conduits or channels of that universal healing energy for other beings but are not the source of it.
The human body has amazing capabilities to protect and repair itself, as we can readily see when we cut ourselves. First, blood flows to clean the wound; then a process of coagulation takes place to stem the flow of bleeding. Next, new skin cells begin to form to close the wound. If the extent of the damage is greater, sometimes the body needs help to stop the bleeding, such as applying pressure to the wound itself, or, in case of severe bleeding, applying a tourniquet to cut off the flow of blood above the site of the injury until clotting can take place.
The body also has marvelous systems to fight infection by harmful bacteria, viruses and fungi. A minor cold will run its course in a few days because of the action of antibodies that attack the virus causing the cold. But sometimes, we humans are impatient with the discomfort and seek to help the body along by taking vitamins, herbs or other remedies. In the case of infection by bacteria, antibiotics may be taken as a last resort. (Through the overuse of antibiotics to treat illnesses and to feed cattle and other animals used for food, we are awash in these elements; thankfully, physicians are beginning to change the previously prevailing practice of prescribing them routinely without determining whether or not the illness is caused by bacteria.)
So these are some ways in which the body heals itself. But sometimes it doesn't — somehow or other, it is impeded in the process of returning to full health. Impeded by what? Most of the time, we don't have a definitive answer to that question, but some of the possibilities are environmental conditions, chemical imbalances in the body, and states of mind.
In addition to medicines, allopathic, naturopathic, ayurvedic or homeopathic, healing can occur by bringing to the body the healing power of the Universe, or God, or Spirit, or whatever one might choose to call the great mystery beyond the reach of our physical senses and our limited understanding. One can do this for oneself or for others. It can be brought to bear by the laying on of hands, such as with Healing Touch and Reiki, by various forms of energy medicine, and by prayer.
It was demonstrated in a double-blind scientific study done at the University of California at San Francisco that heart patients who were prayed for by others, unknown to them, did better in every way than patients who were not prayed for. And none of the patients knew whether they were being prayed for or not! So there are great and mysterious healing powers at work in us, through us, and all around us.
Sometimes the healing required by a person is more psychological — mental, emotional or spiritual — than physical. Prayer works for this kind of healing as well, as do the other non-physical means mentioned above. In addition, dreams are great sources of healing both physical and otherwise. Dreamwork for healing and personal development can be done privately, in small groups, or one-to-one with a facilitator skilled in working with dreams.
When we go to sleep, the conscious mind is what blinks out. Just as we can see the stars when the great light of the sun disappears, so we have access to wisdom, guidance and healing when the discriminating, skeptical, critical mind is not there to hinder these processes. And the more we work with dreams, the more powerful and wide-ranging are the results and experiences to which we can have access.
We can learn to set intentions for the kind of night-time experience we wish to have, whether to receive guidance for a problem or decision, connect with loved ones who have passed over, connect with our past or future selves (ourselves in this or other lifetimes), or delve into dimensions of reality other than this spatial and temporal experience on planet Earth. Dreams can also gift us with images, symbols or occurrences that then appear in our waking lives. These "coincidences" might alert us to important events, but more often they are little reminders of the deep connection between our sleeping and waking experience.
All these gifts that come to us through healing modalities and dreams are also available by entering into deep meditative states, whether through a solitary meditation practice or guided by a facilitator. Sometimes relaxing into such a state and imagining that we can sense inside the body to a place of pain or dis-ease will yield wisdom of the body as to causes and conditions to help us make good choices for health and healing. And similarly, from such deep states, we can journey to interesting, even magical realms of being.
All that is required of us to begin to experience these ways of healing and personal growth is to trust All That Is, to open our minds and hearts, and to be willing to go where we have never gone before. Yes, even to trek to the stars!
Azima Lila Forest has been working with dreams and various forms of healing for 40-odd years (sometimes very odd!). Azima is a Unitarian Universalist minister and a teacher in the universal Sufi tradition. She is a Reiki practitioner and teaches classes in dreamwork, as well as working one-to-one for healing and as a spiritual guide. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (575) 574–7805.
Body, Mind & Spirit is a forum for sharing ideas and experiences on all aspects of physical, mental and spiritual health and on how these intersect. Readers, especially those with expertise in one or more of these disciplines, are invited to contribute and to respond. Write PO Box 191, Silver City, NM 88062, or email email@example.com. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the views of Desert Exposure or its advertisers, and are not intended to offer specific or prescriptive medical advice. You should always consult your own health professional before adopting any treatment or beginning any new regimen.