As people are looking more and more for natural ways to take care of themselves, the words healing and curing tend to be used quite often and interchangeably. In reality they actually mean two different things.
When people perceive themselves to be sick, or suffering from one or more discomforts, the first reaction is to take or do something to end the pain. It may be popping a pill, or a therapy of some kind designed to relieve the discomfort. If any of these treatments are successful they may say that they are healed or cured.
In reality, healing has little to do with the removal or ending of symptoms. Rather it is an intimate and integrative process that encompasses the entire spectrum of our existence. Healing transcends the simplistic notion of throwing away the crutches and walking again, or the sudden cessation of pain: it involves the harmonious alignment of the physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of our being and how we relate to the world. The result is a greater experience of wholeness, wellness, and soundness.
Healing is the result of correcting our wrong relationships with our bodies, other people, and our own complicated minds. The process is one of reorganization and reintegration of aspects of ourselves that have come apart in each one of us.
As we heal, it may appear that we are coming apart at the seams as we begin to wake up those aspects of ourselves that we were unaware of or unable to acknowledge. But as we begin the process of self-discovery, acknowledgement and alignment, we give our entire being permission to change. Through the natural, automatic release of old thought patterns, old emotions, and rigid ways of being, a new sense of respect for all aspects of our selves comes about. This is similar to the purposeful opening of a flower, or the transformation of a caterpillar into a butterfly. In healing, no magic is put into us, and nothing is taken out.
Curing, on the other hand, implies that someone is trying to eliminate our diseases, symptoms, or crises – most commonly through medication, surgery, or other modalities. If, after a certain course of treatment, the signs and symptoms no longer exist, we declare that the person “cured”. However, this does not necessarily mean that the disease is gone, but simply the awareness of it.
Curing has an important role – it offers the gift of time so we may better understand the deeper significance of our diseases. It can also offer us a greater degree of comfort to facilitate the process of healing. However, in the medical world today, the process stops with the cure and healing is never encountered. In fact, curing often takes us away from healing. Healing brings us into alignment where curing takes us into alienation. When we declare parts of our bodies as “bad” (i.e. ‘ my bad back’), or “useless” and have our parts surgically removed because they might produce a disease (i.e. Angela Jolie and her breast removal), we are far from being healed. Curing, used as an attempt to control our experiences, interferes with our ability to move into the unsolicited experiences we need to restructure our lives.
Healing leaves in its wake a sense of accomplishment and empowerment. Curing does not. Healing considers our uniqueness. Curing does not. Healing involves surrendering control of our inner and outer experiences, curing involves an attempt to control these experiences. Healing promotes wholeness, an uninhibited expression of our rhythms, and unprovoked forgiveness. Curing seeks to label the effects (as opposed to the causes) of disease; place blame, promote victimization, and give explanations and excuses for undesirable experiences.
One should always look for opportunities to heal. No matter what a person may be going through, healing empowers a person to greater heights of personal awareness. It brings us peace and allows us to live in peace and wellness. This is the essence of true health.