A few months ago, I was invited to attend a presentation by a man who claimed he was a psychic healer. He told his audience that he could cure nearly anything that ailed the body, mind or spirit if they scheduled a private appointment with him. The psychic did not charge for these appointments, but his family requested payment on his behalf. One by one, the audience members detailed their ailments and ended their litany of suffering with “Can you cure that?” The psychic was always encouraging: “Yes. Make an appointment.”
A woman in the front row wanted to know what her work was. The psychic said she could do many things. What did she want to do? She repeated her question: “What is my work? I want to give back to the world, but I don’t know what to do.”
“What do you do now?” asked the psychic. She whined, “I don’t want to do what I am doing now!”
“You might have been a doctor,” he said. “Is it too late?”
She appeared to be in her 50s. “I don’t want to be a doctor,” she said. “I want to be a healer. Do you take apprentices?”
“I could learn what you do and be a healer,” she said. “I could help you. This is the work I am meant to do.”
“No,” said the psychic.
The woman continued. “You could transfer your ability to me, and I could be a healer, too.”
The psychic shook his head. But the woman went on. She had bills to pay. She was certain that she could earn money easily as a healer.
I did not witness any healings that evening, but I observed something far more interesting: a voracious, inflated, entitled ego in full operation. What this audience member lacked, of course, were the characteristics of a healer. She had not engaged in the inner work for peace and justice that is required to begin the path to consciousness. Brother Don Bisson, a Catholic retreat leader, says, “Consciousness is my capacity to develop my capacity for surrender.” A genuine healer is the servant of the universe. True service is the work that we do and do not get paid for. If you receive an income from teaching or practicing massage or are employed by a nonprofit that provides shelter to the homeless, it is not service. That is your job. True service is standing in solidarity with the poor, all over the world, and not getting paid for it. It’s being an advocate for and steward of the Earth and its life-forms because that’s what decent human beings do.
To the woman who wants to be a healer, wherever she is, I offer the assignment that I give my freshman high-school students: Read a publication that provides excellent coverage of international news. Pay attention to the stories that touch your heart. Then, practice being other-centered: Organize for peace and justice across the planet. It’s not enough anymore to be a good person. The world needs your action.
Here is one place to start: Since 1993, more than 400 women have been murdered, and 300 have disappeared, in the city of Juarez, Mexico. Most of the women worked in the sweatshops of this border town. The victims’ bodies have shown signs of severe torture, rape and ritualistic murder. According to several sources, government and law-enforcement officials have been disinterested, inept or complicit in the murders. The Sacramento Friends of Juarez have organized a march on the California state Capitol on October 23 at 3 p.m. and a fund-raiser that evening at the Grand on J Street. The mother of one of the victims is the guest speaker. Marc Klaas from the KlaasKids Foundation, Marcy Valenzuela from KOVR 13, and I are sharing the stage in support of the event. Call (916) 967-0203 for information and tickets. It’s a chance to be a genuine healer for the world.