Journal of New Approaches to Medicine and Health

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The Gift of Healing

Barbara Ann Brennan

Editor's note:

This passage, taken from the book 'Light Emerging', speaks of the why and how of illness as seen from the energetic perspective. Barbara Ann Brennan, following an advanced degree in atmospheric physics from the University of Wisconsin, worked as a research scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. Trained in bioenergetic and core energetic therapy at the Institute for Psychophysical Synthesis and at the Community of the Whole Person in Washington. Her first book, ‘Hands of Light', is recognised as one of the primary texts for alternative healing in our time.

The gift of healing rests within everyone. It is not a gift given only to a few. It is your birthright as much as it is mine. Everyone can receive healing and everyone can learn to heal. Everyone can give healing to themselves and to others.

You already give yourself healing, even though you may not call it that. What is the first thing you do when you hurt yourself? You usually touch the hurt part of your body. You may even grab it to help stop the pain. This physical instinct also sends healing energy to the hurt part. If you relax and keep your hands on the injury longer than you normally would, you will find an even deeper healing taking place. Every mother touches, holds, kisses or caresses her children when they are in pain. She does the same for her other loved ones. If you take these simple reactions and begin to study them, you will find that when you touch someone whom you love very much, there will be a stronger effect than if you are touching someone you don’t know. Most likely you have given your touch a special essence — the essence of the love you have for that person. You see you knew healing all the time but were unaware of it.

When you are joyful, happy, energized or in any other kind of good mood, your touch will be more pleasant to others than when you are in a bad mood. The energy within a bad mood touch is not the same as that within a joyous one. How you are in any given moment is expressed through your energy. When you learn to regulate your moods and therefore the nature of your energy and your energy flow, you will soon be using your energy for healing. That is what healers do. They simply learn to perceive and regulate their energy in order to utilize it for healing.

These personal everyday experiences, which I’m sure have taken place since we were cave dwellers, have grown into the basis of laying on of hands healing. It has been around as long as there have been human beings. The ancients were aware of healing power coming from hands. Each culture explored and utilized this power from within the framework of its knowledge and traditions. In his book, Future Science, John White lists ninety-seven different cultures over the face of the globe, each of which has its own name to refer to the healing or life energy fields. Life energy fields have been known in China and India for over five thousand years.

I call the life energy that surrounds and interpenetrates everything the universal energy field or UEF. I call the life energy associated with human beings the human energy field or HEF. It is more commonly known as the human aura.

Perceiving and regulating the HEF

Many people can perceive the human energy field and everyone can learn how to perceive it. In fact, we already do so — maybe not consciously, maybe disregarding it or maybe calling it something else. For example, you know when someone is staring at you when you are not looking because you feel it; or you immediately like a stranger to whom you are introduced and know that you will get along fine; or you have a vague sense that something good is going to happen and it does. You are sensing the human energy field with the use of what I call Higher Sense Perception (HSP). HSP simply refers to our senses expanded beyond the normal ranges we are used to, sometimes referred to as the sixth sense. Other terms used for this ability are: clairvoyance or being able to see meaningful things others cannot; clairaudience or being able to hear things others cannot; and clairsentience or being able to feel things others cannot.

I have been developing, studying and utilizing HSP for many years. I have found more specific ways to differentiate between the types of HSP. It includes all our normal five senses — sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell — as well as additional senses. One of these senses, our intuition, is a vague sense of knowing, such as knowing that something good is going to happen but you don’t know what it is. Another example of intuition is when you know someone is going to call — you may even know who it is — but you don’t know exactly what it is about.

Another of these senses is what I call direct knowing. This sense gives us complete and specific direct information. For example, we know a certain person is going to call, when they are going to call and what they are going to say. Or, if asked a question about something that we think we know nothing about, we know both the overall concept and the specifics of the answer. Usually with direct knowing, we don’t know how we know the information. We simply know it.

Another higher sense is our ability to sense our own and each other’s emotions. We know what each other is feeling, even though we may not communicate it in words. We simply pick up the energy of the other person’s feelings.

I distinguish between the sense of feelings and the sense of love. So another high sense is our ability to sense love. Sensing love includes a much deeper connectedness to others than does the sensing of the other emotions. It is in a category of its own.

In addition to our five senses of sight, sound, taste, smell and touch, we have intuition, direct knowing, the sense of emotions and the sense of love. When all of these senses function, we are able to become fully aware of being here now.

Our senses serve our awareness and our awareness brings us into the present. Being in the present is an experience that many people achieve through meditation. This state of being is a doorway out of the bounds of time and space that limit us. Meditation quiets and clears the mind for high sensitivity.

HSP rests within the range of very subtle information that our brains normally filter out as unimportant. Consider the analogy of listening to music. When the music is loud, it is more difficult to hear the softer notes within it. If you turn down the volume, the softer notes and subtler nuances become mean-ingful. You can hear rhythms within the rhythms. The same is true of HSP and the human energy field. You can learn to turn down the internal noise in your head and pay attention to the softer rhythms and subtler nuances of life. When you practice this for some time, you find that these subtler rhythms are the foundations of your moment-to-moment experience of life itself. They are connected to the powerful life energy with which we all function.

Put your hand on your child’s knee next time he or she bumps it. Let yourself feel your love for your child. Your hand will get hot. Why? Because the healing energy of your energy field is flowing from your hand and helping the knee heal. You will feel the healing energy as heat, pulses or an electric like tingling. This type of perception is called the kinesthetic sense. You are perceiving the human energy field kinesthetically, through touch.

Since you can perceive the human energy field, you can learn to interact with it and regulate it with your intent. Try changing the energy flow through your body by following these instructions. You can do it next time you feel tired or strained.

Lie down and imagine the nice pleasant sun inside the solar plexus (stomach area) of your body. Pretty soon, you will feel much better and your stomach will feel warm. Probably even your breathing will slow down as you begin to relax more. If you want to expand this relaxation to include your spirit, remember a wonderful religious or spiritual experience you have had, perhaps as a child. Remember that special, wonderful time when you knew that God (whatever that means personally to you) existed and that being alive was a most natural and holy experience — so natural that it wasn’t a concern. You didn’t give God a second thought. Let yourself float into that experience and be held peacefully in the arms of the Creator. By doing this, you have changed your energy flow. You have put yourself into a powerful healing state. Feel your energy now. Do you like it?

The relaxed healing state you feel corresponds to your energy field as it becomes more coherent, as well as to a slowing down of your brain waves. They can be measured with an electroencephalograph or EEG. It will probably show that your brain is in alpha rhythm, about 8 Hz or cycles per second, which is known to be a healing state. A magnetic field detector would show that your energy field is pulsating at 7.8 to 8 Hz. This is a very natural energy state for everyone.

Most likely, as a child, in a very natural unplanned way, you let yourself go fully into whatever was at hand. That is what you still do, in those wonderful moments of creative abandon when you have given over to the life energy that flows out of you from an internal source. Then the colors are brighter, the tastes sweeter, the air more fragrant and sounds around you create a symphony. You are not the exception; everyone has these experiences.

Perhaps your best ideas come when you are not even thinking about a solution to a problem. You’re trekking in the woods or watching a beautiful sunset and suddenly it’s there. It has emerged from deep within you. Or you look into the eyes of a tiny baby and see wonder and you are filled with the wonder of the mystery of life. Again, the feelings have emerged from deep within you. They have come from a deep inner fountain that I call the central core of your being. It is from this deep inner source that your light emerges. It is your divine inner spark.

Tapping the creative healing energies

All people can learn to tap into this deeper source within them. It takes practice to release the creative energies at will. The process is more one of getting inner obstacles out of the way than one of pulling up the creative energies. Once the blocks are gone, creativity flows up from deep inside like an artesian well. Any artist or writer knows the struggle to get over the creative or writer’s block. Once the block is cleared, the painting or writing flows like a stream. It happens to scientists trying to solve problems. All the data are put into the rational mind. The rational mind struggles to find the answer but cannot. After a good sleep, some dreams and some right-brain activity, the answer is simply there. The creative force has been released by an internal process of letting go, getting out of the way and allowing energy to flow.

The creative force is also released in times of crisis. It is then that we walk into the heroic. Everyone has heard of great feats being accomplished under crisis conditions, like a man lifting a car off a loved one after an accident. Or the mother who gets a strong urge to return home and arrives in time to save her children from danger.

The release of this creative force brings us to mastery in whatever is at hand. The process of healing is a process of releasing our creative force for the mastery of health and well-being. In fact, from my point of view and as we shall see in this book, much of illness is a result of blocking the natural flow of an individual’s creative energies.

Why we block our creative energy

As we go through the painful experiences of our lives, we automatically try not to feel the pain. We have done this since childhood. We cut off our physical pain by withdrawing our consciousness from the part of our body that is in pain. We cut off our mental and emotional anguish by tensing our muscles and repressing it into our unconscious. To keep it depressed in the unconscious (or sometimes just below the level of our conscious awareness), we create all kinds of distractions in our lives that take our attention away from it. We may keep ourselves very busy and become workaholics. Or we take the opposite route to couch-potato heaven. Lots of us become addicted to drugs, cigarettes, chocolate or alcohol. Many of us become addicted to being perfect, to being the best or the worst. We project our problems onto someone else and worry about them rather than trying to solve our own problems. We either misdirect or depress great amounts of energy in order to keep ourselves from feeling pain, including what we feel in the moment and being who we are in the moment. We think it works. We think that we can get away with not feeling or being who we are, but it doesn’t work. The price is great, but we even deny that there is a price. The price is our life.

We think the only possible way to stop all this pain is to stop the energy flow that contains the pain. There are specific energy flows that contain physical pain, emotional pain and mental pain. Unfortunately, this energy flow also contains everything else. Pain is only part of it. When we stop the negative experience of pain, anger or fear of any negative situation, we also stop the positive experience, including the physical, emotional and mental aspects of that experience.

We may not even be aware of this process, because by the time we have reached the age of reason, we do it habitually. We wall off our wounds. By walling off our wounds, we also wall off our connection to our deeper center or core. Since the creative process comes from the creative core within us, we have also walled off our creative process. We have literally walled off the deeper part of ourselves from our conscious awareness and our exterior life.

Frozen psychic time conglomerates

The pain we have repressed started very early in our childhood, many times even before birth, in the womb. Each time since early childhood when we stopped the flow of energy in a painful event, we froze that event in both energy and time. That is what we call a block in our auric field. Since the auric field is composed of energy­consciousness, a block is frozen energy-consciousness. The part of our psyche associated with that event also froze in the moment we stopped the pain. That part of our psyche remains frozen until we thaw it out. It does not mature as we do. If the event happened when we were one year old, that part of our psyche is still age one.

It will continue to be one year old and act as a one-year-old person when evoked. It will not mature until it is healed by getting enough energy into the block to thaw it and initiate the maturation process.

We are full of such energy-consciousness time blocks. How long, in any given day, does one human being act out of the adult self? Not long. We are continually interacting with each other from different frozen psychic time blocks. In any intense interaction, in one minute each person could be experiencing reality with the inner adult and in the next, either or both people could have switched to an aspect of the wounded child of a particular age. This constant switching from one aspect of internal consciousness to another is what makes communication so difficult.

A powerful aspect of such frozen psychic time blocks is that they coagulate together according to like energy, forming a frozen psychic time conglomerate. For example, the energy may be of the nature of abandonment. Consider a man in middle-age named Joe. (He’s really a fictional character, but his story illustrates those of many people I’ve worked with. To illustrate what happens at birth and can continue to build throughout life, I’m going to use Joe throughout this chapter. He could be any of us).

When Joe was born, he was disconnected from his mother because she had a rough time in labor and was given anesthesia. He was separated again when he was a one-year-old and his mother went to the hospital to have another baby. From these two life experiences, the child, who loves his mother very much, expects abandonment from the one he loves most. Whenever any degree of abandonment happens later in life, it is experienced with the same force of devastation as the first time.

From such deep trauma, we form an image conclusion. An image conclusion is based on experience — in this case, the experience of abandonment. It is based on child’s logic that states, “If I love, I will be abandoned.” This image conclusion then colors all similar situations. Obviously, one-year-old Joe is not conscious of having such an opinion. Instead, it is unconsciously held in his belief system and is carried throughout life. In terms of the psyche, the two early events also directly connect to an event when Joe was ten and his mother left on vacation. When any similar event occurs in his life, his reaction will be from the standpoint of the image conclusion rather than the immediate situation. This causes all kinds of emotional reactions that are over exaggerated given the present situation.

As we will see in later chapters, our image conclusions initiate our personal behavior, which actually tends to recreate traumas similar to the original one. Thus, Joe would have a lot to do with creating a situation where, for example, he is abandoned by a wife or girlfriend. His actions, based on his unconscious negative expectations, have helped set up the situation. Since he unconsciously expects to be abandoned, he will treat his wife or girlfriend like someone who would abandon him. He may place excessive demands on her to prove her love or even accuse her of planning to abandon him. This unconscious behavior will provoke her and actually help push her out the door. The real, deeper issue is that in treating himself as if he deserved to be abandoned, he has actually abandoned himself.

As we shall see, we should never under-estimate the power of our image conclusions. Finding our images holds the key to the transformation process into health and happiness. We are full of such images, around which our frozen psychic time conglom-erates assemble. We all have a lot of clearing to do.

Frozen psychic time blocks coagulate around like energy that composes an image, which confuses someone who thinks these experiences should be as separate emotionally as they are in time. It doesn’t work that way. Each smaller segment of the frozen psychic time conglomerate is composed of the energy-consciousness that was frozen during a particular past experience. But like exp-eriences are directly connected no matter how much time may have elapsed between them.

Through healing work, one of the small frozen psychic time blocks is released. The increased energy released into the auric field then, in turn, automatically starts releasing the other, small segments of the time conglomerate because they are of like energy. Going back to Joe’s story, as each time block is released, he experiences it as if it were happening to him right now. Thus, he may be experiencing pain from when he was thirty years old and as soon as that pain is released, he suddenly finds himself to be ten years old. Soon the ten-year-old becomes a one-year-old.

Once these pieces of the human psyche that have not matured with the rest of the personality are released, they begin a rapid maturation process. This process can take from a few minutes up to a couple of years, depending on how deep, strong and pervasive the frozen energy-consciousness was.

As these energies integrate evenly through-out the HEF and are released back into the creative process of an individual’s life, whole life changes occur. Joe’s life begins to restructure itself from the new consciousness that is now active in the creative process. He will no longer abandon himself in an unconscious effort to get taken care of. Instead, he will abide with himself, because he now believes that he is worthy of and can create companionship. Once he has developed this new relationship with himself, he will attract a girlfriend who does not carry the energy of abandonment. Thus the new relationship will be a stable one in this area. Of course it may take several practice runs before the “right woman” comes along.

Pain from past lives

A great deal of “past life” research has been done, both through literature search and through hypnotic regression. This research traces the origin of most chronic psychological pain back through previous life experiences. One extensive account is in Roger Woolger’s Other Lives, Other Selves. In his past life regression therapy, Dr. Woolger finds that once a client has relived and cleared the pain from a past life experience, they are able to clear similar present life circumstances that other types of therapy could not touch.

Past lives are also held within our frozen psychic time conglomerates. They also attract and connect with each other by similar energy. They are not separated by time, so they are directly connected to events in this lifetime as well as other lifetimes. It takes a bit more energy to break into a frozen event from a past life because it has been there longer and is covered with more debris, but it can be done in healing sessions. It happens automatically when the person is ready.

According to my observations of the human energy field during healing sessions, past life traumas always underlie the chronic present-day problems that are difficult to resolve. When traumas from this life are cleared to a certain extent through laying on of hands healing, the past life trauma that is buried under them arises to the surface to be cleared. This type of healing work is very effective in transforming a client’s life as well as his or her physical condition. Great changes always occur as a result of releasing past life trauma through hands-on healing. In this work, it is always important for the client to clearly relate past life work to present life situations, so that the entire conglomerate is released and is not used to avoid the issues of this life.

The origin of pain – your original wound

The origin of pain, from my perspective, is even deeper than energy blocked from personal pain or the phenomena called past lives. It comes from the belief that each of us is separate; separate from everyone else and separate from God. Many of us believe that in order to be individual, we must be separate. As a result, we separate ourselves from everything, including our own families, friends, groups, nations and the earth. This belief in separation is experienced as fear and out of fear, all other negative emotions arise.

Once we have created these negative emotions, we separate ourselves from them. This process of separating goes on creating more pain and illusion until the negative feedback loop is broken or reversed in personal process work. How to reverse this vicious cycle to create more and more pleasure and clarity in our lives is what this book is about. The key is love and connectedness to all that there is.

Love is the experience of being connected to God and to everything else. God is everywhere, in everything. God is above us, below us, all around us and within us. The divine spark of God is uniquely individual in each of us. It is God individually manifested. We experience it as our inner fountainhead or the core of our being. The more we are connected to God outside of ourselves, the more we are connected to and bring forth the individuality of the God within. When we are connected to the universal God and the individual God within, we are completely safe and free.

The creation of the mask self to mask our original pain

When we are born, we are still very connected to great spiritual wisdom and power through our core. This connection to our core and therefore to spiritual wisdom and power gives the feeling of complete safety and wonder. During the maturation process, this connection slowly fades. It is replaced by parental voices intended to protect us and make us safe. They speak of right and wrong, of good and bad, how to make decisions and how to act or react in any given situation.

As the connection to the core fades, our child psyche tries desperately to replace the original innate wisdom with a functioning ego. Unfortunately, the overlay or internalized parental voices can never really do the job. Instead, what is produced is a mask self.

The mask self is our first attempt to right ourselves. With it, we attempt to express who we are in a positive way that is also acceptable to a world that we are afraid will reject us. We present our mask self to the world according to our beliefs of what we think the world says is right, so that we can be accepted and feel safe. The mask self strives for connection with others because that is the ‘right’ thing to do. But it cannot accomplish deep connection because it denies the true nature of the personality. It denies our fear and our negative feelings.

We put our best into the creation of this mask, but it doesn’t work. The mask never succeeds in producing the internal feeling of safety for which we strive. In fact, it produces the internal feeling of an impostor because we are trying to prove we are good and we aren’t good all the time. We feel like fakes and we become more afraid. So we try harder. We use the best in us to prove that we are good (again, according to internalized parental voices). This produces more fear, especially because we can’t keep it up all the time, more feeling of fakery, more fear, in a building cycle.

The intention of the mask is to protect us from an assumed hostile world by proving that we are good. The intention of the mask is pretense and denial. It denies that its purpose is to cover up pain and anger, because it denies that pain and anger exist within the personality. The mask’s intent is to protect the self by not taking responsibility for any negative actions, thoughts or deeds.

From the perspective of our mask, pain and anger exist only outside the personality. We don’t take any responsibility. Anything negative that happens must be somebody else’s fault. We blame them. That means it must be somebody else that is angry or in pain.

The only way to maintain this masquerade is to always try to prove that we are the good ones. Inside, we resent the constant pressure we place on ourselves to be good. We try to go by the rules. Or if we don’t, we try to prove we are right and they are wrong.

We resent having to live according to some-body else’s rules. It’s a lot of work. We just want to do what we feel like doing. We get tired, we get angry, we don’t care, we blurt out negative complaints and accusations. We hurt people. The energy that we have held in with the mask twists, pushes, leaks and strikes out at others. And of course we deny that as well, since our intent is to maintain security by proving we are the good ones.

Somewhere inside, we enjoy lashing out. Letting out the energy is a relief, even if it isn’t clear and straight, even if we are not acting responsibly when we do it. There is a part of us that enjoys dumping our negativity on someone else. This is called negative pleasure. Its origin is in the lower self.

Negative pleasure and the lower self

I’m sure you can remember feeling the pleasure in some negative action you have done. Any energy movement, negative or positive, is pleasurable. These actions carry pleasure because they are releases of energy that have been stored up inside. If you experience pain when the energy first begins to move, it will always soon be followed by pleasure, because as you release the pain, you also release the creative force, which is always experienced as pleasure.

Negative pleasure originates in our lower self. Our lower self is the part of us that has forgotten who we are. It is the part of our psyche that believes in a separated, negative world and acts accordingly. The lower self is not in denial of negativity. It enjoys it. It has the intention to have negative pleasure.

Since the lower self is not in denial of negativity as the mask is, it is more honest than the mask self. The lower self is truthful about its negative intent. It doesn’t pretend to be nice. It is not nice. It puts itself first and makes no bones about it. It says, “I care about me, not you.” It cannot care both about itself and about another because of its world of separation. It enjoys negative pleasure and wants more of it. It knows about the pain within the personality and it has no intention whatsoever of feeling that pain.

The intention of the lower self is to maintain separation and to do anything it wants to do and to not feel pain.

The higher self

Of course, during the maturation process, not all our psyche is separated from the core. Part of us is clear and loving without any struggle. It is directly connected to our individual divinity within. It is full of wisdom, love and courage. It has connection to great creative power. It is the facilitator of all the good that has been created in our lives. It is the part of us that has not forgotten who we are.

Wherever there is peace, joy and fulfillment in your life, that is where your higher self has expressed itself through the creative principle. If you wonder what is meant by ‘who you really are’ or your ‘true self,’ look to these areas of your life. They are an expression of your true self.

Never take a negative area of your life to be an expression of your true self. Negative areas of your life are expressions of who you are not. They are examples of how you have blocked the expression of your true self.

The intention of the higher self is for truth, communion, respect, individuality, clear self-awareness and union with the Creator.

The importance of intention

The major difference between the higher self, the lower self and the mask self is found in the foundation of underlying intent upon which each is based and in the quality of energy present in any interaction that results from the underlying intent.

What is so confusing about a lot of human interactions is that they are different according to the intent behind them. The words that we speak can come from any of the three places of intent — our higher self, lower self or mask self. The words themselves may say one thing but mean another. The higher self means it when it says, “We are friends.” The mask self means, “We are friends as long as I am the good one and you must never challenge the illusion that I am the good one.” The lower self says, “We are friends only to the degree I allow. After that, watch out! Don’t tread too closely because I will use you to get what I want and to avoid my pain. If you get too close to me or my pain or try to stop me from getting what I want, I will get rid of you.” (In this case, get rid of means anything that it takes to stop the person. It might mean simply not talking to them or overpowering them in an argument or a power play or it may go as far as getting rid of them physically).

Defending or denying your original wound creates more pain

The more our actions that arise out of the core are distorted by the mask, the more we must justify our actions by blame. The more we deny the existence of our lower self, the more we depower ourselves. Denial holds back the power of the creative source within us. This creates a greater and greater cycle of pain and helplessness. The larger this vicious cycle of pain and helplessness gets, the greater the original pain or wound appears to be. It becomes covered with illusory pain of such imagined intensity that we become unconsciously terrified of it and will stop at nothing to defend ourselves against experiencing it. In our imagination, it becomes complete torture and annihilation. The more we justify staying away from it and not healing it, the more completely the original wound is buried and is not at all what we think it to be. 

From my experience as a healer and teacher, I have concluded that we create much more pain and illness in our lives and bodies by avoiding the original wound through our habitual defense patterns than the original wound created in the first place.

Our habitual defense system

In my experience, the way we constantly distort our energy field into our habitual defense system causes more pain and illness in ourselves than any other cause.

When I describe the human energy field later in the book, we will see how this avoidance creates dysfunction in our fields, which then creates disease in our bodies. Our habitual defense patterns can be seen in our energy fields as an energetic defense system. Our energetic defense system is our habitual pattern of distortion in our fields, to which we retreat over and over again. It correlates with the mask self.

The more we succeed in holding the pain and anger down inside through this defense system, the more our positive feelings are also held down inside. We get dull. Life doesn’t go the way we expected — it gets mundane and boring. Eros dies. We get caught in habitual vicious cycles and are unable to create what we long for in life. This also takes a toll on our body. We begin to lose faith in life.

Through our habitual process of walling out the pain, we also habitually wall out our deeper core. We have forgotten what it feels like. We have forgotten our essence. We have forgotten who we are. We have lost contact with our essential energies with which we create our lives. It is as if we expect ourselves to create our lives the way we want them to be, when we don’t know who the “we” is that is wanting.

The road back to the original wound

The only way to remember who we are, to create our lives the way we want them, to create health and to feel safe, is to connect fully once again with our core. There is only one way to do this. We find and observe our images and release the frozen psychic time conglomerates associated with them, so that we can go to the source of all images, our original wound. We must uncover our original wound. To do this means going through our defense system and clearing the negative feelings and all the layers of imagined pain around the original wound. Once we reach our original wound, all of life is different and we heal ourselves and our life. This is the transformation process.

There are many techniques to find the original wound. Regression using autosuggestion and using body posturing are two. Both of these techniques are taught in the classes during the training program at the Barbara Brennan School of Healing. By using these techniques, we are able to help students go to their original wounds together.

In one particular group exercise, the students let go of their defenses by taking the body posture that expresses what they think their wound is. To find the posture of their wound, they need only to bring their attention to the major emotional issues and pain they have now in their life and let their body react to them. This technique works because the pain is connected by like energy in the psychic frozen time conglomerate.

By intensifying their bodies’ reaction and by keeping their attention focused inward, the students’ pain is brought out and becomes progressively clearer. The result is always a roomful of very vulnerable people in pain. Their twisted and distorted postures clearly show their pain. Sometimes people stand on one leg with the other leg and both arms twisted up in front. Many have their heads bowed, while others lie on the floor curled up like small children.

In this exercise it becomes clear that the pain around present life issues is indeed the same as the pain experienced earlier in life. As the present pain is brought out, it also releases the older pain. To do this, the students continue posturing, while maintaining an intent to constantly focus inward and backward in time to the original wound.

They automatically regress, layer by layer, through the pain associated with the image around the wound. Even though this pain is strong and frightening, it is basically illusory because it is based on the illusion held in the image. To explain what I mean by illusory pain, let us look back at our example of ten-year-old Joe, who is devastated when his mother goes away for a week’s vacation. That is the way he feels, but it is not that situation that really devastates him.

By continuing to traverse through the illusory pain that is coagulated around their original wound, the students eventually go into their original wound. As they sink closer to the original wound, they are surprised that their pain decreases.

Once they are in their original wound, we ask them to keep its posture while moving close to another person, in order to make contact with another wounded human being. This always brings a reverence into the room. Everyone is wounded. Everyone is equal. The contact with each other creates a great deal of love in the room.

After the exercise is complete and it is time for sharing, interesting discoveries come forth. Students are usually surprised to see that their wound is not at all what they thought. They find that most of their pain comes not from the original wound itself but from defending the original wound. Very early on in their lives, they began defending against what they expected life to bring them according to their early image conclusion. Every time they defended against that image conclusion, they added more energy to their psychic frozen time conglomerate. Each time this was done, the illusion of the pain got bigger until they lost track of what the pain really was. All that was left was some unknown terrifying pain that was unbearable.

The most profound part of this exercise, according to the students, is to see how much time and energy we waste throughout our lives in defending our original wound. The deepest pain is self-betrayal. By doing this exercise, students can feel their very early decision to not act upon the truth of who they are, not to acknowledge and live by who they are. They can see that they made that decision time and time again. Throughout their lives, until it become an unconscious habit. That is a regular part of their defense system.

This experience gives them great freedom and an entirely different outlook on life. Life becomes a constant challenge to live by the truth and not betray the self. The greatest challenge in life is to stay connected to and express the core of our being, no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in.

This pain is not just in a few people — it exists in all of humanity to varying degrees. Some people are more aware of their pain than others.

The human condition: living in dualism

Each day we express our core to a certain degree. The degree of our expression is directly proportional to how firmly and clearly we are connected to and allow our core essence to come forth. The areas of our lives that flow smoothly, without problems and satisfy us fully, are those where we are directly connected to our core. Energies that come uninhibited directly from the core create great human works and great human lives. Energies that come uninhibited directly from the core create great health. They are the expression of our higher selves, the part of us with which we are born and that never loses its connection to the core.

We are usually quite shy about this part of us. Most of the time we do not show how much we care, how much we love and how much we long for in life. We cover it, we label it, we squelch it to a ‘reasonable’ degree of expression (according to internalized parental voices) and settle for less. This is ‘appropriate’ behavior or so we believe.

Sometimes when we are not vigilant we let go and out comes the creative force! A sudden act of kindness or expression of love or friendship that happens before we think about it is an expression of this core essence. A moment of close connection is made and love is released.

Then, not being able to tolerate the light and love, we become shy and pull away. It takes only a few seconds for us to catch ourselves in embarrassment and close off a bit. A sudden fear emerges seemingly from nowhere that says, “Oh, maybe I did the wrong thing.” That is the parental voice speaking, replacing the core. Under it lies the defense. It really means, “If you don’t stop this energy flow, you will probably feel everything, including the pain that I am burying for you.” So we stop the flow of our life-force, we contain it and dampen it. We bring ourselves back to the ‘normal’ level of ‘safety’ where we won’t rock any boats — least of all our own.

This is the human condition. We live in the duality of choice, no matter what our life circumstances. Each moment we choose to say yes to a balanced, powerful and safe undefendedness that brings about our full experience of life or we choose to say no. In our no, we defend against true balanced life experience and block out our aliveness.

Most of us choose to kill some of our aliveness most of the time. Why? Because unconsciously, we know that to let the life-force flow would knock loose the old pain and we are afraid of it. We don’t know how to handle it. So we retreat from the defense and go back to the old, seemingly adequate mask definitions of who we are. The internalized parental voices of the mask get stronger and we continue to retreat: “Who did you think you were any-way? God?” “Do you really think you can change things?” “Come on, be realistic! People don’t change. Settle for what you have.” “You’re greedy.” “You never appreciate what you have.” Or “If your parents had only treated you better. . .” “If your husband hadn’t done that. . .” “If only you would have been born more beautiful. . .” And so on! There are a million ways the mask can speak to keep you in your place. To a certain extent, it keeps you from feeling your pain. But in the long run, it creates more pain and eventually disease.

Illness comes from shrouding and disconnecting a part of ourselves from the core of our being. As we disconnect, we forget who we really are and live our lives according to our forgetting — that is, according to our mask, our lower self and our defense system. Healing is remembering who we truly are. It is reconnecting to our core in the areas of our psyche where we have disconnected from it and living accordingly.

To the exact degree we suppress our positive energies, we also suppress our creativity and our ability to maintain a healthful life or to heal ourselves.

It is the work of each of us to reconnect to our core and to heal ourselves.

The spiritual purpose of the original wound

We might ask, what is the cause or purpose of the original wound? The original wound is created by the fading of the connection between the newborn and its deeper spiritual wisdom within its core. Why, from the evolutionary perspective of humankind, would this take place? The answer lies in the difference between the core connection in early life and the connection gained through life experience. The early connection to the core is unconscious. The connections to the core that are made during the process of living are conscious. Adults’ connection to their core, which is brought about through life experience, creates conscious awareness of their inner divinity. Adults become aware that they are a spark of divine light in the universe. They are localized divinity. This evolutionary process creates more conscious awareness in our species. We are finding out that we are co-creators of the universe. The purpose of incarnation is the creation of awareness of self as divine co-creator of the universe.

Following our longing leads to our life task

Each of us longs to be, to understand and to express ourselves. This longing is the inner light that leads us along our evolutionary path. Taken to the personal level, this means that each of us is born with a life task to reconnect to the core of our being. In order to do this, we must remove the blocks between our conscious awareness and our core. This is called our personal life task. As we accomplish this, the release of our creative energies brings forth gifts from the core that we first receive and then share with the world. The gifts we give to the world bring about the accomplishment of our life task in the world. This world task unfolds only as we release our creative energies from our core. Thus we can accomplish what we wish to do in the world only by attending to our personal transformation process.

We are all wounded healers

We are all wounded healers. We are all very reluctant to become undefended, to become unveiled and to show what we have inside, whether it is positive or negative. We hesitate to show the pain or the wound that we each carry in our own way. We hide it in shame. We think we are the only ones or that our pain is more despicable than anyone else’s. It is just very difficult for us, unless we feel very safe. This is our human condition. It will take time for all of us to come out. And it will take a lot of love. Let’s all give each other plenty of space, time and loving affirmation. It is through this wound that we are all learning how to love. This internal wound we all carry is our greatest teacher. Let us recognize who we truly are inside. We are our beautiful core essence, despite the layers of pain and anger shrouding us. We are each individually unique and it is great that that is the way it is. Let us become wounded healers, helping each other to share the truth of our inner being.

We can find ourselves within a benign, abundant, life-supporting universe that is holy. We are carried in the arms of the universe. We are surrounded by a universal health field that supports and sustains life. We can reach out and connect to it. We can be and indeed are always, nourished by it. We are of it and it is of us. The divine mystery of life is within us and it is all around us.

You are your healer

It is you and only you who will heal yourself. You are completely capable of that. The process of healing a personal illness is, in fact, an act of personal empowerment. It is a personal journey, a rite of passage, designed by yourself as one of the greatest learning tools you will ever encounter. Your healing journey will, of course, include a consideration and use of all the best tools modern medicine can offer you, as well as the best tools holistic healing can offer you.

From a deeper perspective, illness is caused by unfulfilled longing. The deeper the illness, the deeper the longing. It is a message that somehow, somewhere, you have forgotten who you are and what your purpose is. You have forgotten and disconnected from the purpose of your creative energy, from your core. Your illness is the symptom: the disease represents your unfulfilled longing. So above all else, use your illness to set yourself free to do what you have always wanted to do, to be who you have always wanted to be, to manifest and express who you already are from your deepest, broadest and highest reality.

If indeed you have discovered yourself to be ill, prepare yourself for change, expect your deepest longing to surface and to be brought to fruition. Prepare yourself to finally stop running and turn and face the tiger within you, whatever that means to you in a very personal way. I suggest the best place to start to find the meaning of your illness is to ask yourself: “What is it that I have longed for and not yet succeeded in creating in my life?” I suggest that you will eventually find a direct link between this unfulfilled longing and your illness.

It is within this fundamental picture of health and healing that you can regain your health. I speak here not just of the health of your physical body, because that is actually secondary, but of the health of the spirit, the health of the soul. It is within this framework or metaphor of reality that all life and health issues can be dealt with. For life in the physical is to be lived in love, to develop our higher qualities and to become one with the divine. No matter what the circumstances of your life right now, that is what life is about. No matter what the pain, the problem or the disease, it is a teacher. It is a teacher of love and a teacher that reminds you that you are divine. It is the process of your Light Emerging.

Courtesy: Barbara Ann Brennan. Light Emerging. New York; Bantam Books, 1993, pp.3 - 12.

Barbara Ann Brennan is the founder and director of the Barbara Brennan School of Healing in East Hampton, Long Island.

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Energy healing


Human energy field






Creative healing energies




Early childhood trauma


Fear of abandonment




Healing the trauma


Past life regression




Human mask


Dumping negativity


Connecting to our higher self


Higher self






Releasing pain




Living in dualism


Feeling the pain


Inner core


Our true self