We, as aspirants to a more spiritual way of life, having overcome the baser elements of human nature, are confronted with subtler but equally dangerous forms of transgression, such as spiritual pride, self-righteousness, indiscriminate impositions of "service" upon our fellow men, intolerance, false judgments and harsh criticism, impatience and selfishness--the list seems endless. The path of attainment is never free from the temptation to sin, and each temptation to which we succumb to makes us more susceptible to illness.
Pain and sickness are caused by transgression of the laws of life. This is the Rosicrucian Teaching. It is what we learn also through experience, and what we must learn to recognize and transmute to effective use if we would avoid the hardships incurred by not heeding God's laws.
Let us take the first step, that of purity. It has been said that Christ's gospel could never have been delivered by one who was diseased. Likewise, it is certain that the healing miracles performed by Christ Jesus could not have been accomplished by one who was diseased. All healing results from an application of divine healing force which comes from the Father. The healing angels, the invisible helpers, and all who devotedly care for and pray for the sick, work with this healing force in one way or another. In the Rosicrucian Fellowship Healing Service we are told that a pure and strong healing force cannot be generated unless we keep our minds and bodies clean and pure.
Whether the healing force is impersonally directed for use where it is most needed, as happens during the healing service, or whether it is directed toward a specific individual, the instrument through which it is directed must be pure. As instrument tainted with impurities will compromise the power inherent in the healing force, so is a spotted lens unable to give a true picture.
The most pure and perfect earthly instrument ever possessed
by an evolving ego was made by Jesus. Only in so chaste a vehicle could the sublime Christ Spirit fulfill His mission of imparting the gospel of love and brotherhood and healing the sick. Only so chaste a vehicle could withstand the rarified vibrations of higher thought, wisdom, spiritual strength, and love brought to earth by this sublime being. Only so chaste a vehicle could transmit the divine healing force with such intensity as to bring about the healing miracles of Christ Jesus.
We too shall some day be able to apply the same measure of power in the great healing work and to accomplish the same kinds of cures that today seem so awesome. This will occur, however, only when our inner as well as outer purity becomes more like that of our ideal, Christ Jesus.
Now let us consider the second step of cooperation. If we request aid from the Invisible Helpers, we must bear in mind that the process of healing is not one-sided. We must be prepared to cooperate with the healing force that is being directed toward us. There are specific things we can do and specific things we should not do in order that the healing ministrations may be of utmost benifit to us.
Many people these days are coming to understand that certain foods are unhealthy and that prolonged lack of sleep can cause significant damage. Generally, however, we pay less attention to the potential effects on health of our thoughts and emotions. After they have taken their toll, we have no trouble remembering the headache brought on by a fit of weeping or upset stomach that plagued us after we got angry. If we constantly send thoughts of criticism, intolerance, hatred and revenge to others, we will harm ourselves more than we harm them. The attitude that prompts such thoughts
tends to harden our finer vehicles--a condition which in turn reacts adversely upon physical health. Obviously, it is just as important to cooperate with the healing force by sending out our most elevated thoughts and emotions at all times as it is to eat properly and get sufficient sleep. To cooperate with the healing force is to cooperate as best we can with Christ and with the Father, from whom, ultimately, healing comes. Christ Jesus, by words and example, has told us what we should do. We have but to look to His life on earth and strive to live so that our own lives are filled with the love and tolerance that He brought into the world. When we learn to do this automatically and consistently, we find ourselves cooperating with the healing force before we have need of it, because we will have learned to live right, thus insuring good health.
Fidelity is the third step to spiritual healing. The dictionary tells us that to be faithful is to be constant and loyal. It suggests qualities of stability and devotion, which are steadfast and enduring. James says, "The prayer of faith shall save the sick." Loyalty, devotion, and steadfast fidelity to the highest we know will weigh heavily in the scale for healing. What does this faithfulness imply? It implies that we live in awareness of what we are thinking, saying, and doing at all times. Faithfully we screen our thoughts and our words. Loyally we make sure that they are positive and loving. Steadfastly we treat others as we wish to be treated. Constantly we refrain from gossip and criticism. We know that negative thoughts and actions act adversely upon the body, actually weakening and destroying cells and tissues and disturbing normal functioning and regenerative processes. James further tells us to pray for one another" that we may be healed. When the desire to help and serve our neighbor is so strong that we are willing to forget ourselves in our concern for one another, we find that we, too, have benefited from our prayer. It is impossible to give "loving, self-forgetting service to others" without in some way reaping good in our lives. The constancy of our faithfulness in believing in the Christ and His Teachings and in practicing them in our daily living is a sure refuge. Gradually, as we grow in strength to live more closely to the highest we know, we find that we also have the strength to help others more effectively. As James also tells us, "the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." As we walk the path to purity, we are increasingly eager to develop within ourselves dependable, steadfast fidelity to the Christ within. That loyality and faithfulness will shine through us, illumining our lives and encouraging others to become faithful to the highest within themselves.
Forgiveness--To Forgive is to heal. This is our fourth step. "Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us." The quality of forgiveness is essential to right living. Forgiveness insures new beginnings. It implies that grievances are set aside and that we cease from nursing old wounds and holding grudges. It is a foundation of good health, for to forgive is to free ourselves of resentments that otherwise would impair our well being.
If we examine ourselves closely, we are likely to find an astonishing amount of debris in the form of resentments left over from episodes long past, of which we may be only vaguely aware, but which still gnaw at us. In order to be completely forgiving--completely free--we must rid ourselves of even the tiniest of these resentments and put them out of our minds forever. The principle of forgiveness pervades all nature. For instance, our bodies put up heroic defenses to contend with the flagrant abuses involving improper diet and
destructive life styles. After too much abuse, of course, our bodies do break down, but the amount of ill-use that is overcome sometimes seems incredable. Nature is not interested in punishment. Nature's whole purpose is to heal and make right again.
Retribution and re-venge rest on the principle that nothing new can be brought into a situation. Forgiveness, on the other hand, is founded on the idea of change and renewal. We do well, then, to discard unpleasant memories and build up our relationships with our fellow men on the basis of love and wisdom, forgiving everyone, including ourselves. Only in this way will we create the new conditions within ourselves that lead to permanent good health.
Harmony is the fifth step to healing. Health, essentially, is harmony. The process of healing is the re-establishment of harmony. When physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects all work harmoniously with each other, we are best prepared for our work in the world. Harmony in and among our individual vehicles, however, is but the manifestation of an underlying universal harmony upon which all cosmic progress is based. Harmony within ourselves parallels the broader harmony with God. When we comply with natural law, we are in harmony with the divine plan of evolution. Our energies are directed into channels in which they best serve us and all evolving life. We work smoothly with the higher powers to further the divine plan. At these times, our various vehicles and their constituent members work smoothly with each other.
When we disregard natural law, we are out of harmony with God and with ourselves. Our energies are directed into channels inimical to progress. Our physical organs and our higher vehicles become misaligned and at variance with each other, we work at cross purposes with God, and thus, are at cross purposes with ourselves. The Higher Self, the God within, is obscured by the lower nature, which follows its own renegade path. Illness is the inevitable result. If we would be healed, we must strive for harmony. Insofar as our conduct is in tune with spiritual precepts, to that extent may we expect to enjoy the blessings of good health. Our ability and our desire to express compassion, sympathy, kindness, purity, spiritual humility, and most essentially, our every endeavor at selfless service, all contribute to harmony.
Living Artistically is the sixth step on the path to spiritual healing. To live artistically is possible only when one's consciousness is attuned to the divine laws governing art in human relationships. This attunement grows out of the constant application of spiritual principles to the daily experiences of life. Before one can impart the artistic touch to his relationships, he must have within himself love for and faith in humanity. He has faith in others because he has faith in himself--faith in the God within himself. If one knows within his own soul how to contact a power greater than himself, he also knows it is possible for every other person to do the same thing. A person who cultivates God-consciousness develops the ability to see and hear intuitively. In other words, he sees and hears more acutely than he hitherto did. His relation to others takes on an artistic spiritual quality. He oftentimes blesses others without being conscious of it. He finds a willingness growing in his heart to see the best in his fellowmen. He sees a vital human need in a mere gesture or an apparently careless remark. Then, with artistic finesse, he gently helps a fellow human being on his way. Every individual has a fundamental desire to come up out of ugliness into beauty--to grow and unfold. This desire may
remain latent for a time, but eventually it will manifest, blossom, and bear fruit. Ours is ever the privilege of living artistically and helping others also to weave a life tapestry glowing with the radiance of obedience to divine law.
FULFILLING CONDITIONS is step seven. "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind . . . Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thy self" (Matthew 22:37, 39). As we learn to abide in the consciousness of Christ, we find it becoming easier to fulfill the conditions of loving God and our neighbor, and this also has a bearing upon health. The love which we feel within and which we send forth has its effect upon our surroundings. It has an even greater effect upon us. It is a well-known fact that anger adversely affects digestion and that many bodily ailments are initiated or aggravated by a variety of negative emotions. In rebellious moods, we sometimes question how we can be expected to love one who seems so unlovable. Upon further thought, we discover that as a matter of self-preservation alone, we have no choice. In the knowledge of our unity with one another we find that the object of our hatred is truly one with us, and we are hating part of ourself. When someone wrongs us, he is the one who must suffer the consequences of wrongdoing. If we respond to the act with resentment, discussing it with others and considering ways of retaliation, then we make it our problem too.
Instead, if we bless the offender, sending him love, it not only protects us, but may be the means of lifting our brother. What greater service can we give? Little or temporary relief is all we may expect when we ask for spiritual healing--unless we are willing to fulfill the conditions outlined for us by the Christ.
Silence is the eighth step in healing. In the past, when life was lived less intensely than it is now, many people realized the value of maintaining silence for at least a certain amount of time each day. They knew that it is necessary for the ego to turn periodically within and shut out all else. In these more hectic, stressful times, noise is the order of the day, and silence is at a premium. Today, more than ever, we need rest from the clamor of the world. We can most effectively analyze our thoughts, chart the course of our aspirations, and commune with the highest, when we are alone and all is quiet about us. Elijah, we must remember, did not receive an answer to his problem when the storm was raging or during the turbulence of earthquake and fire. Only when the sounds of destruction and disharmony had ceased did the "still small voice" issue its commands to save Elijah's life. Sick people have an even greater need for solitude and silence, which is medicine for the spirit The patient who is conscientiously trying to fulfill his role in the healing process finds that daily meditation is an imperative. Quietness is an essential condition for creative thought, and is particularly important when we are in need of healing and seek to commune with the Christ within--the source of our creativeness. The "eternal perspectives" essential to an expanded, more abundant mode of life are discovered and retained only amid peaceful surroundings. If we are harassed by the noise of the world, we are imprisoned in the world. But the "sounds of silence" offer us the dimension in which we may aspire and the serenity with which we may begin to restore and maintain our health.
Gratitude is the ninth step on the path to healing. Gratitude is most essential to healing because if we humbly accept all that comes to us without question, we will
receive the help we are seeking. It is the open door to pardon, if we completely surrender to His will. Max Heindel tells us that our whole life should speak forth our thankfulness. Every condition and place we are in should be a witness of our thankfulness. Some people demand perfect health and claim they have a right to it. They forget that either in this life or a former life they have disobeyed nature's laws. Through suffering they have to learn obedience. When they have mastered nature's laws and are willing to sin no more, their right to health will be restored. The annually recurring event of the birth of the Cosmic Christ is hallowed by the accumulated righeousness of men and women everywhere. Each Christ-mas time, the density of the earth's body has become lessened in proportion to the spiritual advancement made by humanity during the past year. The great spirit of Love becomes less shackled with each succeeding Holy Birth. We hasten Christ's liberation by reverently beholding God and His Laws and by receiving Him into our hearts, minds, and lives, freed from the pain of sin.
What is spiritual healing? Spiritual healing consists in raising the vibrations of the various vehicles of a person to such an extent that all crystallization is broken up and these vehicles are enabled to properly perform their function. There are various methods of accomplishing this vibratory elevation. Contact with a highly spiritual person may bring it about, inasmuch as this person may act as a channel for the higher spiritual forces, which are inducted into the organism of the patient. The Rosicrucian method of healing enlists the beneficent energies of the Invisible Helpers, who, working on the invisible planes, manipulate the finer vehicles of the patient and direct the healing force to him as required. Prayer, if coupled with intense desire, makes contact with the Christ healing force from the World of Life Spirit, and draws this force down for the healing of the mind and body.