With my book about my 1985 healing selling well, calls from around the Northwest and California had begun, asking me to give workshops, or talks at conferences. I agreed to do a weekend workshop in a woman’s home on Lake Washington for ten women who had breast cancer in various stages. They wanted to know more about miracles, particularly my path to healing.
We began with going around the circle to introduce ourselves. At least half the group said they had Stage IV breast cancer, meaning a large tumor, or one that had metastasized to other organs or bone. Everyone present was currently in, or had recently completed, traditional medical treatment which included surgery and/or chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy—sometimes all three, which had been true in my own case. Several wore knitted “chemo hats” to cover their baldness.
We settled in for a brief meditation and prayer to “Spirit,” the name I had begun to use for the many names of the Divine Unknown—Source, Higher Power, Creator, All That Is, Unfathomable Intelligence —without offending people of a non-Christian persuasion.
Brenda was first to ask a question. “I’ve read your book. Can you teach me to do what you did?”
Pretty much what Tim wanted from me. “Teach me how to do what you did.” I had told him I didn’t know how. But this workshop was not going to let me off that hook. I would have to do my best.
I began with a summary and review of the five stages from the book—Denial, Taking Charge of Your Treatment, Taking Charge of Your Lifestyle, Taking Charge of Your Attitudes, and finally, Acceptance.
Amy chimed in. There’s a lot of taking charge going on, but then you end up with something that sounds pretty weak—acceptance. How does that work?”
“In my case,” I answered, “I had to manage my life and my treatment myself, before I was ready to accept what was happening to me, and the failure of all my attempts to manage or control the outcome of my disease. As I discussed in the book, it took a couple of years of intense spiritual study and practice to get to the point where I could finally trust enough to allow Spirit to have a go at it.”
These early questions got the workshop off to a fast start, with everyone willing and eager to go deeply into their own spiritual beliefs and limitations. My energy was high—after joining with Jesus I often felt a new kind of power—as if I could do anything I set my mind to.
We talked about the importance of joining in common purpose to achieve anything important—raising a child, building a business—especially important to achieving a miracle. I described how Jack and I had realized early in my illness that we had to join in common purpose for my healing, to counteract and overcome the joining of the doctors who didn’t believe I could get well. I described how we told each other “out story,” how we prayed together, each in our own way, and held our truth to be constant and unwavering.
During the first morning break, I went into the bathroom. When I walked under the floodlight, it exploded. I told the hostess about it, so she could sweep up the glass. She was puzzled…what could cause a floodlight to explode? Deep inside, I already knew. I had felt it. Exploding the light bulb had come from me, my own high energy, shooting out the top of my head.
After a catered lunch in the home’s spacious dining room, we meditated and prayed together until we were in an altered state, a state of high energy. We began the afternoon discussion with the necessity for forgiveness, facilitated by a miracle: “A change in perception,” as defined in A Course in Miracles.
Brenda’s question had to do with the simplicity of the definition. “Is that all it takes to forgive someone? Changing your thoughts or beliefs?”
“Well…our perceptions are based on thoughts, beliefs, misunderstandings, past hurts, and so on,” I responded, “but I find I always have to ask for Divine help to facilitate my change in perception. My favorite prayer after some shock or trauma or insult or disappointment or attack is, ‘Please help me to see this differently.’ And usually by the next day, I get a whole new perspective on the event or person.”
In the middle of a discussion about asking for Divine help, we heard the loud sound of an engine and all looked up to the wall of plate glass that faced Lake Washington. A small white single-prop plane with a red nose was headed directly toward the window wall. We could see the pilot clearly in his shoulder harness, struggling, unable to control his plane. He was so close that we could make eye contact and see the terror on his face. “Help him turn the plane!” I shouted. We focused intensely on the pilot, some praying aloud. At the last possible second, the plane just yards from the window, the pilot wrenched his control yoke, got the plane into a 90 degree turn and roared off low along the water’s edge. We could see a bright red stripe all along the side of the plane from the red nose to the tail, no landing gear visible.
I sank into a chair and sat, stunned, speechless. Brenda spoke, her voice soft with awe. “We’ve just seen a miracle!” There was a murmur of agreement from the other women. “No,” Sally said. “We created a miracle, with the power of our focus, our intention, and our heartfelt prayer for Divine help.”
The rest of the afternoon was spent in intense and energized discussion of that power, which most now felt within themselves. The possibility of a miracle of healing was suddenly real, and available. Their bonding with each other in their common goals deepened and expanded.
On my way back to my motel a couple of hours later, I slowed to a stop when I saw emergency vehicles and a police officer directing traffic away from the beach. I rolled down my window.
“What’s going on?” I asked.
The officer leaned into my window. “Guy crashed his airplane on the beach, coupla hours ago.”
My skin shriveled and prickled. “Was anyone hurt?””
The officer took off his hat and scratched his head.
“No, that’s the amazing thing. There’s not much left of the plane, but the guy walked away without a scratch. Wouldn’t even let the EMTs check him out.”
He gestured down toward the beach, where a small crowd wandered around a mangled mess of crushed, twisted white and red steel.
Shaken, I drove on to my motel and took a very long, hot shower to cleanse and refresh my aura/energy field. Sat down to watch television. Couldn’t find the remote. Idly, I pointed my finger at the set. The TV turned on. I pointed again. It turned off. No remote needed, apparently, with the energy level I was operating on, which seemed to be a matter or quantity, rather than quality. The purpose didn’t have to be refined, or holy. The energy was just there, ready to be directed.
I sat to meditate, and felt myself settle into a more relaxed state of readiness and insight.
There was no doubt in my mind that the combined energy of the women in the workshop had allowed a pilot to regain control of his airplane, briefly, and avoid hurting anyone, including himself.
I gave thanks, and acknowledged that my “helper” Jesus must have had a lot to do with the minor and major miracles of the day. Apparently this power surging through me could express itself in a meaningless way without my knowledge—blowing out a light bulb—or it could be used for the trivial—to turn on a TV, or with focus and intention, could be used to avert the tragedy of an airplane crashing into a house filled with people. The whole set of events of the two days was frightening. What was I to make of it all?
I continued to meditate, and heard my inner voice clearly. “Power is infinitely and always available, but to be used appropriately, it must be channeled for a high purpose, joining with others in common purpose.”
There was that phrase again, “Joining in common purpose.” As we had done in focusing the intensity of our purpose on the out-of-control pilot and his plane.
By the end of the workshop the next day, the women present felt they had developed a new awareness of the possibility and probability of miracles, and their own power to facilitate healing. They had seen a miracle! They had created one! There was a tangible bonding among the women, who shared a common challenge, and now, they agreed to join in common purpose, to help each other heal. They each chose a partner, exchanged phone numbers, and made a plan to agree on a goal for each of them, to meet and/or call regularly, and to pray for each other.
Anything seemed possible now. We had not come up with a formula, a method, or a process to guarantee a healing outcome for anyone, but we had agreed we could at least surrender to the mystery of a benevolent unknown, even when all the circumstances seemed to conspire to discourage. And we could agree to join with each other, to pray for each other.
On the long post-workshop drive home, doubt began to creep in.
Some of the participants, as I had a dozen years earlier, had had trouble with the final step in the miracle they sought for themselves. Healing had seemed simpler when I was working on healing myself. Then, after years of fighting a death sentence, I only had to take the final step, which turned out to be almost impossible: well beyond Acceptance, I had had to join with and surrender to, a Higher Will, which meant giving up my own fierce fight, my own stubborn determination, my own will. And to do that, I had to believe that Spirit (my own Higher Self, joined with the Source/God) had only my best interests at heart. Finally, when the chips were down and all other options had been exhausted, I did. Because I had, it had been easier to suggest this possibility to the people in my workshop.
In my final discussion with the Lake Washington group, I had emphasized that everyone chooses their own unique path to healing, and mine was only one of the possibilities. But my brother Tim? How could I suggest that he Surrender, when he might interpret that to mean Give Up? Very different concepts. To give up meant to become hopeless and helpless, inert, waiting for death. To surrender meant to hand over the whole healing project to a Higher Will that had only one’s best interests at heart, and to trust, to know that healing would be accomplished, whatever form it took.
What if Surrender wasn’t possible, or even necessary, for Tim? Then, what did I have to teach him?
In the workshop we hadn’t talked about bringing in another person to facilitate healing. All of the women were in traditional treatment, and a few had had Reiki treatments. Why hadn’t I tried to use my Reiki training, or my new joining with Jesus, to do some hands-on healing?
I didn’t know. I only knew that I was deeply aversive to the prospect of taking on responsibility, at any level, for another person’s healing.
Maybe, I realized, Jesus’ promise had involved only Tim. Yet, I could heal Jack’s knees.
Perhaps, I had facilitated healing in each of the participants through my own perception of them as healed and whole. I couldn’t know, and probably would never know.
But I was a believer in Divine power to heal. Were they? Perhaps they believed in me, or in my miracle, rather than their own power to change their perception of what was going on in their bodies.
Driving home, I began to question my vision of Jesus. I had had other visions at other times that had given me immense comfort and hope. But Jesus? Offering to help me?
Amid my doubts, I prayed for more miracles: forget about turning on the TV, just heal Tim! And I prayed for help to overcome my intermittent unbelief.
A few days later, at The Healing Place, I sat at the kitchen table with my friend, John Miller. He had been teaching about healing for many years, using the writings and teachings of Joel Goldsmith, a mystic who died in the Forties. I complained to John that for the last few weeks I had experienced constant back pain. He set his coffee cup down, closed his eyes, and was silent for four or five minutes. “How odd,” I thought. “He just checked out.” I drank my coffee in silence, and waited.
When John opened his eyes, he picked up his cup and went on with our conversation. I started to describe the location of the back pain, then realized it was gone. For the first time in weeks, I was pain-free.
“What did you do?” I asked John. “The pain is gone, and I know you did something to make that happen. I really would like to understand how that’s done.” For Tim.
“I did nothing,” John replied. “I simply healed my mind of the perception that you were in pain. I didn’t accept the truth of what you were saying. I saw the truth about your back.”
“It is whole and helpful, doing its job of holding you up, not causing you pain.”
“But…say more about healing your own mind rather than mine.”
“You were the one with the idea of pain. If I accepted that pain as true and natural I would be joining with you in that idea. As you know so well, minds are joined, and no one is healed alone.”
“So you didn’t accept my belief in my own pain?”
“I didn’t. I joined with that part of your mind that was healed and whole and knew the truth. I healed my mind so as not to join with your perception.”
I sat silently for a while, taking this in. I had just seen—experienced—the miracle of joining in common purpose.
Could I heal my mind of the perception that Tim was very ill, in pain, and likely to die?
I leaned forward across the table. “John, have you been able to actually heal people? Besides me, I mean. Very sick people?”
John’s voice was gentle and quiet, as it always was. “People have been healed, some of them from deep illness. I give no credit to myself as healer.”
God does the healing.”
“Sometimes people are not ready to be healed. Sometimes it takes a long time for them to be ready.”
“You changed your perception of me as being in pain…” I said. “…that, in A Course in Miracles, is defined as a miracle.”
“And so defined in many other places, using many similar descriptions,” John said. “It’s ancient wisdom. The definition of the miracle as a change in perception, I’m told, was taught in the ancient Mystery Schools.”
There was so much about healing that I didn’t understand. I had only touched the tip of the iceberg. Or perhaps it was that simple: the sick person need only change his/her perception of themselves as sick. A would-be healer can help only by having this same changed perception.
But what if one of the two didn’t really believe it?
John had just demonstrated to me that for healing to occur, only one mind was required, joined with Spirit. My participation had not gone beyond drinking my coffee.