When we suffer we experience pain. Whether it is mental, emotional, and/or physical, pain is a message that something is out of balance, that we are lacking harmony. Healing is the restoration of harmony.
In Taoism, everything is energy. Pain and stress arise when energies are off balance or when they clash. Taoism teaches how to achieve harmony. Balance or harmony is also important in Buddhism, which holds that the main disturber of harmony is the false concept of “self,” “I,” or “ego.”
Both philosophies prescribe the same cure: meditation.
Can meditation really bring about a process of healing? That was the precisely the question posed to the great philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti during a 1969 talk. He answered,
“Most of us have had pain of some kind – intense, superficial, or pain that cannot be cured. What effect has pain on the psyche, the brain or the mind? Can the mind meditate, disassociating itself from pain? Can the mind look at the physical pain and observe it without identifying itself with that pain? If it can observe without identifying itself then there is quite a different quality to that pain… The more you are attached to the pain, the more intense it is. So that may help to bring about this healing, which is an important question and which can only take place when there is no `me’, no ego or self-centered activity. Some people have a gift for it. Others come upon it because there is no ego functioning.”
Krishnamurti considered meditation “the natural act [that] brings about the harmonious movement of the whole.” Healing is about becoming whole.
The word ‘whole’ comes from the old English ‘hale’, which means to be in good health, to be whole and healthy. The original meaning of ‘whole’ implied “keeping the original sense,” “that which has also survived,” and “to heal.” The prehistoric German root of whole is also the origin of ‘heal’, ‘health’, and ‘holy’.
To heal means to be whole and to be whole means to heal.
I don’t think we should ever expect to achieve complete wholeness or perfect harmony. Because we are human beings, we will always be incomplete, imperfect. Completion is the journey of life, and perfection, an endless further.
But we can expect to heal. And naturally I am going to tell you that meditation, or what in the T’ien-t’ai/Tendai tradition is called kuan-ksin (Jp. kanjin), “observing the mind,” is a powerful healing tool on all levels – mental, physical, emotional, spiritual and social.
“Meditation develops your innate energies. With practice, you can take charge of your mind and body, preventing disease before it arises. Shouldn’t everyone make an effort to learn something like this?”
– Yin Shih Tzu, Tranquil Sitting