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Healer as Hero or Pilgrim

Healing is a universal quest that traverses the realms of the physical, emotional, and spiritual. In the tapestry of human experience, two distinct paths emerge and are available to us —the Heroic and the Pilgrim approach to healing. While both paths seek restoration and possible transformation, they embody very different philosophies and potential differences in their therapeutic approaches. Healers across time have had an opportunity to pursue one, or both of these approaches. However, the modern allopath with their increasingly powerful armament of scientific weapons has become increasingly identified as a ‘healing hero’ who engages the pathological enemy in a battle of life and death. It seems that the ‘patient’ has been rendered a spectator in this heroic battle, bereft of any sense of their own capacity to heal. The heroic healer is inevitably  lauded in victory, but derided in defeat.

It is important to recognize that both the heroic stances and the pilgrim stance have utility in different circumstances. The healer must be consciously aware which stance they are assuming, and in what proportion. It should be a one or the other stance. A patient who has sustained bodily injuries in a fall demands that their healer first assume the heroic stance. A mother who is grieving the loss of a child requires that their healer assume the pilgrim stance.

So, what are differences between a heroic approach and a pilgrim approach in healing:

The Heroic approach to healing is characterized by action, confrontation, and external conquest. Drawing inspiration from the archetype of the hero’s journey, this path involves:

1. Confrontation of Adversity: Heroes confront challenges head-on, facing adversaries and obstacles with courage and determination. In the realm of healing, this may manifest as aggressive medical interventions, heroic surgeries, or bold therapeutic modalities aimed at overcoming illness and adversity.

2. Mastery Over Nature: Heroes seek to conquer and control the external world, often viewing nature as a realm to be conquered and harnessed for human benefit. This mindset may lead to a reliance on technological advancements and scientific breakthroughs to combat disease and restore health.

3. External Solutions: The Heroic approach tends to prioritize external solutions to healing, such as medications, surgeries, and external interventions. While effective in addressing acute conditions and emergencies, this approach may overlook the deeper psychological and spiritual dimensions of healing.

4. Defined Goals and Outcomes: The Heroic approach measures its success on defined and measurable outcomes.

5. Fueled by the Experience of Mastery: The approach is fueled by the belief that the healer is the master of nature, and not its servant.

6. Healed By Me: The Heroic approach believes that the healer is responsible for the process, and its outcome

7. Restoration of Function: The Heroic approach can restore function, but does not create transformation

8. Wear Masks: The Hero wears a mask to conceal their humanity, and protect themselves for unmanageable experiences.

9. One-Way Healing: The Heroic approach experiences that change only occurs in their identified patient.

The Pilgrim approach to healing is characterized by inner reflection, surrender, and acceptance. Rooted in the archetype of the pilgrim’s journey, this path involves:

1. Inner Exploration: Pilgrims embark on a journey of self-discovery, delving into the depths of their psyche and soul to uncover the roots of their suffering. This inner exploration may involve practices such as meditation, mindfulness, and contemplation to cultivate self-awareness and insight.

2. Harmony with Nature: Pilgrims embrace a harmonious relationship with nature, recognizing it as a source of healing, wisdom, and interconnectedness. Nature becomes a sacred space for reflection, renewal, and connection with the divine, fostering a sense of reverence and stewardship.

3. Holistic Healing: The Pilgrim approach emphasizes holistic healing, addressing the interconnectedness of body, mind, and spirit. Practices such as Ayurveda, traditional Chinese medicine, and indigenous healing modalities prioritize balance, harmony, and alignment with natural rhythms.

4. Qualitative Outcomes: The Pilgrim approach does not attempt to define success, only relationship.

5. Fueled by Humility and Reverence: The Pilgrim approach to healing recognizes that the healer is the servant of nature, and not its master.

6. Healed through Me: The Pilgrim approach recognizes that the healer is the facilitator of healing, not the creator of healing.

7. Regenerative: The Pilgrim approach facilitates the transformation and the emergence of the individual’s greater potential.

8. Manifest Their Humanity: The Pilgrim approach is not afraid to display its humanity, including its vulnerability.

9. Healing is Always Reciprocal: The Pilgrim approach recognizes that the process of heling will always generate changes in all the parties involved.

“On the way of the pilgrim, the destination is not as important as the journey itself, for it is in the journey that we discover who we truly are.” – Unknown

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