Spirituality for Skeptics

I've always said I tend to straddle the woo woo fence. I'm a bit of a skeptic, but I also have experienced first hand the powers of alternative healing methods. The skeptic in me has hesitated to share too much on the spiritual or alternative healing front, but as I finished my Reiki Master training with Samantha Brown, I realized that since these have been a major aspect of my own healing I would be doing a disservice not to share my own thoughts on this topic. I share a bit more of my own personal healing journey on this week's podcast on Embracing the Woo. 

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Last weekend I went to the World Domination Summit and it struck me that while some of the speakers were self-proclaimed skeptics and some were highly spiritual in their approach - they all had more in common than different and that was in their desire to change the world for the better. 

Here are some reasons I personally lean towards spiritual and alternative healing methods:

We are a connected to something bigger than ourselves. One thing that I believe everyone who wants to change the world for the better would likely agree on is that we are connected to something bigger than ourselves. Whether that is an empathetic or humanist connection to other living beings or a connection to a higher power, if we didn't feel a connection outside of the self we would not be moved to help others. For me spirituality is in essence connection. 

We are moving toward a more holistic approach to healing. Once we relied on folk remedies and other holistic forms of healing. The advancement of medical science has saved and extended lives, but the western medical model has become very symptom focused. Recently there has been a trend toward a more holistic approach that looks at more than just the presenting symptom to see how everything connects. 

I have personally experienced the power of human energy. When I was young and in a group of people where we were asked to hold hands, I remember some people had this prickly feeling in their hands. In high school, I met a friend who had had a very tough past and come out of juvenile hall, and holding his hand felt very similar. When I do Reiki, this is how energy imbalance feels to me - a prickly feeling in my hands that almost feels like my hand fell asleep and is waking back up. I am also prone to headaches and other physical issues when I'm around a lot of challenging energy.

Spirituality is not the same as Spiritual Bypassing. I think one of the things that has kept me from using the word "spiritual" in the past has been this idea that somehow spirituality means always being positive and at peace.  Pushing away the negative to focus only on the positive is known as spiritual bypassing. The spiritual leaders that I admire most are in touch with their shadow side and feel very "real" and down to earth to me. 

When we focus our thoughts on something, we tend to see more opportunities for it. Some people swear by the law of attraction and some people scoff at it. The way I see it, science has proven that when we think of something, we are more likely to see it in our environment. It would make sense then that when we bring our awareness to something, we start to see more opportunities to bring it into our life. This does not mean that we make affirmations and wait around for something to happen. Nor does it mean that if something bad happens, we brought it on ourselves. 

The placebo effect proves that our minds have influence on our bodies. One of the biggest arguments I hear from those who are against most alternative healing methods is that anyone who has success with that method is experiencing the placebo effect. Let's think about that for a moment - the fact that there is a placebo effect shows the incredible power our minds have over our bodies. If just the thought that something will heal us make us feel better, imagine what we could do if we harnessed the power of those thoughts? That said, I've had plenty of traditional western treatments I thought would help that never did and had more success with alternative methods, so for me whatever helps me feel better I'll try if it's not potentially harmful or too costly.

Us cerebral folks could use strategies to get us out of our heads. A friend of mine once said, any time you are focusin an entire hour on your own self-healing, you are probably going to feel better no matter what the modality. Those of us who tend to get all up in our heads all the time need tools to get us into our bodies more. I realized that while I talk about connecting with your body and some things that have worked for me, a lot of the tools I've shared thus far are cerebral in nature. One of the things I'm enjoying about Reiki is that I can use visualizations to clear blocks that the other person might not be able to put into words. 

I am currently working on ways to include more reiki and energy practices in my work. Having the space at Quinn Mountain Retreat, this will definitely involve more in-person connection. I will be starting 1:1 sessions when we get the room set up, and am planning some group classes and circles in the fall. I have a lot of ideas brewing, and am currently in prioritiation mode. 

I would love to hear from you, what tools or explorations would be helpful for you in your own healing journey?