The purpose of this blog is purely educational. It does not advise any reader to forgo medical treatment for any condition. It describes methods that have not yet been proven effective through widespread scientific testing. Readers who are concerned about their health are advised to contact their physician.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

How should healing be taught?

Why healing modalities become diluted over time

Bill Bengston and I had many conversations last year about the tendency of energy healing methods to become diluted over time and with distance from the originator. Many modalities show this pattern. Reiki in its original incarnation was very powerful: Mrs. Takata, who brought it North America in the 1930s, was reputed to have been cured of cancer and gall stones at a Reiki clinic in Japan, which is why she decided to learn Reiki and disseminate it. Now Reiki seldom produces such cures, despite Mrs. Takata's best efforts, and many practitioners are hardly able to generate more than a "little warmth" and a feeling of well-being (appreciated, to be sure, but hardly earth-shaking) in their patients.

Bob Rasmusson, from whose spontaneous ability to heal Quantum Touch was born, was able to push vertebrae around with a gentle touch of his finger, and thus align mis-shapen spines. His student Richard Gordon describes in his book miraculously straightening out the spine of a severely arthritic woman with QT, but it took him an hour and a half of hard work. I know one of Richard Gordon's original students who occasionally does brilliant healings with QT, but when I saw him treat a scoliosis, it remained completely unaffected by his efforts. There is clearly a progression (regression?) here. What was effortless for the master took quite a bit of work for his first student, and seemed a lot less possible for someone of the second generation.

Same with Matrix Energetics. Richard Bartlett can do mind-blowing things. It took him a while (years!) to train his first student, Mark Dunn, who finally mastered the technique after a dramatic "attunement" episode that is well worth reading about (see Richard Bartlett's book). But if you go on the Matrix discussion board now, you will find a great many questions from trainees and not much healing going on.

Which takes us to Bill Bengston's method. Bill in some ways is not the originator, but the first student. His mentor, Bennett Mayrick, developed the spontaneous ability to heal alongside a number of other "psychic" abilities. Judging by Bill's stories of him, Ben's ability to heal was prodigious. He was able to heal a deep cut on the spot, so that the skin was perfectly healed, as if the cut had never happened. He was able to heal very aggressive cancers in only a few treatments. On one occasion he cured a young woman, in a matter of a few hours, of incurable metastatic cancer that had spread to all her major organs (if I remember the story correctly). I do not know how Bill's ability to heal compares to Ben's, but I do know that those of us in the second generation, learning the method from Bill, so far have not been able to duplicate Bill's accomplishments in healing. A very few of us are able to approximate it, but duplicate it, no.

As I look at the pattern what comes to me is that in all cases the first student had the opportunity to spend a great deal of time apprenticing with the originator. I don't know how long Richard Gordon spent with Bob Rasmusson, but both Bill Bengston and Mark Dunn spent years apprenticing with their teachers. In contrast, more recent students are being taught in weekend workshops. As clearly even several weekend workshops do not duplicate years of apprenticeship experience, it makes sense that the second generation is less able to produce healing results. And going down the line, it would be from this imperfectly taught second generation that future teachers would come, so the dilution in the effectiveness of the original method is pretty much inevitable.

What about "cycling"?

There is also the question of how the method is taught. The originator develops the healing ability spontaneously. He doesn't sit down and think to himself: "I want to learn to heal. Now how do I go about this? What's step one? What's step two?" He just wakes up one day and is able to do it. Then when student number one comes along, the question arises: "how do I teach this?" The two of them together then pick apart what the master does and try to come up with a reasonable approximation. But keep in mind that the master doesn't really do anything -- what he does happens spontaneously without his conscious input. So the method that is developed is essentially an imperfect approximation of what the originator doesn't do to make the healing happen.

Bill Bengston teaches healing through a technique called "cycling." But his mentor Bennett Mayrick did not consciously need to go through the steps of this technique to become a healer in the first place. Bill questioned him extensively on what was happening in his mind while he was healing, and "cycling" was originally developed from this as a useful means of keeping the chattering mind/ego/left brain of the patient busy during treatment so it didn't interfere with the healing. Bill then used the "cycling" technique to teach his "skeptical volunteers" in the mouse experiments and since the volunteers then apparently healed the mice (or at least most of them did), he initially concluded that the "cycling" technique was sufficient to teach healing, but expressed some misgivings later in his paper "Can Healing Be Taught?" (for a discussion, see my earlier post "Resonance vs. Technique", toying with the idea that there might have been other factors at play in the success of the experiments, beyond the simple learning of a particular set of instructions).

"Cycling" in the workshops in my opinion allows Bill to transmit the essence of his healing ability. No one who has attended the workshops will question that something significant happens during the teaching, and no one to date has told me that they were dissatisfied with the experience. But the real test is not what happens in the workshops but what happens afterwards. After a year and a half of workshops we have yet to produce the full cancer cures inherent in the promise (and premise) of the mouse experiments. And it is not without significance that those of us who have come the closest, to my knowledge, are the ones who have had more than the workshop experience, including some one-on-one time "apprenticing" with Bill. Dilution happens when time with the teacher is supplanted by rote technique in an effort to streamline the teaching.

So it would seem that the original means of transmission laid down by the founders of the methods is still the best means of teaching healing. Weekend workshops are great to introduce the method to large numbers of people, but if we want it to be fully effective an apprenticeship program will be needed, along with a "school" where it can be implemented. This particular method of energy healing is too valuable to lose through dilution.

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