In this, the 19th talk in his ‘Desire’ series, Irish spiritual author asks whether we are helpers or healers. Helping can he suggests be simply a power play in the world of culture, whilst healing is a flow of Divine Life through one wounded individual to another. Background music by New York singer-songwriter, Cyndi McCoy.
I have listened to the video by Dylan Morrison, in which he suggested that helping is not the same as healing. According to him, helping is generally accepted as a good thing, and yet it can be a way of maintaining power over others. He added that the more professional our helping becomes, the more sinister our missional mercy (?) become, hence the professional helping industry destroys the faith of the needy ones. He then offered a self-diagnosis of a healer/helper: that a healer is never busy as he/she occupies an almost timeless space, that we as a healer is filled with mutual respect when we see ourselves in the space of the others, that a healer doesn’t give the other person a superior “I know better” attitude, and that cultural differences are irrelevant in the healing space, where we in a mysterious psychic way become one. He said that there is no rivalry involved in healing, and when the way of desire flows freely between two hearts, a channel of divine love is established, and healing can also occur in a group that lives and moves in mimetic freedom. Such groups are usually outside of strong cultural influence such as organised religions, often comprising the walking wounded.
His message mainly resonates with me, as I was also reflecting in the similar vein. I have recorded my own reflections in my iphone diary dated 17 Jan 2013, in which I wrote some thoughts on helping:
Help is not really about the strong helping the weak. This attitude tends to lack empathy and may even breed an air of superiority. Help is actually about co-identifying and co-suffering with the other person. It involves empathy, understanding, compassion, grace and gentleness in the way we help others. It is also a way to acknowledge our own humanity and recognise we need help ourselves and we are helping ourselves while helping others at the same time. It is all about inter-being (to borrow a term by Thich Nhat Hanh).
Yes, this is especially true in volunteerism whereby many volunteers testify to the fact that whenever they do volunteer work in children’s homes, senior citizen centres, and so on, they often feel as if they are helping themselves to be liberated from their own problems or challenges in life. It is a demonstration of how we are all connected and one with one another, and each of us is an extension of the other, and vice versa.
Compassion is sometimes the fatal capacity for feeling what it is like to live in someone else’s skin. It is the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy for you too.