06 May To cure or to heal? – The difference between curing and healing
As someone who makes her living as a “healer” I’ve always been a bit negative about the word “cure”. When I mentioned this to my friend she replied “why don’t you like the concept of curing? Surely if you are healed you are cured, the objectives are the same.” Well this got me to thinking so I thought id do some digging.
Given that I am a self confessed geek I am always interested in the dictionary definitions of words so I checked them out and interestingly enough where both the words “healing” and “cure” are obviously nouns the word “cure” is also a verb. It’s a doing word whereas the word “healing” is an adjective, a description.
Whilst very subtle that for me really sums up the difference between healing and curing. Cure tends to make me think of surgery and procedures. Things being done TO the body, not with the body.
So sticking with definitions for a moment according to the dictionary cure means the following “relief or recovery from a disease” or “to restore to health,”
Well it all sounds ok so far but here’s the problem “cure” means ” to restore to health” but as the human condition is a terminal illness resulting in death surely no one can be completely restored to health by nature of being alive. But even if they are given “relief from a disease” it is just that.. relief or in the case of drugs a changed perception of the situation. A headache tablet doesn’t take away the headache it just stops you feeling the pain.
The idea that a person gets ill when he is attacked from the outside has become a deeply entrenched Western belief thanks to Louis Pasteur who demonstrated that diseased tissues contained “bugs” which had to be destroyed to get rid of the disease. To destroy became the way forward. The endless search for invading organisms took on gigantic proportions. From bacteria we moved on to viruses, parasites, worms, and fungi.
Illnesses are not the result of a vicious attack by an outside aggressor but are internal imbalances. Bugs appear in diseased tissues from within the tissues itself, this has been demonstrated in laboratory conditions. Louis Pasteur even admitted this on his deathbed! There are no mysterious viruses that travel vast distances or lie dormant for decades before “attacking” the innocent victim. Illness has not so much to do with “out there” as it has with “in here”. This is proven time and time again with people who get one thing after another or the miracle cases who defy their prognoses and recover from a terminal illness
Healing also means restoration to health, but the word itself is based on a German word that translates as “making whole” which is not a feature of curing. Curing busies itself with situations or bits that have gone wrong, whilst healing seems to concentrate on the “wholeness”. When you restore something to a sound or normal state you do not necessarily have to restore it to its original state as described in the manual.
When we heal people, we very often notice that the disease does not disappear. Healing is not about “curing diseases”; healing is about “making whole”. In healing no one is fighting anything or anybody. There are no bugs or mystery causes to be destroyed. Being ill and being well are human concepts that keep enhancing duality. Healing is not about destroying; healing is about making whole. Healing therefore can take place in spite of illness or even death. Curing diseases doesn’t make people better. Making whole does.
“Come on” I hear you all shout “surely if you cured someone of their disease they are better”. Well no not necessarily. I work with many clients who deal with the trauma of dealing with these diseases and the side effects of medication and surgical procedures. Granted, a bowelectomy might save your life and get rid of cancer but the long term damage caused by a repeated terrible diet could mean that the cancer can come back. That might sound basic but you would be surprised at how little emphasis the medical profession put on dietary habits. Not to mention how the trauma caused by needing a permanent colostomy bag can be life shattering for some people. In these instances the only way to get back to being “whole” is through education, emotional release and lifestyle changes. This will eventually allow the person to be at peace with whatever emotional or physical scars they have and prevent further disease.
Curing also negates the option of seeing the silver lining in what appears to be a big black cloud. To completely trust in the process of life we need to see every situation as having a positive aspect. The great poet Rumi summed this up when he said “don’t get lost in your pain, know that one day your pain will be your cure”. I for one am thankful everyday for the three years I suffered with the terrible black cloud that was post-natal depression. Without it I’d never have discovered kinesiology and I’d still be working in an office.
“Curing brings you back to where you were . Healing brings you back to yourself “