Friday, January 26, 2007

Healing: paying attention

Last week I wrote about my worry that a focus on wholeness in healing tacitly presumes that we’re broken. And brokenness – the idea that we fall short of some ideal, that we’re imperfect, that we’re separate from the godhead – is intrinsic to a Christian worldview. If we focus on wholeness in healing, are we challenging the idea that we’re broken, or are we reinstating the duality of brokenness and wholeness? Should healing and wholeness be part of an ethics of Wicca?

Other religions treat the body as sinful, dirty, animal (and hence farther from god), or an impediment to enlightenment. As feminists have taught us, degradation of the body goes hand in hand with degradation of women. Wiccans honor what has traditionally been associated with women and hence degraded: nature, the earth, goddesses, children, our bodies, animals, dirt, blood, birth, change, death. These things are sacred to us. They aren’t a sign of illness or failure or sin. They aren’t to be fixed. Rather, we tend, honor, watch, and participate. What we could strive for as Wiccans, I think, is to see things for what they are and to promote greater flourishing. Not to fix, but to tend. I like that word, tending, as if the earth is a great garden from which we’ve never been expelled. It also makes me think of paying attention. I’ve learned from my few years in the mystery school that great healing occurs when people are given loving attention without judgment. Perhaps a Wiccan ethics of healing could be based on tending, attending, and paying attention.

How different would the world be if we paid attention to the needs of people who are sick or have disabilities, rather than trying to fix them or blame them? If we attended to death rather than ignoring or hiding it. If we tended a pregnant woman or a woman in labor rather than asserted our own agenda for her. If we paid attention to our elders. If we attended to the messages of animals and trees. If we regarded our own bodies with loving attention. If we each tended our sweet corner of the earth.

1 comment:

Deborah said...

I think of healing as a restoration to the original. We are born perfect and whole, and get broken or sullied by pain, illness, sorrow, etc.