Because The Art of Spiritual Healing was the first book I edited at Llewellyn and because I was so interested in alternative healing (I try to avoid allopathic medicine if at all possible), it made a profound impact on my life. It shaped my understanding of spiritual health. I came to have a greater awareness of my body. It was like coming home to my true spiritual self—learning/relearning from editing Llewellyn books.
Specifics of The Art of Spiritual Healing
I changed my diet based on Keith Sherwood's recommendations. (How could I resist, when he personally instructed me over the phone to eliminate refined carbohydrates and use only complex carbohydrates?)
"Healing energy is always flowing through you. In this book you can learn how to recognize it and use it for healing yourself as well as those around you. Keith Sherwood wants each of you to understand that healing is for everybody!
"In spiritual healing, the patient is not seen as the victim of disease. His behavior, attitude, and lifestyle are viewed as important factors in promoting and nourishing the disease. As a result, the patient is always seen as the central protagonist in his own healing and is called upon to remain active rather than passive in spiritual healing. He is ultimately responsible for the healing of his own disease."
The Art of Spiritual Healing is presented in a no-nonsense, down to earth "hands on" approach. Keith has taken the mystery out of healing and has given us a very helpful reference book that we can "lay our hands on." Sherwood wants you to know that you can eliminate disease and enjoy health and happiness.
Every home and household should have this book on healing as a means to developing a basic understanding of how to rid people of disease.
Each person can and does have a tremendous, positive effect on his/her own healing and that of family members. Everyone can learn, step by step, how to heal one's own self and others. You do not need to be a victim of disease or poor health. You can take charge and rid yourself of all negativity. Through Sherwood's tested, case-documented, proven-successful techniques, you too can learn to be a psychic healer.
Sherwood's straightforward writing is easy to read. The contents of this book are easy to understand. After reading it, there is no reason why anyone who has the interest could not become a successful healer and dramatically affect your own life and those of others you choose to work with—and they don't even have to be near you or be aware of what you're doing! (You'll learn about those techniques in the chapter on Absentee Healing.)
Sherwood maintains that it is our state of mind more than anything else which determines how healthy we will be. We carry so many unnecessary fears with us, and have programmed ourselves with much useless and harmful negativity. In this book he tells you how to reprogram your thought patterns and overcome negativity, which causes disease, and reinstate positive visualizations in their place, paving the way for good health. Only by "paying attention," a special technique for developing deeper awareness you will learn to do, can a person come into tune with his/her own complex nature and his/her very special relationship with the Source of Healing.
Healing occurs on four planes. The highest is the spiritual plane, the residence of the ALL, the Source of Healing. Next is the mental plane, which is the level of thought and mind. Then comes the etheric plane which is the site of our emotions, and lastly the physical plane, the level of physical life and matter and the plane which most people think is all there is to life.
This book is based on the precepts of Hermetic philosophy, which is the bedrock or foundation on which our understanding of spiritual healing is built. Hermeticism can be summed up in the following concepts:
Healers have always understood that a negative mental state is the breeding ground for disease. Therefore, healers begin by counteracting disease on the mental plane by using positive affirmations. In this book you are given simple, proven-effective affirmations to use in healing. An example is: "I am complete in every way; filled with courage and inner strength." (p. 37)
Interpenetrating both the etheric body and the physical body is the mental body. It is the center of thought and along with the etheric body constitutes what is often called the soul. In working with the process of thought and the mental state, it is helpful to understand how the brain operates. It has been determined that there are four brain-wave frequencies: delta, theta, beta, and alpha.
Most of our waking hours are spent in the beta range, which is about 14 cycles per second. The beta level is associated with alert, rational, analytical behavior and concentrated problem solving. Unfortunately, the beta level is also the stress state. It has been discovered that negative feelings such as guilt, bitterness, jealousy, fear, etc., are found at beta. Eighty percent of most adults' waking time is spent in this state.
Delta is the slowest brain-wave frequency, occurring at 0 to 4 cycles per second. This rate is apparent during the deepest levels of sleep, in a coma, or under anesthesia.
Theta level is between 4 and 7 cps. This is associated with drowsiness and the assimilation of new information, day dreaming and periods of insight. It occurs during deep healing meditation.
The alpha range of brain-wave patterns falls between 7 and 14 cps. The individual is relaxed but aware, and the renewing and self-healing process is accelerated. In the alpha state, increased susceptibility to hypnotic suggestion and healing affirmations are enhanced.
Following are step-by-step directions taken from The Art of Spiritual Healing to enter the alpha/theta state, which is a necessary state of awareness for a healer to be in, and the most helpful state for a patient to be in to be able to absorb healing energy.
"Begin by finding a comfortable position, preferably with your back straight. Take several deep breaths from the abdomen; then close your eyes and relax. Closing the eyes immediately stimulates alpha/theta production. Continue breathing deeply and as you do, count slowly backwards from 5 to 1. As you count backwards, mentally repeat and visualize each number three times to yourself. This technique will enhance your ability to visualize, so take your time and let your mind be as creative as it likes. Remember, there is no right or wrong way to meditate.
"When you reach the number 1, repeat this affirmation to yourself: 'I am now deeply relaxed, feeling better than I did before.' Continue to breathe deeply and after a few moments begin counting backwards again, this time beginning with the number 10, exhaling as you mentally say 10. Take another deep breath, and, while exhaling, mentally repeat the number 9. Take another deep breath, and while exhaling, mentally repeat the number 8. Continue the process until you reach 1. By that time you should feel very light. Then pay attention to the subtle changes you feel within your body, within your emotions, and, of course, within your mind. Each meditation will be different and each time you meditate, you will learn something new about yourself. In meditation you open your energy centers and they will in turn permit more energy to enter your subtle energy system, so unconscious activity is increased.
The energy from the spiritual, mental, and etheric planes which we use for healing enters the physical plane through energy centers called chakras. These chakras are explained in the book with careful instructions on how to open and balance these energy centers, or wheels, and thereby facilitate healing. You can learn to open your chakras and feel the energy from the Universe, from the Source, the All, the I AM, flow through you. You can become a powerful healing channel and rid yourself of disease on all levels of being, and be of immense help in radiating energy to those around you who are in need of healing.
He discusses how to make use of prana, the vital force of absolute energy that we draw on with each breath, giving a complete technique on how to breathe properly based on principles the yogic masters use. Unfortunately, through the years, most of us have forgotten how to breathe properly, so Sherwood has included a time-proven Yogic method of deep, healthy, complete breathing. This type of breath removes toxins and carbon dioxide entirely from the body and thus makes room for life-giving oxygen and prana to enter and sustain you with its healing, vital energy.
Every human being has three auras—a spiritual aura, a mental aura, and an etheric aura. We have all heard about seeing the aura scientifically through he use of Dr. Kilner's special lenses coated with Dicyanin, a coal tar derivative, which has a unique effect on the eyesight. Sherwood fully explains how to see the aura under the right conditions without any artificial amplification. He explains what colors mean in the aura and how they relate to healing. For those who are unable to see the aura, there is a technique to learn so one can feel this important but usually invisible extension of the body, where disease is first manifested before it becomes apparent in the physical body.
In order to diagnose an unknown condition in a person you care to help, you must first understand what the problem is. In The Art of Spiritual Healing you are taught how to figuratively transpose yourself inside a person's body and then visually scan the entire system to see what is out of order.
You'll learn what the best times for healing are and how long and how often you should send healing energy.
The ancient therapeutic practice of laying on of hands is gaining new respect in the medical profession. A recent study at a New York hospital indicated that the effects of therapeutic touch go beyond the well-known placebo effect. Healers are gratified that the scientific community is finally catching up in their research and are putting laying on of hands into practice in many established hospitals.
Laying on of hands is as old as recorded history. Jesus employed laying on of hands. It is the preferred method of the vast majority of healers. It has been called the King's Touch and was used in medieval times in France and England. The Roman Emperors Vespasian and Hadrian had the gift. So did King Olaf of Norway and St. Patrick. From the time of the early Greeks, Hippocrates tells us, "It is believed by many experienced doctors that the heat which oozes out of the hand, on being applied to the sick, is highly salutary and assuaging."
Vibrational healing is very effective also, and when the healer has achieved the Central Pranic Vibration (p. 80), a unique change takes place in the healer's flow of energy from the Source of Healing, enabling one to become an effective channel for healing energy. Stroking is the next step. This is done by lifting the hands from the patient's body, keeping them within the etheric aura about two to three inches above the physical body. Then, with the hands apart and the fingers spread, making a long, fluid pass along the entire length of the patient's aura, leaving a "clean" area for positive healing energy to be transmitted through to the patient.
"The human body functions like an electric circuit. Energy flows through the nerves of the physical body, causing a slight magnetic effect which results in a weak polarization." The concept of polarization is also important in healing. This deals with the balance of masculine and feminine, positive and negative poles. In order to be an effective healer, your body must be polarized, and healing energy must flow through your positively charged or "masculine" hand. This book teaches you how to identify and charge each pole and facilitate the flow for healing.
Finally, you are given a simple regimen for maintaining good health using easy but time-tested techniques.
This book has proven its value with its steady sales. It has stood the test of time, and the information is still pertinent.
I again spoke with Keith Sherwood on a later occasion. This time he was in Cape Town, South Africa! He sure gets around. I asked him the most important ideas that came to mind after using his teaching principles for the past few years.
He said, "The Art of Spiritual Healing not only provides a detailed and comprehensive overview of how to heal and how to diagnose disease, but the techniques are designed to be safe. Considering the possibility of interacting with negative energies (some new techniques have questionable safety) these techniques are designed to be safe and effective. Both the healer and the patient are safe and secure in the process of healing."