We view our desire to get rid of disease as a desire to live. But instead it is often just the opposite: it is an attempt to avoid life. Although we seemingly want to be alive, in fact we simply want to avoid intensity. It is an ironic twist: we actually want to be healed in order to avoid life. So the hope for cure is a big lie; it is the biggest conspiracy of all.
That quote is taken from The Heart of the Buddha by Chogyam Trungpa. I came across this after the where are you experiencing pain thread, and thought it would be a good one to post but since it wasn't a personal experience I've started this one.
Those are perhaps challenging words, but it does make a point: The pain is a part of being alive too, and not only that but it is a part of OUR life, a part of our existence.
Some people talk about healing in a magical sense, as when so-called healers put their hands on a sick person and miraculously heal them; others talk about the physical approach to healing, using drugs, surgery, and so forth. But I think the important point is that any real healing has to come out of some kind of psychological openness. There are constant opportunities for such openness--constant gaps in our conceptual and physical structures. If we begin to breathe out, then we create room for fresh air to rush in. If we do not breathe, there is no way for the fresh air to enter. It is a question of psychological attitude rather than of being taken over by external powers that heal us. Openness seems to be the only key to healing. And openness means we are willing to acknowledge that we are worthy; we have some kind of ground to relate with whatever is happening to us.
The role of the healer is not just to cure the disease; it is to cut through the tendancy to see disease as an external threat. By providing companionship and some kind of sympathy, the healer creates a suggestion of health or underlying sanity, which then undermines naive conceptions of disease. The healer deals with the mishandling of the gaps that occur in one's life, with one's losses of spirit.
Although I wouldn't call it psychological openness as that would tend to point to a gross state of mind and some little opening within that whole framework, the point is there is an openness of mind.
Now this is a very different idea of healing if you stop and think about it. It doesn't have to do with getting rid of the disease or changing anything. By saying there are constant gaps and opportunites for such openness, he is basically saying that underlying sanity is always there. Even when you are stressed out or feel down about your 'naive conception of disease', it is there. So this might be viewed as an invitation to look and notice that pervading openness, which can lead to a cessation in one's suffering, even if the disease is there. And yet one can see there would be a sense of ease in resting in that kind of sanity.
So the only intention here is to rest in that ground of sanity you might say, which is not so much an intention at all if you recognize it is always and already there - because you don't make anything happen to be there, it is more like stop and just rest. As far as I'm concerned that is what real healers do, and the real value of what they know is this openness, and being grounded in that sanity, a state of mind before cognitive complications. It's a matter of leading people to this rest, then they can employ any therapeutic techniques (which I distinguish from healing) naturally, instead of just throwing their bag of tricks at it.
It is a powerful thing to be at peace with the world.