By Charly SHELTON
e’ve all heard the stories. Someone who meditates so deeply he can go days without food or water, or can walk on coals, or can even hover above the ground. And those who pray to their various gods for salvation, love, money, or cure from disease are answered through voices or have their pleas granted. There are case studies in which people who have incurable conditions are healed without explanation by science. These people have faith, either in the god they are praying to or the spiritual healer they are visiting, or even in themselves and the practices they keep that made them recover.
“[In some seminary classes,] it comes up that there have been certain documented cases where people have been in seemingly hopeless situations and they did get better,” said the Rev. Kirby Smith, vicar at St. Luke’s of the Mountains Episcopal Church. “We practice that whenever we go to hospitals or places like that, visiting people in need of prayer.”
Sifu Alan Lamb also works with the power of meditation as a Chi Gung healer. People seek him out for treatment as an alternative to western medicine and, although he doesn’t claim to be a doctor or traditional medical practitioner, he has seen positive benefits from meditation.
“In terms of meditation, I’ve seen lots of benefits. Generally, doing Chi Gung healing requires that you pass energy from yourself, you act as a conduit passing energy onto the other person. So you’re giving your life force but you’re also acting as a channel,” Lamb said. “But what you’re doing in the actual healing, you have to see it in your mind first. You have to visualize it, you have to see the person as being complete and whole and healed and that definitely increases the strength, so to speak, of the actual healing itself.”
The Rev. Smith has seen the power of prayer in his own congregation. Through a person’s own faith and devotion, and the collective prayer of the congregation, there was a more positive resolution.
“We had some people who were quite sick. We had [a congregant] who was diagnosed with cancer a long time ago and he just recently passed away,” the Rev. Smith said. “Something kept him going and certainly medicine was a definite part of that, but he was also a very spiritual person. He had an active prayer life and remained very faithful in his relationship with God. So I can’t help but believe that that did have an effect on his being able to live a little bit longer.”
But there is more to prayer and meditation than just actual, measurable results. Sometimes there is just no way around the ailment. There is karma to consider, Lamb said, and sometimes an ailment cannot be solved by outside forces, like a healer, or at all. The person must go through what they are going through and take the lesson from it to further their soul’s journey and learning. But taking the time to calm the mind and reconnect with themselves or their higher power has standalone benefits.
“Even if it doesn’t cure someone, it provides comfort and there’s a use for it,” the Rev. Smith said. “So I don’t think that even if someone’s wishes don’t come true or their healing does not occur, it doesn’t mean that prayer isn’t effective.”
For those who wish to start meditating but are unsure how, the Rev. Smith and Sifu Lamb have similar suggestions. Be disciplined about meditating or praying every day. Find some time to be alone and quiet, preferably in the morning. Sit comfortably and focus on breathing. Let thoughts come into the mind and examine them, then let them pass. Visualize what is wanted from meditation – if it’s money, feel the money in your hands, if it’s health, feel your body being alive and healthy and glowing. Call to your higher power or seek your own strength within yourself.
“But the thing about it is, you have to do it on a regular basis. Most people don’t have the discipline. They do it once or twice, they don’t see results, so they give up. It’s absolutely a lifestyle change,” said Lamb.
“It’s really just being quiet and being reflective intentionally,” the Rev Smith added.