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Why People Don't Heal

Beyond Caroline Myss

I just listened to a new presentation by health intuitive Caroline Myss on why people don’t heal. She’s discussed this before, but this was a concise and updated version of her views on the subject.

As I listened to her speak, I felt uncomfortable. It wasn’t until I listened a second time that I realized what made me uncomfortable — her presentation was incomplete. She had left out some reasons people don’t heal and some very important information on what is required for individuals to overcome those impediments. I will share my thoughts here, but without much explanation. I’ll go deeper into why people don’t heal and how to overcome those blocks to healing during my October 18th webinar on Finding Health. Information and registration information is on the Events page link above.

Caroline Myss begins her presentation by stating: “Healing is one of the most threatening journeys in life.” She explains that the reason it is threatening is that we don’t have “a high-functioning archetype of what it means to be a fully healthy person.” Now, I thought she was going to say that the threat lay in the anticipation of becoming something unfamiliar, but that’s not what she said. She explained that “We have a distortion in us that says that in order to still be an emotionally alive person, in order to still have a soft area inside of us, we have to in some way remain wounded.”

I have found that many people do have this “distortion,” but only as a minor concern, not as a compelling reason for them not to heal. Think about it. Do people say to themselves, “If I truly heal, I’ll lose my capacity for empathy; I’ll be detached and uncaring, so I won’t heal”? No, being concerned about becoming detached isn’t the main reason that people don’t heal, nor is detachment actually a consequence of healing.

The power of our wounds

Caroline goes on to talk about “the power of a wound,” which she sees as an archetypal journey, having to make a decision to give up the power the wound confers, which is the power of privilege. She notes that we believe that being wounded gives us privilege, a kind of entitlement to receive attention and caring, and to be forgiven for weaknesses, unsociable and/or manipulative behavior. Because we are entitled, somebody or some system owes us something… and we’re going to collect. We believe that if we’re injured, we’ll collect. If we’re hurt, we’ll get even. Whoever or whatever caused our wound is going to pay, and that may go on and on. The bottom line is that we may use our pain to control our environment to get the attention or power that we need.

Caroline makes the case that if we’re getting something because we are wounded, and because we don’t have the archetype for being fully healthy (whole), we choose to remain in suffering, to stay wounded and ill. Psychologists recognize that these “secondary gains” may keep people from healing. Yes, the meme of “entitlement because we’re wounded” is very powerful. Therefore, what actually threatens us about our healing is the possibility of losing our position of privilege, our entitlement to exert control over others, our power to get attention and support, or to manipulate or hurt others.

We may discover that our wounds give us the power to have others feel our pain. We may manipulate others with our pain and to make them suffer as we have suffered — in this lifetime or in a past or future lifetime. The energy of our wounds exists in a continuum, passing from lifetime to lifetime, though not necessarily in succession. Often, this energy passes within families as well as between lifetimes. The pain goes on and on until we succeed in recognizing and breaking the pattern. Thus, when we truly heal, we heal not just our own body and mind, but past and future generations as well, which is a wonderful, spiritual thing to do.

Caroline describes the process graphically. She says that until we heal, “our biography becomes our biology.” She adds, “This toxicity in your soul becomes the father of madness. It becomes the demons in you.” Thus, our illnesses represent our history, our emotional history and our karmic history — the history of our deeds and our wounds.

How blaming and the desire for vengeance prevent our healing

This brings us to a deeper understanding of why people don’t heal. Caroline goes on to explain that we don’t heal because we blame others for our suffering and we want vengeance. As long as we want vengeance — justice and revenge (punishment of those who wounded us), we cannot forgive, cannot give up the wound and allow the illness to heal. When we come to forgiveness, we release our wounds. She observes, “Forgiveness is a mystical act” and she goes on to note that “forgiveness is about you recognizing that the situation that has happened has awakened within you a darkness that you didn’t know you had.” This requires that we come to recognize that the darkness that one sees in others is within oneself. She adds, “Unless I get this out of me, I’m a weapon of mass destruction.” Forgiveness comes in recognizing that the darkness I observe in others and blame them for bringing into my life is actually within me. Therefore, I must forgive others, or God if the situation involves an act of fate, for showing me what lies within myself.

However, we can’t forgive because we continue to want vengeance. This desire for justice and revenge holds enormous power, which is reinforced by the power of the entitlement we receive from being ill. Hence, we hold onto the wound that produces the illness even though we desire to forgive and desperately want to be well. This resists the natural physiological and psychological processes within us that seek to heal us. Nature wants us to heal our wounds and the illnesses they produce. There’s an enormous force driving us in the direction of wellness. I have seen the power of Nature produce spontaneous healing many, many times.

Our inability to recognize our blaming and our desire for justice and revenge thwart our capacity to forgive. A friend pointed out that this is especially true if we blame ourselves. In this situation, our illness represents our guilt and shame. Hence, because we blame ourselves and feel guilt and shame (often subconsciously, especially if the issue is from a past life or other dimension), we punish ourselves with an illness and block our natural ability to heal. My friend also pointed out that this gets even more complicated when we also feel that we must not hurt others. In this case, we turn the energy of guilt and shame upon ourselves and produce an autoimmune disorder. As my friend said, "The energy has to go somewhere."

A more complete view of the process of healing wounds

That’s Caroline Myss’s view. My view derives from using Ho’oponopono, the traditional Hawaiian system of healing. Ho’oponopono offers clarification and expands our understanding of the healing process. Ho’oponopono teaches that what is outside is inside. Whatever situation challenges us is within ourselves, be it an external situation (an accident or someone hurting us) or an internal one (a physical or mental illness). We start the healing process by accepting what is. Byron Katie says it succinctly, “loving what is.” We accept what exists and that it is within ourselves. When we truly accept this reality, we can forgive — forgive ourselves and others, or even God. When this shift of energy occurs, we can offer love — unconditional love — to the part (or parts) of ourselves and others that holds (or hold) the darkness. This unconditional love creates unity between all the parts, between all the players in the situation. All this together releases the energy of the wound(s). Healing occurs spontaneously and, if we attend to all the parts, completely. In the end, we can only offer gratitude for the opportunity to heal the wound, clear the karma, learn the life lesson and demonstrate our faith in the God who cherishes us and wants us to be Whole.

To clarify this last point, I should point out that many situations go beyond the simple concept of payback — karma, in the usual sense of the term. They involve learning life lessons or demonstrating faith in Divine purpose. This is a point that Caroline omits and it’s an important one. It’s the Biblical story of Job. It gives us a bigger picture of why we become ill or suffer ill-fate, as Job did, and don’t heal. We must not only pay our debts, but we must learn the lessons and develop the faith in order to gain the state of Wholeness and Oneness, the state of enlightenment.

Changing the energy of a situation that challenges us changes our biography, the biography of our family, even the destiny of the world. It heals us and it heals our family and the world. Thus, it is a mystical act, a Divine act of unification, of creating Wholeness. The good news is that we can perform this Divine act just by offering to any challenge acceptance, forgiveness, love and gratitude — with absolute sincerity.

Healing when a curse blocks our way

I want to consider the special case of a curse, just to illustrate the profundity this knowledge. My healing work involves offering sincere acceptance, forgiveness, love and gratitude in whatever way that may be appropriate in a given situation. However, in the case of a curse, we have to actually mediate with the perpetrator. We have to apologize to them for whatever we may have done, show them that they too suffer for their curse, and ask them to release us from their curse in order to free us all from the energy, the karma, that the curse imposes. This mediation does not need to be done on the level of audible speech. Indeed, if the vengeful person cursed us in some previous lifetime, that’s just not possible. My client does not even have to do this consciously. I can often approach the soul to the perpetrator, offer the apology of the soul of my client, explain how they too are trapped in the karma, and suggest that they withdraw the curse. This brings healing not only for my client, but also for the perpetrator in whatever incarnation they currently exist or will exist, forevermore. It’s good work and easily accomplished because of Nature’s immense power to remove toxicity and produce spontaneous healing.


The causes of illness and injury, and the blocks to healing are many and varied. Minor problems can usually be attended to directly without seeking the karmic context. Really serious challenges, particularly existential challenges, generally require that we release any attachment to secondary gains we derive from the entitlement conferred by our suffering, clear the karma that produced the situation, and open ourselves to the Wholeness of our BEING as part of the healing process. When we accept the reality of what is, forgiving those involved in our wound, loving everyone and everything that contributes to our suffering, and offering gratitude for the opportunity to learn and grow, we proceed on our spiritual journey toward Oneness, enlightenment. More about this during our October 18th webinar. Details on the Events page of this website.

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