Brian Keenan – Four Quarters of Light - Charlie's healing power
Type of spiritual experience
A description of the experience
Brian Keenan – Four Quarters of Light
I wanted to be pushy with Charlie. He had not been so open to questions before.
'But where does the power come from? What is the magic you possess that enables you to heal people others have failed with?'
When I asked these questions I slightly emphasized the word 'power' but did not highlight the word 'magic'. After all, these were my words and Charlie's Inupiat language and culture understood them in a very different, even more mundane way.
Charlie answered quietly that he had had visitations from the spirit to guide him in his understanding.
'What spirit?' I asked softly, not really knowing what to expect but assuming he might make some reference to an animistic spirit world.
'The Holy Spirit.'
His answer was just as softly delivered. This was not what I'd expected and I felt I couldn't pursue the matter further. I sat silent for a moment. Debra was obviously aware of my plight and asked Charlie about what he was doing when he was performing a healing. I listened, trying to follow him.
Charlie was not only a uniquely gifted and renowned healer, he was also an elder and therefore was entitled to the utmost respect.
Through the conversation between him and Debra, I gathered that Charlie's 'power' lay in how he manipulated the body so that the blood's trajectory to the heart was not impeded. Charlie had evolved and had been 'shown' by the Holy Spirit how to manipulate and massage the whole body to release the dammed-up 'power' in the blood to energize the heart. The heart was at the centre of all healing and all pain. And just as humans had a physical body, they also had a spiritual or a non-physical body.
Illness in the physical body was often caused by distress in the spirit, so Charlie sometimes treated the spiritual body to relieve the physical. I knew of Charlie's reputation among his own people, and among the medical doctors who had referred patients to him. His spiritual healing had been powerful with patients suffering from varying degrees of what is in the modern world described as mental health problems. I could only sit and listen, picking up the fragments that I understood. But Charlie tired quickly, and I got the impression that trying to explain these things to me was burdensome to him………
Charlie spoke of the Holy Spirit because he saw me as a Christian; the idea of the Holy Spirit was the nearest he could come to help me understand.
'Charlie was being polite and helpful,' Debra said. 'He felt you might not understand if he explained openly and honestly according to his own tradition and experience. Charlie has lived and worked in the white man's world for a long time. He knows it as well as he knows his own.'
Many white people think of the native spiritual understanding as primitive and unevolved, but it is really the reverse. They absolutely know by experience that there is an invisible reality out there which coincides and interacts with our own. In comparison, the Christian view of spirituality is far removed.