Sources returnpage

Macmillan, William J

Category: Healer

William J Macmillan (1904 - ?) was an American, known for his book The Reluctant Healer published in 1952. Macmillan was not just a reluctant healer he was also a reluctant writer, but the book is exceptionally good reading, he is the master of understatement, almost English in his use of language, the sort of chap who on being drenched by a tropical storm would probably say it was a little damp out.

An all too obvious question must arise as to why Heaven chose so unpromising a vehicle for this rare power. Should anyone have the stamina to read to the conclusion of this book, in honesty I must give warning that this mystery remains completely unresolved”.

Much of the book is based in the UK, which is where he discovered his healing powers. He was, as suggested by the title, someone who discovered his skills almost by accident and who initially rebelled against the idea of using them. His story is also an interesting contrast to Edgar Cayce's and the other healers on this site, as he could not see auras and was not capable of diagnosing, but found he could heal.

It is a well known saying 'Some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them'. While I know nothing through personal experience of greatness, I have had the somewhat rare challenge of an apparently unique talent thrust upon me. This ability – one does not know even if it should be called a gift – has shaped and modified my life. It has created problems of such magnitude that my mind and heart have fainted from weariness and the stark iciness of fear. It has brought intense joy with a breadth and depth of living given to few. I have been required to give up what I believed to be those things most essential to my being. I have been taught to seek new definitions of reality in realms more comfortable and climatically suited to the saints than to me. But heaven's action upon man has for the past 25 years been demonstrated through my person in a dramatic and spectacular way..... For those who do not believe in spiritual power as factual, the incidents involved may have a certain interest in adding to the accumulation of data concerning this weird being – man

Macmillan was born to wealthy parents – his father was an eminent surgeon. But his father died when he was a boy and he was brought up by his Mother, who sounds something of a tower of strength, sending him money and coming across to help him even though it sounds as though she was struggling a bit herself. Something unspecified happened when he was 12, to mean his mother and he had to be separated and he saw her only in holidays which they took in Europe.

Macmillan had come to the UK to complete his theological studies when he was first made aware of his abilities. His life up to that point sounds as though it was riddled with angst “in honesty, I cannot claim that this period had been the happiest years of my life”. Part of the angst appears to have been caused by a thwarted love affair 'an opera singer who if she had accepted me I would have married'. So bad had this time been that his theological studies had been motivated entirely by the desire to 'know' God and had little to do with his parishioners' needs “Somewhat naively I had entered theological college believing it was the obvious place to search for knowledge of God … I was wrong'.

In 1933, aged 29, he was invited to a dinner party. Among the guests was a well known male medium called Endor.

For you to understand my reaction to that word I must include at this point a thumbnail sketch of my early background. ... it was an environment which – even for the United States – was unique in its snobbishness. Vast sections of life were unconsciously kept outside the well tended hedges. As far as I knew, spiritualism and all that pertained to it was of interest only to shop girls and others credulous through lack of education. One didn't disapprove; it was simply that the subject had no possibility of arising as a serious matter for discussion”

During the dinner and without warning Endor suddenly leaned across the table and announced to all present and with considerable authority that William was a healer. This did not cause laughter, as William expected but a reverent hush and as a consequence William was asked to help a lady with chronic sinusitis. He decided he had nothing to lose and followed Endor's instructions and the lady was cured there and then in the presence of the other guests.

I have included this and a number of subsequent examples as observations.

William found himself in a terrible quandary. He didn't know how he healed so he was terrified of hurting rather than helping, he was worried about the legality of what he was doing and unsure where it put him in his theological studies. One bishop even implied that what he was doing was morally wrong, 'laying on of hands' was alright but no one expected healing from this! He attempted to study to become a masseur thus providing him with a 'front' he could use, but this failed because he found the general need to touch people repugnant
'at the end of 10 or 15 minutes the teacher had to ask me to stop. It was conceded that I had a remarkably good touch, but apparently I turned white then a faint green'.

Luckily he met Dick Shepherd, vicar of Saint Martin in the Fields, and 'filled with a flaming spirituality', who helped him see that he had no need to do parish work to 'serve God' because the healing was as much this work as being a vicar. From that point he gave up his theological studies and set about trying to understand something of the power he had been given. As a consequence of his abilities he eventually gathered a 'formidable list of sponsors' and the Home Office gave him permission to both live and work in England. At this point he gave up all idea of being ordained.

One thing that comes across in his book is his genuine lack of ego. Despite healing a large number of people, he never seems to have become big headed
DD feared that the success of my work would cause me to achieve a dangerously inflated ego, but as it was impossible for me – or anyone else – to think that the healing was a power which I manufactured, this particular danger did not arise. It has never been possible to become confused as to the origin or the results of this work. My double role of custodian and instrument were clearly defined from the beginning”

and

when I met a potential patient personally, in most cases they were anxious to become patients....let me hasten to add that this had nothing to do with my personal charms, it was merely that meeting me convinced the most sceptical that I was doing this work because of a sense of moral duty and that I would infinitely prefer to be doing something else. This undisguisable attitude of mine has always seemed to act as a kind of proof positive that the work is genuine”

One of the things which constantly flawed him was that whatever books he read and whoever he talked to - healer or not - no one seemed to match his circumstances and as such he was unable to find anyone to give him guidance or support. He studied Eastern methods and decided to become a vegetarian and he plunged into meditation and gave up all alcohol, but although this served to broaden some of his 'psychic' abilities, it didn't make any difference to his healing capabilities. He was, as a consequence, always worrying about what might happen if he 'got it wrong'. His patients had no such qualms and his method – which simply involved rubbing the area – carried few risks. This made no difference. He agonised about what he was doing all the time.

When patients quite naturally were feeling cheerful through an obvious improvement I would say 'Ah yes – but it may not last. In any case, the whole procedure is highly dangerous as I don't know what I'm doing'...  

And then someone reported him to the Home Office and he was served with notice to leave the UK. Shocked he eventually plucked up the courage to tell people what had happened and they rallied round. As a result he was instead granted leave to stay in the UK on a permanent basis by the Home Office. He set up in practise eventually ending up in Harley street and his patients were referred to him by the medical profession. He found out that it was a clergyman who had betrayed him and from that point he cut all ties with the Church. From then on he lived, comparatively speaking a rather isolated life.

'I had no contact at all with other healers, religious groups regarded my strict professional routine as indicating a lack of faith, doctors regarded me as a freak – which indeed I am – outside the pale of their understanding'

In the end he gave up meditation, gave up the vegetarian diet and went back to living a 'normal life'.

'Quite deliberately I used my weaknesses to demonstrate that fear,... and even intense dislike of treating were not sufficiently powerful to block the will of heaven..... this was a challenge to orthodoxy, both religious and medical... I felt the greatest help people could receive from me was the realisation that if I, with all my lacks could perform miracles of healing, God was not as removed from the world as we assumed'.

Macmillan decided also to charge fees commensurate with the illness he had cured. The aim of this was to give people some sense of the worth of what they were receiving. He was very successful at doing this and said that his practice did bring healing for the first time on to the level of professional recognition. Modern healers thus have a small debt of gratitude owed to him for enabling them to call themselves [rightly] 'professionals'.

Where did William get his abilities? I think the door was opened by the early life's traumas that he skirts round in his book, but the healing power was maintained by his lack of ego and him unconsciously being able to switch off learning, reasoning and the desire for results and just let himself be used as a vehicle. For example

an intuitive reaction never came as a result of effort, nor as a conclusion reached by the elimination of other ideas. It never appeared as the final act in a careful weighing of known facts. There was no evidence to suggest that the knowledge given had any possible connection with any previous experience on my part. One couldn't see that it was the synthesis of any emotional or intellectual process. One of its most recognisable features was the absence of process. It was as sudden as a quick intake of breath; one moment I had not known something, the next moment I did”

It was not meditation, or techniques as such that were key, it was letting go of the intellect and trusting that the spiritual world was there, William always believed in the existence of 'spirit', his faith was unshakeable. Furthermore he recognised the need to calm the emotions and eliminate desire

For the mind to hear the still small voice it had to be kept calm and free from urgency of either idea or emotion. A personal desire of any kind acted like interference on a radio reception. This meant that I had to learn not to desire that a patient be cured. If I became anxious or began to think in terms of given results I lost to a certain extent my intuitive pick-up of the patient”

Finally he also became aware that he was being helped and guided and that the term healer was inaccurate, he was not a healer but a conduit for healing energy

It became evident to me that healing was an incredibly powerful energy which flowed from heaven directly to the patient. My position was that of a switchboard operator. I held the connection for the patient by my own concentration upon the power of heaven.... the healing energy stimulated the natural recuperative forces of the patient so that they were able to overcome the disease. I realised that the healing energy as it flowed through me never cured anyone. It enabled the patient to cure himself”

You will see this pattern repeated for all true healers on this website, the patient heals themselves because they want to get well and believes they can become well.

“As a healer it wasn't necessary for me to even know what disease I was treating. But it was essential that I learn all about the potentials of the patient's health. Should a patient ever succeed in being more convincing about his illness than my intuition was about his recovery, I could not cure him

Observations

For iPad/iPhone users: tap letter twice to get list of items.