Friday, April 22, 2016

What does it mean to be a healer?

One of the most difficult things that we endure in the human experience is watching our friends and loved ones suffer and die. As Christians, we often struggle with knowing how to pray for them. In the Acts of the Apostles (9:36-43) we read that one of the most important the functions of the church is to pray for the healing of sick and the souls of the dead. The church body takes on the role of a community of healers for the broken world.

So how do we become a community of healers? First, we acknowledge our God-given natural state of being in full union with God. We have been imprinted with the DNA of God. We are the daughters and sons of God. Jesus said that he and God were one. He goes to tell us that just as he and God were in union, we too are in union with God. God abides in us. We abide in God. Then Jesus go even further to say that because we too are children of God, we will do even greater things than he did (John 14:12). That means we will be healers like Master Jesus.

So what is healing? Healing is creating a space for the integration of our mind, body, soul (psyche), and spirit (relationship with the divine)—in others words to heal is to bring about a state of non-duality—what we call holistic living. What this means is that what affects one aspect our self, affects every other aspect of our self. Therefore, if our mind is healed, so then too our body will feel the affects of that healing, likewise our soul, and our spirit will feel the affects.

As a community of healers we must trust the divine to know what aspect of the person we are praying for needs the most attention. While we might see the need for someone’s physical healing, the divine may sense a greater need for the healing of the soul. That means we must let go of what we desire for the person and give our trust over to the divine to do the best form of healing for the person.

The vast majority of us pray for the sick. We pray as a community. This is the work of the church. Several studies in holistic medicine have shown that a significant percentage of people that know they are being prayed for (especially by a large community of people) typically recover faster or bear the burden of their illness better. That latter part of the statement is often difficult for us hear. Regardless of the outcome, we pray as a community for the person’s holistic healing, trusting the divine to do her work. This is what our prayer book teaches us.

On page 458 of the Book of Common Prayer, there is a prayer that has been offered for the sick for over 500 years. Pray for people. Call their name. There’s no need for you to guide the divine in what you want done. You don’t need to know what’s wrong with the person. You don’t need to know who the person is. Simply pray. Let the prayer do its work in the ears of the Divine Spirit.

O Father of mercies and God of all comfort, our only help in time of need: We humbly beseech thee to behold, visit, and relieve thy sick servant N. for whom our prayers are desired. Look upon him with the eyes of thy mercy; comfort him with a sense of thy goodness; preserve him from the temptations of the enemy; and give him patience under his affliction. In thy good time, restore him to health, and enable him to lead the residue of his life in thy fear, and to thy glory; and grant that finally he may dwell with thee in life everlasting; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

While we all pray as a community, there are within the community, are a very few people whose vocation is to be a healer, like Saint Peter. Vocation is your purpose in life. Everyone has a purpose, a vocation. God has imprinted your purpose on your soul; it’s in the DNA of your soul. Your purpose is a gift that can always be used to serve other people. Your purpose in life might be, to be creative, artistic, to build, to inspire, to teach, to heal. But remember, your purpose doesn’t have anything to do with your job. It’s nice if your purpose and your job are in sync with one another—but that’s not absolutely necessary.

If your vocation, your purpose in life, is to be a healer—other people will recognize this in you. You do not have to point out your gifts to others. Most people I know that are healers never call themselves healers. Healers don’t rely fully on their gifts. They recognize that they are a conduit—a channel for the healing love of the Divine Spirit. Healers find a teacher and learn the art of healing, like Saint Peter who was trained by the Master Healer, Jesus. They are trained, in something like Reiki, Healing Touch, Message therapy, shamanism, or alchemy. Then they practice. In practicing they learn that they will, at times, fail, like Peter who failed on more than one occasion. Finally, the healer learns the lesson that healing has a cost. Master Jesus knew the cost. When the woman in the crowd touched the hem of Jesus’ garment, he knew that some of his energy, his love, had gone of his body.

Real sustainable healing comes from the mutual exchange of divine love. This was the teaching of the Inkling Charles Williams. To be a healer, one must know that the love of the divine spirit is the healing agent, the healer, however, the healer must also know that in the act of the exchange of healing love, the healer will be left with a residual from the exchange. In other words, the healer must prepare their self for the cost of transmutation to take place in their life.

That’s what happened to Saint Peter. After he healed Tabitha, he went to the house of Simon the tanner. There, Peter had been fasting and praying. He had a vision. In the vision he learned that he would have to sacrifice an important portion of his religious practice. What he had to give up would be the equivalent of us being told that instead of going to St. Peter’s Episcopal Church to worship, we now had to go to the mosque to pray every Friday. The cost of being a healer is always substantial. Sometimes even our own life.

A very close friend of mine, Scott Haasarud died this past Wednesday He was a healer. He was a friend, spiritual director, therapist, and mentor in all things Carl Jung. He was a big man in every way. He loved deeply and healed with love from his heart. He healed the broken hearts of so many people and finally his big heart could give no more. He was Master Jesus for me so many times.

We are followers of the Master Healer, Jesus. We have been left the task of healing broken hearts and lives. To be a healing community, we must live in the abiding love and union with the One Holy Living God. We must live integrated lives. We must pray for the sick and the souls of the dying. And we must trust the divine to do her work for the sake of the mind, body, soul, and spirit. We must be a healing community.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Ode for Scott Haasarud

Ode for R. Scott Haasarud (1940-2016)

Scott Haasarud was a healer of the soul. He healed with golden love from the giant cauldron of his heart. I have been a recipient of the healing from Scott’s philosopher’s stone. Wednesday, April 13, 2016, he finally gave away the last red fragment.

I met Scott Haasarud on December 1, 1995. Scott was the energy behind bringing his friend Marcus Borg to Phoenix for a two-day presentation at Central Methodist Church. I had read and re-read Borg’s Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time. Borg’s wisdom and his gentle willingness to answer the many emailed questions of a stranger, kept me within the Christian world. When I saw the flyer I knew I had to meet Marcus Borg. But, little did I know I would meet the man who would later help me keep life together.

From that first handshake with Scott I felt there was something unique about him. At the time I couldn’t wrap my arms it, but from that point on, everything Scott invited me to, I went. We had this long, on going, never-ending, life-giving conversation. Scott invited me to attend an Enneagram seminar. I went. Scott invited me to a dream seminar. I went. Scott invited me to apply to the Kino Institute spiritual direction school, where he taught. I applied. Scott invited my son Neil and me to a father/son retreat at Spirit in the Desert. From that retreat Scott would have a major influence on Neil deciding to become a psychologist. Scott taught. I soaked it all in.

Then twelve years ago, my world was turned upside down. For months, I could barely leave my house, and never alone. One morning, before my wife left for work, she gave me a task. Make an appointment to see Scott. That was April of 2004. Ever since, I have met with Scott once a month. Wednesday, April the 13th there was a regularly scheduled appointment with Scott that would not happen. I met with Scott Haasarud for 144 sessions—12 x 12—(3x4) x (3x4)—pure and messy alchemy done on my soul.

A friend, who also saw Scott regularly, said that he filled a void in her life that was larger than Scott himself. He was a big man in every way. Wise and gentle. Subtle at times, yet straight-forward when needed. Scott was a complex man, paradoxical, yet not. At times, I was confident he was channeling the larger force of Carl Jung. Some people call themselves Jungian. But Scott breathed Carl Jung in and out, like tobacco from an ancient pipe. He had placed the tea bag of his life into Jung’s alchemical brew and then he ladled it out to rest of us, one sip at time. Scott sat in the midst of his endless library. He listened no matter how long I talked. Then he would tell a story. Sometimes he would quote Jung at just the right moment, reach for the appropriate book and hand it to me. He never gave instructions, only offerings. I could wisely take it, or foolishly leave it.

You could call Scott a Christian, though you’d have to clearly define what you meant by the idea of being a Christian. Scott understood Jesus through Jungian eyes. Such a notion is complexity exemplified. But if you thought of Jesus in other terms, Scott would suggest you might miss the message. To be a healer in the pathway of Jesus is to accept the cost. To live is to die. To die is to live. Jung said in The Red Book that, “Whoever possesses wisdom in not greedy for power. Only the man who has power declines to use it.” Scott Haasarud had, still has, power from the other world, but never wielded it. You just had to be in his presence to feel it, still feel it.

Jung told of a vision in The Red Book. He was hanging from the Tree of Life. He asked his anima, his soul, to cut him down. But she said she couldn’t reach that high. So the anima, became the serpent and crawled into the tree. Jung wrestled with the rational and irrational, his thinking and his feeling. The serpent, in an attempt to find a solution, became a white bird and flew high into heaven. She brought back a golden crown for Jung. The inscription on the crown read, “Love never ends.” Jung asked the bird, “What does the riddle of the golden crown mean?” “It means,” said the bird. “That the crown and the serpent are opposites, yet one. Did you not see the serpent that crowned the head of the crucified?”

Christ the Crucified was the serpent lifted high on the Tree like the serpent on Moses staff. The serpent was both poison and salvation. Jung understood the Christ Crucified as both serpent and healer to be the exemplar of each individual living in union with the Divine One, YHVH. We need not be like Jesus. Indeed not. Instead, we must do the unthinkable. We must become Jesus for the sake others. Scott Haasarud became Jesus, healing others. Scott did his own soul work. He modeled for us, with us, in us, around us, the way to become who we are all called to be: our own self, the Christ within us all, within every human being, within every creature, every stone of creation. We discover who we are when we can answer the question, “Who am I,” with the words, “I am.” We can boldly make this statement because truly Love Never Ends.

Scott Haasarud has left the world of the seen to reside in the realm of the unseen. He has been grafted into the Tree of Life. He has become the white bird. No longer encumbered by earthly limitations. He is now free to meet us in the collective unconscious. Scott’s life and work lives, infused into the essence of our mind, body, soul, and spirit. While we may not see Scott every day, or once a month, we will now encounter him in a better realm, in our dreams, in our creative imagination, and at the Eucharistic Table with all the communion of saints.