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Spiritual healing is a broad term that has a lot of overlap with energy healing. Some energy healers work in a spiritual healing mode, and some spiritual healers are energy workers.
However, although most energy healers follow a fairly spiritual life, it
is not enough to cause us to label them spiritual healers. For example,
if an energy healer follows the conventional medical model that focuses
on fixing or curing surface symptoms, they're not a spiritual healer.
Since energy healing and spiritual healing are not exactly synonymous, it's good to take a closer look.
The term spiritual healing usually applies to healing that is done from the point of view that all or most physical, psychological and emotional ailments have a spiritual cause. Spiritual healers believe that impacting the spiritual root of a problem will ameliorate the problem, or at least change the suffer's relationship to it.
Most spiritual healers believe that the purpose of human life is to grow and evolve spiritually. Many believe, as I do, that we are primarily spiritual beings and that our physical incarnation is just an aspect or a phase of our much larger spiritual life.
While spiritual healers may subscribe to particular religions, it is not necessary to do so in order to practice spiritual healing. A practitioner could just as easily be a shaman as an evangelical Christian or a Christian Science practitioner.
Spiritual healers may work with a non-physical entity (spirit, deity, saint, totem, etc.), a physical individual (psychic, shaman, pastor), a group energy or field (healing or prayer circle, church), or a particular place that holds spiritual power (e.g a sacred mountain, shrine, place where miracles have taken place, or nature in general).
Spiritual healing may include meditation; touch-based healing; communication with the non-physical, spiritual realm; or connecting with deities, ancestors or other departed ones.
Spiritual healing may also include the use of ritual, guided visualization and prayer.
To summarize, spiritual healing can be described as coming from a spiritually based approach to life that is holistic, transformational, evolutionary, big-picture and about restoring balance, wholeness and connection to the Sacred.
Spiritual healing is about re-connecting to something greater than oneself, re-aligning with one's highest path and purpose and regaining lost parts of one-self. It is about re-connecting to the Sacred, however an individual defines that. For many people in Western culture, this is particularly important because as a culture we have long been separated from the Sacred, which causes a deep and painful sense of meaninglessness, alienation and lostness that no amount of material goods can fill.
Out of that re-connection and re-alignment, a person can have transformative experiences of healing that happen holistically across many levels or aspects of their being. Remission of physical ailments may or may not be a part of that.
A favorite story that illustrates the concept of spiritual healing
beautifully is that of an elderly man I knew slightly many years ago. He
had been a highly successful stockbroker who enjoyed a great deal of
wealth. In the prime of life he had a stroke that left him profoundly
disabled, wheel-chair bound and unable to speak. (He used a
computer-like thing to peck out words.) He was one of the most radiant
and joyful people I have ever met, and he counted the day of his stroke
as his birthday--the day he was born into a spiritual life.
For him, his profound spiritual healing (which as far as I know was a self-healing) did not result in suddenly being able to walk and talk. But that had become utterly immaterial to him. He didn't need it anymore. From his point of view, the stroke had left him better than before.
I have personally found, both for myself and in the experiences of
others, that spiritual healing often administers itself. The force and
power of our spiritual evolution works on us though our lives and our
physical bodies. It often presents us with promptings to change our
lives to be more in alignment with our spiritual path and our highest
potential. If we ignore the first, gentle nudges toward greater
wholeness and alignment, the promptings will become more insistent.
Our goal should be to recognize those promptings in their early stages, before they hit us like a ton of bricks with experiences such as accidents, serious health issues or major, painful life disruptions.
When "life-administered" spiritual healings and re-balancings are early
and gentle, we generally don't need outside assistance to work with
them. But when we've been plunged into a major re-boot of our lives, it
can often be helpful to call in the assistance of a spiritual healing
An important note: Spiritual healing should encourage people to work with conventional medical approaches, rather than undermining those efforts. So-called spiritual healers who encourage their recipients to eschew conventional medical treatment are not usually on the up-and-up.