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Ourselves We're Helping, Ourselves We're Healing

--by James Carse (Oct 10, 2006)


I am touched by another when the distance between us is reduced to zero. I am touched only if I respond from my own center -- that is, spontaneously, originally. But you do not touch me except from your own center, out of your own genius. Touching is always reciprocal. You cannot touch me unless I touch you in response.

The opposite of touching is MOVING. You move me by pressing me from without toward a place you have already foreseen and perhaps prepared. It is a staged action that succeeds only if in moving me you remain unmoved yourself. I can be moved to tears by skilled performances and heart-rending newspaper accounts, or moved to passion by political manifestos and narratives of heroic achievement -- but in each case I am moved according to a formula or design to which the actor or agent is immune. When actors bring themselves to tears BY their performance, and not AS their performance, they have failed their craft; they have become theatrically inept.

When I am touched, I am touched only as the person I am behind all the theatrical masks, but at the same time I am changed from within -- and whoever touches me is touched as well.

[...]

If to be touched is to respond from one's center, it is also to respond as a whole person. To be whole is to be hale, or healthy. In sum, whoever is touched is healed.

[...]

When I am healed I am restored to my center in a way that my freedom as a person is not compromised by my loss of functions. This means that the illness need not be eliminated before I can be healed. I am not free to the degree I can be healed. I am not free to the degree that I can overcome my infirmities, but only to the degree that I can put my infirmities into play. I am cured of my illness; I am healed with my illness.

Healing, of course, has all the reciprocity of touching ... But healing requires no specialists, only those who can come to us out of their own center, and who are prepared to be healed themselves.

--James Carse


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On Jan 8, 2017 James wrote:

 Hello, you made an important typo when transcribing this text! The first sentence in this text of James P. Carse's is: "I am NOT touched by an other when the distance between us is reduced to zero."
Otherwise, thanks for sharing this piece!



On Oct 12, 2006 Nipun wrote:

Smile Deck: 52 cards with smile-card information and a particular idea on the back. If you had to pick one, what would it be? Gwhyenth Chen -- touching and healing. "I want my performance to be healing." At one of her performances, she couldn't feel her hands. No one person was playing. Every single person in the audience, she was in touch with, and were playing through her. Juliard -- New York music school -- has created unbalanced geniuses; technically finest but many of them are unable to carry out conversations. Practice, practice, practice is their mantra. Rev. Heng Sure: We have to ask ourselves -- Do I have a drive to be so good at something to spoil it? What is it? Whatever your skill, do I know how to stand the pressure of society, parents, peers ... to be so good that you can still maintain the center? How do we know? Middle path, that avoids extremes, works. Ancients said that virtue is the root, and wealth is the branch tips. Confucius ha  See full.

  • Smile Deck: 52 cards with smile-card information and a particular idea on the back. If you had to pick one, what would it be?

  • Gwhyenth Chen -- touching and healing. "I want my performance to be healing." At one of her performances, she couldn't feel her hands. No one person was playing. Every single person in the audience, she was in touch with, and were playing through her. Juliard -- New York music school -- has created unbalanced geniuses; technically finest but many of them are unable to carry out conversations. Practice, practice, practice is their mantra.

  • Rev. Heng Sure: We have to ask ourselves -- Do I have a drive to be so good at something to spoil it? What is it? Whatever your skill, do I know how to stand the pressure of society, parents, peers ... to be so good that you can still maintain the center? How do we know? Middle path, that avoids extremes, works.

    Ancients said that virtue is the root, and wealth is the branch tips.

    Confucius had music as a part of education curriculum -- music, medicine, math, archery, chariotering, speech and virtue. He really valued music so highly. What if Juliard could establish a meditation class? Those musicians would be more important than politicans.

  • My cousin is an MD, who works with hospice patients, end of life patients. Just listens to them, making them come to ease. Just by being there, she heals. As she progressed, she was doing that over long distances. I tried that with my classmate's daughter, and it seems to have worked. There's something there. **Smile Deck idea: send positive thoughts to someone in need.

  • A friend did a study with 35 cancer patients. Did spiritual practices, didn't necessarily come from spiritual background, but all of them reported feeling a sense of wholeness, as if they were bigger than the body. Everyone got to space of peace.

  • Dialgoue -- comes from greek, dia-logos: meaning flowing through. Made me think of Victor Frankl, Man's Search For Meaning -- logo therapy. Web 2.0 version of this -- our collective search for meaning.

  • Being trained for perfection. Past thought was titled -- Totality, not perfection.

  • "Ourselves we are helping, ourselves we are healing." Quote by Dr. V. He gave sight to millions, healed others but he sees himself as being healed.

  • Have to have generosity towards myself. Helps me react less. **Smile Deck idea: Talk to a teen. Take them out for lunch. Our culture desperately needs inter-generational dialogue.

  • My mom left for India. Monday's quote was about elephants; calf was attached to mother. Very interesting that I saw that all together.

  • Went on a hike in the hills with a retired, senior citizen. At one point, I asked him about his knees (few years ago, I got into an accident and found that I tore my knee; chiropractor twisted and turned all parts of my body but somehow the knee was fixed!). He said that one of his friends was teaching yoga to monks and he tore his knees; his masters tells him to go to the desert to cultivate and upon his return, his knee pain is gone but his master was limping and stayed that way for his whole life!

  • Been working a lot. Been very conscious. Taking a three month leave of absence. **Smile Deck idea-- Leave my favorite poem in someone's cube, or a door; leave a favorite book and have somebody find it.

  • My mother has no background in medicine, yet she had this closet of medicine and we would always be fine in 10-15 minutes. When I grew up, I took medicine from the closet but it didn't work; so I asked her to give it and it would miraculously work! It was unbelievable but it worked even with our neighbors. It's not the medicine that heals, it's the love.

  • My dance theatre is one of the best oddissi dancers around. When she's on stage, she cries but I still think she's being authentic.

  • Being trained in western medicine, physician comes from power; healthy is very rigid idea in the mind of a physician and that is very limiting. In the movie K-Pax, Kevin Spacey is in a mental hospital because he claims to be from another planet. Psychologist asks him, "Are you willing to be believe that you might be from earth?" "Yes. But are you willing to believe that I might be from K-Pax!".

  • Healing can be divided into three levels. First level is like moving -- this is the basic medicine; second level, is like touching -- neuro-chemical response that produced a deeper impact on the patient; and perhaps even higher level is transcendence, irrespective of disease.

  • Touching only if you're being touched, is a powerful concept. Working with underprivileged children, it's very easy to see that.

  • Friend was going through a hard time; as he was entering a building, passed a security guard, and I security gaurd came out to say-- "I saw you in the camera and you looked a bit sad. Can I give you a hug?" Changed all dynamics. Someone at her center responded to the suffering and then offered a response. Makes me think of the number of accidental healers in the world!

  • I'm a teacher who works with behavioral problem students. One day when I was strategizing, I heard something in a classroom of 25 kids, all standing up looking at their desk, saying their times-table together in a chant. It was amazing.

  • **Smile Deck idea-- have a dialogue with yourself, ignore the cellphone.
  • Love is an important ingredient for healing.
  • My sister and I were running a bunch of errands. Sitting and talking. Our restaurant waiter was geniune and so nice in a unique sort of a way, so I felt like I wanted to do something for him. My sister and I look through our purses and ultimately, we left a note of ten bucks for him with a smile card. We were elated. What a great and simple way to make someone's day. It made everything more meaningful and for the rest of the day it just seemed like we kept running into great people, but perhaps it was just our eyes that had shifted.

  • One of the neighbors invited all the teachers for dinner saying, "I just want to appreciate the work you guys do." **Smile-deck idea.

  • Scientist discovered something called mirror neurons. Because of them, it becomes possible for us to actually feel and understand what's going with those around us. Touching isn't about transmission. It's more of one person touching that center and the collective space making it possible for another person to find their center.

  • Being vs. doing. Highest form of leadership is where you are not moving anyone, not persuading. Rather just because of your "Being", others are inspired to do something. **Smile Deck idea-- figure out what others lack and be an example of that change yourself.

  • What happens when people are touched? Beer ad-- knees touch of guys on a couch and it's awkwards. It happens again. When there's a touchdown, they all forget about their notions and embrace each other!

  • Path of enlightenment: a lonely path to understand that you're not alone.
  • Hindi movie, Munnabhai MBBS, starts hugging folks as a way to transform lives. Smile is big way to heal.

  • I'm overwhelmed by the kindness in this room tonight. I have done about 500 concerts so far, the happiness I was trying to bring my listeners is so selfish compared to what's in this room. My best performance, I didn't play for the audience but for the Boddhisattvas.

  • I love the idea of sharing idea but i have no ideas to share.

  • **Smile Deck idea -- appreciate people that nobody appreciate. Like the checkers at the airports. I try to create relationships with the folks I encounter. Even at Kaiser Permanente. If someone is extra nice, I try to tell their boss about it.

  • "What you appreciate, appreciates." --Lynne Twist

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