The breath is the principal power needed in healing. All
the various manifestations of the magnetic current which come
from the tips of the fingers, from the glance, and from the
pores of the skin are indirect manifestations of the breath.
It is the strength of breath, which gives magnetic power in
all its different aspects. Weakness of breath causes weakness
of mind and body, and strength of breath is strength to both.
One can not lack energy and magnetism if one's breath is full
of energy. Therefore before developing any other means of healing
the power of the breath should first be developed.
There are two ways of developing the power of the breath.
One way is to make it extensive and the other way is to make
it intensive. After that the breath should be mastered so that
it can be directed to any desired part of one's own body; and
secondly, it should be mastered so that it may be directed to
any side, level, upward, downward, to the right or to the left.
Just as one becomes master of aim when one is able to hit the
target at any point, so one must master the breath.
There are Yogis in India who can put out a light at some
distance by the power of the breath. And even the miracle of
Tansen, who is said to have lighted candles by the power of
his song when he sang the Dipak, can be nothing else but the
power of breath in its fullest development.
Science has always admitted, and values every day more highly,
the importance of cleanliness around the patient and on the
part of the physician; and things of different kinds have been
used as disinfectants in many cases of disease. The healer,
who has to do more with the mind, must, therefore, realize how
very important it is to consider purity of mind as well as of
body for the purpose. No doubt it is difficult after learning
the nature of things to say which is pure and which is impure;
but one way of understanding it is that everything in itself
is pure, and when another element is mixed with it, then its
purity is polluted. Deep thought in this direction would open
a vast field to a thinker.
Another way of understanding the pure and impure is that
there is one thing alone that keeps things pure, and that is
life, and when the life is gone out of them they are impure.
There is a third way of looking at it: that death is impurity
of things, but destruction is their purity. This also opens
a vast scope of understanding to an observant student of life.
In short, it is necessary for a healer to observe the laws
of hygienic life and to keep himself from taking the germs of
disease from the patients he heals. Besides, he should avoid
all thoughts of bitterness, ill-will, wrath, anger, jealousy,
purify his mind from all spite or malice, and bathe so to speak
in devotion to God, so that his heart may become saturated with
mercy and compassion. It is not only the power of mind that
heals, but also the purity of mind. The mind free from all crookedness,
deceit, treachery, is alone capable of emitting power, strong,
and pure in its nature, which can give to a patient a new life
and relieve him from all pain.
The development of healing power depends upon the development
of the breath. The breath can be developed by purification,
by extension, by expansion, and by rhythm.
There are three different kinds of rhythm in the breath:
the rhythm, which cannot be distinguished in the continuation
of inhalation and exhalation; the rhythm that can be distinguished
by the two distinct swings of inhaling and exhaling; and evenness
in breathing. Those who have not mastered their breath are under
the influence of these three rhythms, their health, their mood,
and their condition in life. But those who master the breath,
can put their breath in any of these rhythms; and when mastery
is acquired then the healer has the key to wind any clock. In
reality every disease means something wrong with the rhythm.
As a doctor says congestion is the root of diseases, so to a
Sufi congestion means lack of rhythm; it may be in the circulation,
in breathing, in activity, or in repose. A physician in order
to find a disease examines the pulse, the beats of the heart,
and the condition of the lungs. This itself is the proof that
rhythm is the keeper of health. And when there is something
wrong with he health the rhythm in some way or other has gone
wrong, as when the tick of the clock gets out of rhythm the
clock goes too fast or too slow, and it does not give the proper
The healer, therefore, must get his rhythm right, so that
he can control the mechanism of another person's body. In India
there is a custom of clapping the hands or snapping the fingers
when somebody is yawning. The idea is that yawning is the sign
of the falling of the rhythm. It is the rhythm of one's body
that falls to a slower rate when one feels inclined to sleep,
and the clapping of the hands and the snapping of the fingers
set the pulsations of the other person in the same rhythm as
before. It is just like shaking a person who is nodding, to
bring the mechanism of his body into proper working order. When
the healer is capable of regulating his own rhythm he becomes
capable also of making another person's rhythm regular. It requires
great knowledge and inspiration concerning the nature of the
human mind and body; and the healer who knows how to work with
it is like the conductor with the orchestra. The health of everyone
that he heals he keeps regular, as the conductor keeps the rhythm
of every musician who plays in the orchestra.
The Power of the Breath
It is the power of the breath, which heals body and mind,
since breath is life, and through the breath life can be imparted
to the mind and body of another person. The breath is also a
cord that runs through human beings, connecting them in one
life. If it were not for the breath the senses would never have
perceived the external world. Therefore all that one sees, smells,
feels, tastes, and hears is through the channel of the breath,
and therefore no medicine can have such influence on a patient
as the breath. Weak breath is susceptible to all contagious
diseases, and a healer with weak breath could get the disease
from his patient in one healing; that is why power of breath
is the most essential thing before one should attempt to heal.
Power of breath can be developed in two ways: volume and
length, which make it intensive and extensive. It is dangerous
to try healing before one is fully sure of the power of the
breath in both ways. The development of the power of the breath
is felt, and one knows when one is ready to use it in healing.
One Common Cause of All Diseases
All pain, discomfort, disease, decay, and destruction of
every sort are lack of life. The word life which we use in everyday
language is the name of the result of two activities working
harmoniously: one, the constant life of the spirit; the other
the life that matter provides for it. This is a negative and
positive activity. It is the power of inner life, which attracts
outer life to it, and again it is the strength of external life
by which it clings to the inner life. In this way the reciprocal
action of both keeps the flame of life burning, and the lack
of either of these activities is the cause of disease.
There are five bodies through which the soul experiences
life, the physical body being the poorest of all, for it is
born of matter, fed with matter, attracted to matter, finds
its life in matter, and returns to matter. As it demands matter
for is sustenance, so matter demands it in the end; this demand
is called disease or death when this body loses its strength;
and this is caused by the loss of energy of the nerves, which
so to speak pull together and keep the flesh, bone, blood, and
skin not only intact, but active and vigorous. It is the weakening
of these nerves by exhaustion or by lack of sustenance, by lack
of rest or by loss of energy in whatever manner, which is the
cause of all disease.
Thus healing may be called life giving to that part that
needs life or to the body as a whole. The materialist believes
that a person, however weak, can be saved and brought to life
by injecting into his body the blood of another. If that is
a successful remedy, how much more could the power of thought,
of life, which has more power than matter, produce life in another!
And, even the fine essence of the healer's physical body may
be passed through gases, by the process of: earth rising to
water, water to fire, fire to air, air to ether, and sending
the finest atoms of physical energy and strengthening vibrations
of mental energy to a person who needs it. The difference between
medicine and healing is this: instead of sending a thing by
railway it is sent through the sky by an airplane.
One may ask if it is worthwhile weakening oneself by giving
part of one's life to another. No doubt it would not do for
a poor person to give his last penny to one who is starving,
but it is the only thing for a rich man to do, to make use of
his riches for the comfort and happiness of those who are in
need. A spiritual healer is rich with divine strength, and his
power will not be lessened if he gives it out. Therefore material
healing is a failure. However successful it may seem, it is
powerless compared with spiritual healing, because the spiritual
healer has the power of God on his side.
Development of Power in the Fingertips
The human form may be called materialized light, the symbol
of which in mysticism is the five-pointed star, suggesting the
head, arms, and feet, which make five points. The nature of
light is to spread its rays, and as the human form is made of
light – Nur – the hands and the feet, the fingers and the toes,
the organs of the senses and the hair all represent rays. It
is the knowledge of this light that one sees in the Eastern
customs of blessing with the tips of the fingers on the head;
and of kissing the hand or touching the feet, for the fingers
and toes are the source of the radiance.
The healer, therefore, develops the power of the fingertips.
As by directing the breath in a certain way through the body
and mouth one can produce a certain pitch on a certain note,
so by directing the energy through the fingertips and by developing
the magnetic power of the fingertips one develops the power
of healing. Moses is known to have possessed a light in his
palm, which the poets call Yad-i baiza; and Zoroaster
is always pictured with burning fire in his hand. Both suggest
the radiance, the battery that can be developed in the human
hand. When the power is developed in the palm it pours out from
the tips of the fingers and it shoots out when it is directed
by the will. Then by magnetic passes and by touch on the painful
part the healer is able to cure diseases.
The Power of the Presence
It must be understood by a healer, that his very presence
must emit healing power. And in order to do this the healer
must have an overflowing life, power, and magnetism. In the
first place the body must be healthy, clean, and pure, so that
physical magnetism may be beneficial. Also purity of mind is
necessary, together with sympathy for the patient and a desire
to cure him instead of profiting by his cure. The soul speaks
most in the form of the atmosphere; in other words, the atmosphere
tells what the soul says. The development of the soul is brought
about by a spiritual process and a spiritual life. Therefore
the development of the mind, of the body, and of the soul is
necessary in order to possess a healing power and presence.
The Power of the Mind
The power of concentration is the first thing necessary to
develop healing power. The healer must be able to hold steadily
the thought for the cure of his patient whenever he requires.
Concentration is most difficult, but if this is accomplished,
there is nothing that one cannot accomplish. It is useless to
try and cure the patient by any process, however successful
and good it may be, if there is no power of concentration. The
work of the mind in healing is much greater than in anything
else, it is using the power of the mind on matter; and matter,
which has been a disobedient slave of the spirit for ages, through
the mineral, through the vegetable, and even through the animal
kingdom always rebels against being controlled.
No doubt mind can control matter and do with it whatever
it likes. But when mind is enfeebled by serving matter, it loses
power over matter. If it were not so, every man would cure himself
by controlling matter and there would be no need of a healer.
One's own power has a greater influence on oneself than the
power of another; besides no one can feel so much sympathy for
another as one can for oneself. The nature of the mind is to
slip from one's grip. Concentration is the practice, which enables
the mind – which, so to speak, strengthens its own fingers –
to hold fast to whatever it can hold. Another secret of the
mind is that even with the power of concentration the mind does
not hold anything that is not interesting, and it is sympathy
in the mind, which is the stimulus to the holding power of the
mind. Therefore no one can be a successful healer unless his
sympathy comes forward with its hands extended to raise the
patient from his pain.
The Power of Concentration
Before a person attempts to heal another he must develop
in himself the power of concentration. The concentration of
a healer should be so developed that not only when sitting in
meditation and closing his eyes can he visualize the desired
object. But that even with his eyes open he should be able to
hold fast the picture that his mind has created in spite of
anything that may be before his eyes. In healing it is necessary
to know what picture one should hold in one's mind. If the healer
should happen to hold the picture of a wound, he would help
the wound to continue instead of being healed; and so if he
thought of pain it might perhaps be continued more intensely
by the help of his thought. It is the cure that he should hold
in mind. It is the desired thing that he must think about, not
the condition. In all aspects of life this rule must be remembered;
that even in trouble one must not think of the trouble and in
illness one must forget about illness. Man often continues life's
miseries by giving thought to them. The healer must from beginning
to end hold the thought of cure and of nothing else.
Sending Power to a Distance
The greater development in healing power is to be able to
send power to a distance. Neither land nor sea can prevent power
being sent by the mind. Scientific discoveries such as wireless
telegraphy prove that by means of instruments thoughts can be
sent to a distance, but the mystic has always realized and practiced
to a great extent the sending of thought to a distance. As the
whole idea of a mystic is to serve humanity by love and goodness,
he naturally does not feel inclined either to prove to the world
the greatness of his power or to utilize his power for any worldly
end except for healing.
The Hindu metaphysical term Nada Brahma, meaning sound-God,
explains the secret of life, that sound is motion and therefore
nothing takes place unless first moved by some force behind.
As for external action a physical movement is necessary, so
for a mental action the motion must be caused by one's mind.
The voice of one person may reach to the other corner of the
room, and the voice of another may reach to the other end of
the street, and so it is with the power of the mind. As it is
necessary to develop the power of the voice by practice, so
it is necessary to develop and practice the power of the mind,
but it should be remembered that the gift of healing is always
necessary. A gifted person may progress much further and more
quickly than a person without the gift.
There are three things necessary in sending thought to a
distance; first, faith in the theory; second, self-confidence,
meaning confidence in one's own power; third, the power of concentration.
However great the power of concentration may be, without self-confidence
it is of no use; and self-confidence without faith in the theory
is powerless. Healing at a distance is the last stage at which
a healer arrives after long experience in healing, and attempting
this at the beginning would naturally result in failure. Work
gives experience, and experience gives confidence; and faith
becomes firm when it is built by experience and strengthened