I ran my first healing group in 1980 in a dilapidated Quaker Meeting House on the Pennine Way. On the first evening I invited the group to regard the neglected building with the same skill and compassion they would give to a client – and to do what they could to improve the situation. Within an hour the venue was transformed and fit for purpose.
It seems to me that the spiritual path can just as well be described as a healing path – they are intimately interconnected. After all, the Old English root of our word ‘healing’ is hal, which means ‘whole’. As soon as you realise that, it is clear that a spiritual path, which seeks to restore wholeness and completeness throughout the bodymind is essentially a healing path.
My interest in healing began when I was very young. I grew up in a volatile theatrical family where alcohol was consumed daily (sometimes with both lunch and dinner, and frequently to excess). I saw my mother struggling with deep unresolved emotional pain, made worse by prescribed psychiatric medication and ECT. I intuitively knew there was a better, kinder, more effective way – and determined to find it.
Some years later, I met my meditation teacher, John Garrie, who was himself a charismatic platform healer in the 1950s in the north of England; breaking crutches over his knees as the lame walked free from the stage – and even restoring speech to the dumb.
He had an extraordinary gift, sometimes seeing a network of flashing red points overlaid on a patient’s body. When he lightly pressed a point, the pain would instantly subside. His genius extended to mental disturbances as well: in the 1970s the controversial psychiatrist R D Laing would successfully refer challenging patients to John Garrie.
It was under John’s tuition that I learned to send ‘absent’ healing on a daily basis. On one occasion someone to whom I had been sending recognised me immediately (though we had never met before), simply by recognising my energetic signature.
I received the help of a number of remarkable healers – some original pioneers, such as Ken Page, and well-known psychic surgeons, light-years ahead of the times, like Stephen Turoff and Chris Thomas and others not in the public eye, but who nevertheless have played a crucial role in my healing journey. One of the most notable of these has been Silvia Martin, and the story of the role she and others have played formed a large part of my decision to write my newly-published memoir, Following a Thread of Gold.
These days, I have myself been teaching meditative and spiritual life skills for 40 years. I wanted this book to be honest. It was vital that it attempted to show as complete a picture as possible. I set out to chart a journey that was meticulously documented at the time in diaries and journals, and it has made it possible to share my story in a way which means that now any reader can examine the journey I have been on, in light of the practices of some wonderfully gifted healers.
Conventional medicine is brilliant where it’s brilliant, but its model isn’t holistic. For me, one of its limitations is that it devotes most of its resources to battling physical pathologies rather than the creation of health. I believe that the medicine of the future will start top down, or from inside out, so to speak – from the spiritual to the physical. The cause of illness is complex and multifaceted, involving all aspects of our being – spiritual, mental, emotional and only manifesting physically as a last resort. Unless all aspects are healed and brought into balance, no lasting healing will occur.
It has been fascinating to look again at the origin of my journey. It is clear that in response to the many questions I had and inner obstacles I encountered, teachers and healers appeared without fail – and my book charts those encounters and the trainings that followed – as I followed my thread of gold.
Following a Thread of Gold by Caroline Sherwood is available now in ebook and paperback priced £14.99. www.crumpsbarnstudio.co.uk