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A few years ago I trained as a volunteer worker at a Support Centre for men who had contracted the HIV/AIDS disease. It was a government-funded project and indeed many people opposed this funding and any support being given to people with this ‘self-imposed’ disease.
The volunteers were trained in either therapeutic massage or the modality of Reiki Healing – which is similar to Therapeutic Touch. My work was in the area of Reiki.
One day a man called Michael made an appointment to see me and surprisingly, when he arrived, I recognised him as a colleague of twenty years earlier. We had both worked in the Curriculum Directorate of the State Education Department in Melbourne. He had been living with AIDS for fourteen years and was taking copious tablets a day to stabilise his condition. Physically, the disease had reduced him to skin and bone and he spoke of the battle he had had with it – and himself. But most of all he spoke about the pain and suffering of the young men with AIDS, whom he had committed to support at the Centre – especially those who had been rejected by their own families and churches, their workmates and friends.
Then I began the treatment. Initially I worked toward what the Reiki technique refers to as clearing the aura and chakras, and then moved into channelling the ‘energy’. I stood quietly, eyes closed, focusing, a conduit – just allowing the energy to flow. Slowly I became aware of my thoughts. I was remembering Michael as he had been before the disease – a talented teacher, an active member of the teachers’ union and a leader of people. I thought about how homosexuals had been alienated, discriminated against and persecuted throughout history, especially by the churches and fascist groups.
I thought of the young men condemned and rejected by their families, workmates and friends. Emotions began to stir within me. I felt their hurt and anger, their pain of rejection, victimisation, social alienation and injustice. I looked down at him lying on the table in a deep relaxed sleep and felt such compassion… (or so I thought).
Suddenly a huge wave of nausea swept over me – and I was forced to sit down very quickly. Michael was undisturbed. I went beyond nausea, and felt very ill. I even thought I was going to lose consciousness. However, I recovered fully not long afterwards. But it was much, much later that I realised what had happened. Until the time that I began thinking about Michael’s life and the injustice and discrimination surrounding the situation, I had been completely detached, allowing and accepting – being the instrument. There was no subconscious identification with the situation and no emotional involvement.
However, as soon as I allowed the thoughts and emotions to take over, as I made judgements about those who condemned and rejected those with AIDS, as soon as subconsciously the personality took the situation personally in some way, disruption occurred. The energy flow was blocked. And since our auric fields were as if merged together, somehow I was experiencing the sickness energy of Michael’s disease.
What a painful lesson in detachment that was – but what a great learning. Unknowingly, I was projecting my own emotional baggage, judgement, anger and sorrow about non-acceptance and victimisation, and imagining it to be compassion for Michael and the young men. But compassion is not emotional. And as I now understand it, the situation had triggered memories of old wounds of injustice, rejection and being the victim, that were carried in my subconscious, in the memory of my soul – possibly though many lifetimes. How true is it that the rescuer is the one who needs rescuing? Triggered by what I read into the situation, wounds of unfinished business rose to the surface of my mind and were waiting to be acknowledged and healed. By the intervention of these head emotions, the flow of energy had been blocked. I was no longer detached, no longer in the NOW, no longer an instrument of service.
So this experience, framed in the simple quotation ‘To respond to the needs of another without any judgement or self-projection is a truly loving and practical action’ (source unknown) has given me great insight into the essential nature of service and altruism. My truth is that truly loving action occurs when the personality-ego does not intrude and when the projected head-emotions and soul baggage are not mistaken for compassion. The energy of pure love and compassion seem to come from another place. This Love that embraces all in Oneness is ‘of itself’. It is self-existent. This energy or vibration of Love loves through the human instrument and knows where to go and what to do. Like the sunlight that illuminates and nourishes the planet, it does not discriminate between one human being and another in any way, shape or form. And in true service when the personality is surrendered, it becomes the instrument and channel of the higher. It is through the heart that the connection is restored.
A dramatic experience – but a perfect lesson in detachment in service.
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