Recently someone I know had gone to a weeklong intensive residential class in "Shamanism" directed at healing and counseling. (I put this in quotes because the description after the fact would not be considered core Shamanism). Before they went they explained to the director that they had some physical challenges that had to be considered. A form was sent to them which they filled out, and they were then assured their needs would be met. The facility was a long way from home on the West Coast, so once the commitment was made there was no turning back. As well there were no refunds. When the person got to facility it became clear that there was no special consideration for them there at all. In fact the person had to hire someone at the facility to help them, and then go out on their own to get the things they needed.

What ended up transpiring is that basically the person was ostracized from the rest of the group. It was apparent this person was struggling, and it became clear that the others in the group were turned off by the struggles. In several conversations it was implied that perhaps there was something this person had "done" and that these struggles were "lessons" to teach this person or "correct" them in some way. This added a layer of stress to an already stressful situation. While the person got through the class, it was difficult and lonely emotionally for them.

My reaction to this is sadness and disappointment at the people involved with this. Here is a group of people who are in a class to learn how to heal and counsel, and right under their noses is someone they could both help heal and counsel! Instead of seeing this as an opportunity not only to learn, but to practice what they are learning, and in effect practice what they preach, they ended up ostracizing the person, and as well blaming them for their struggles instead.

I have spoken about this before but I will reiterate that pop psychology should not be excused or tolerated to shame, blame, or in any other way suggest that someone is responsible for their struggles. There is no excuse to ostracize, invalidate, or in any other way diminish someone simply because they are having challenges. In fact personally I applaud this person for their courage and persistence. They not only took a long airplane trip, but they withstood all that was thrown at them and stayed through until the end. They did not let their struggles stop them, nor did they give up. This is the mark of true courage. I do not believe that they did anything wrong. Furthermore I do not believe there was any reason or justification for the behavior of others in that group. If there was a "lesson" at all, it was not for that person but for that group of people. This group failed the lesson in my opinion. The lesson would have been to reach out to this person, to be a support, and to be humbled by the opportunity presented to be the healers they ostensibly were learning to be.

We must practice not only healing and compassion but common sense. Instead of pseudo psychology, blame, and shame, we have to practice unconditional love and acceptance. Common sense would dictate that if someone is having challenges, we should not add to those challenges but instead attempt to ease them with understanding and compassion. There seems to be this assumption that if one works with healing, then one must be healed themselves and have little to no challenges. This is an absurd notion and a harmful one. As long as we live in human form we will have challenges. Unless the day comes where there is no such thing as death, dying, decay, sadness, and challenges, we will all have our moments and battles with these things.

Let us then remember to practice compassion and leave pseudo psychology and the ideas of shame and blame at the door where they belong.

Author's Bio: 

I have followed a healing path now for nearly twenty years. I started as a nondenominational lay minister and worked as one from 1980-1992.

I received my ordination through the Universal Light Church and I have both my bachelors and masters degree in Divinity.

In January 2005 I received my Master in several modalities. In order to keep up with my Reiki education and practice I am involved in ongoing Reiki educational classes and clinics. I am a certified Sekem-Seichim Reiki Master, Usui Master, Usui Okuiden Shoden Shinpiden Master, Gendai Master, Lightarian™ Reiki and Karuna® Reiki Master.

In the past, I worked with Frederick Memorial Hospital in their new Cancer ward and endeavor, and as well at Frances Scott Key Mall Wellness Center by giving Reiki to all who need it. To date, I have been working with Dr. Harold Bob at Season's Hospice of Baltimore Maryland, providing Reiki to dying patients, as well as training hospice staff in Reiki techniques and treatments.