In "A Healing Experience," Nicola told the story of a beautiful healing session she had with a woman she called Eve. Eve had come to Sedona for a weekend workshop we did on prayer. Once that was over, and while still feeling uplifted by it, she came to Nicola for a healing session. At that time, she told Nicola she had a medical issue, one that was possibly serious, though she wouldn't be seeing a specialist for nearly three months. After the session was over, the two of them discovered that during the session they had each independently had a powerful experience of God's Love.
In this article, we hear Eve's side of the story, including the eventual outcome of her medical condition. Her medical condition did seem to resolve, and she did feel that her healing session played an important role in this. Even if that is true, however, the session needs to be placed in context. First, it followed on the heels of her attendance at a workshop, and we have noticed that workshops tend to make people more open and sensitive to healing sessions. Second, it seemed to act as a catalyst for Eve's own process. She reports that in the weeks following, she had renewed energy to study the Course and found it easier to meditate and had visions during some of her meditations. Therefore, if the healing session did play a role, it appears to be as a point in Eve's own process, one that was facilitated by her prior work and then, in turn, boosted that work.
In April 2002, after flying home to Calgary from Toronto, I noticed a sense of fullness in my ears and assumed I had some pressure problems relating to the flight or had wax in my ears. A visit to the doctor at the walk-in clinic confirmed that both diagnoses were incorrect. The doctor told me to take decongestants. I did but the symptoms did not abate. Weeks later, I went to my family doctor, who prescribed a cortisone inhaler and told me to get my hearing tested if things didn't improve.
The next week the audiologist told me, after testing my hearing, that I had a moderately severe hearing loss in my left ear. She suggested I see a specialist soon since the loss was atypical, being in the lower levels of sound/hearing and therefore not related to loss associated with aging. As per usual, I looked up sudden onset sensorineural hearing loss on the Internet and found that my condition could be related to neurological causes (i.e. MS, brain tumors, etc.). I started to worry. I obsessed. I thought about learning sign language. And I prayed. And I could not get an appointment with the ENT specialist until July.
But I was happy to come to the May25/26 workshop in Sedona. Some fears that flying to Sedona might make my hearing worse did not materialize, although by this time I couldn't hear well on the phone and a lot of music sounded bizarre. I remember having a clear sense at that workshop that I was where I was supposed to be—that sense of surety is unusual for me. I felt buoyant. Connecting with like souls and material that I loved pushed away the dark clouds. Before the conference I had e-mailed Nicola to request a healing session on Monday morning before our drive down to Phoenix. I felt very certain that I wanted to experience her work.
The session with Nicola stands outside time for me. It feels a little like watching a movie or listening to someone's guided visualization—the experience is encapsulated in my mind. I remember rather vividly the drive to her house. My husband was driving and I was navigating the unfamiliar terrain. I chatted to Alex about how little I knew of the Sedona landscape. We laughed about the oddity of me coming to this gorgeous place and hanging out at the Hampton Inn hearing lectures. (He had hiked and taken rolls and rolls of film.)
We found the house easily. I remember bending down to sniff and touch the coral roses growing outside of Nicola's door. Nicola and I chatted briefly. I told her about my hearing problems and the fear I had of my symptoms indicating something serious. I probably gushed to her about how wonderful the workshop had been. She advised me to use a phrase during our session if my mind started to wander. I thought I would use an old favourite, "My Father and I are one." But I found when I was lying on her table that the phrase, "Here I am, Lord" popped up in my mind.
I felt right at home with Nicola rather quickly. Her touch was just right. She was there and not there. It is not at all usual for me to feel that degree of comfort with someone I don't know well. I was happy on her table and calmly expectant.
Fairly early on in the session I felt a "physical" sensation in my chest—an opening up—honestly, like a kind of psychic surgery. It felt fairly dramatic, but I did not experience a sense of alarm. Curious. Not long after that I began to feel long rolling waves of being loved…by God. I was surprised to say the least, and very moved. It was a very strong, sure feeling of love. I have not experienced it before or since.
The feelings kept coming in waves and I remember my eyelids flickering and tears beginning to stream down my face. At one point I began to be afraid I would sob full out. I said my "mantra" and settled into the experience. A bit more time passed and I remember thinking, "Oh, so this is what I've been searching for all my life. Oh." Towards the end a few thoughts of, "This is too good to be true" flickered across the horizon of my mind and died a quick death.
I remember being a bit shy about talking to Nicola—reluctant perhaps to break the experience. But she seemed content with my mumbling incoherently. I did tell her that mostly I experienced being sure I was loved by God. When she shared with me her process pretty well matched my own, I was relieved and felt validated. I could tell that she appreciated and shared the profundity of my experience and that has remained important—even crucial—to me. All too soon, I realized that husband and car awaited for the journey home. I bid Nicola adieu, hoping our paths might cross again. On the trip home I felt a quiet elation, but I did not speak to anyone of the process then or in the time ahead.
In the weeks following our session I continued to experience some spiritual awakening. I found it easier to meditate and saw some visions. In one experience, I had a visitation from Jesus where I touched his robe and some words of his echoed in my mind. Most importantly, I experienced a renewed energy to study the Course—a sense of effervescence about my commitment to it as my path. However, my hearing did not improve. I didn't worry about it much. I joked about it whenever possible and considered having one of those old fashioned tin trumpet/cones made for myself as a joke.
In July, I saw the ENT specialist, Dr. S. Phillip Park. He examined me and had his audiologist technician re-test my hearing. He informed me that I had a serious hearing deficit in my left ear probably due to trauma, physical or infection, some time ago. No signs of tumors, etc. He didn't think my hearing would change, told me to come back in six months and get a hearing aid if I wanted one. I left upset, but glad the situation wasn't life threatening. I decided to wait re the hearing aid, which wasn't exactly a typical response for me.
Over the months, I "forgot" about my hearing. I immersed myself in text study, thanks to the loan of tapes and study material from folks in Sedona. My visions stopped and I settled in for the long haul, often feeling a bit lonely and weird about my spiritual passion.
Another trip to Sedona that October nourished me, and I knew I would persevere despite the difficulties. I wanted to pursue more spiritual healing, but by then Nicola had returned to England and I knew of no one else who was practicing Course-based healing. I did listen to the centre's tapes on healing and found Nicola's talks inspiring.
In January 2003, I had a follow-up appointment with Dr. Park. I had secretly been hoping and observing that my hearing might be improving. I now could answer the phone and hear with my left ear. During the audiologist exam my hearing seemed better. The next thing I knew, Dr. Park came into the office and shook my hand, grinning from ear to ear. "Your hearing is 100% normal," he said, looking very pleased. I was stunned. After I left his office, I phoned my husband at work. "Guess what, Honey," I gushed. "It is back, perfectly normal." My husband (who is not a Course student) exclaimed that it was a miracle.
I got just a little excited and started to wonder. I e-mailed Nicola that night with my good news, telling her I thought our session jump-started my healing. Since that time, I have shared my story with very few people. I do believe in the intensity of what I experienced with Nicola that morning almost a year ago. There is no doubt in my mind that whatever happened has had remarkable effects on my spiritual life. Of course, I cannot be sure that there is a 1:1 relationship between that experience and the gradual healing of what looked like a permanent hearing loss. Dr. Park was not certain about what caused the problem, my recovery, or whether symptoms might return. I remain open to the interpretation of a healing, believing as I do in the reality of what happened between Nicola and I united with the Holy Spirit.
Yes, I do have doubts. I worry sometimes that symptoms may recur and my ego is waging a full frontal attack as I commit this story to "paper." I am aware during these doubting phases that our old "friend" guilt seems at the root of it all. Fortunately, I am also reading the chapter on the holy instant (Chapter 15) and finding the text's comments on doubt are indeed germane. As always, I need to strengthen my daily practice and reach out for support.
In closing, I express my gratitude to Nicola and everyone at the Circle for all of their love and kindness. My life has changed forever. I will continue to have and express my belief that two people united in their purpose by the Holy Spirit can travel well beyond these earthly dreams.