In 2006, after over two decades in the business world, I did something previously unimaginable to me. I began to study the spiritual healing practices of the Apache people. Equally if not more remarkable, in 2019, my wife and I founded a 501©3 non-profit organization, The Pinchas Foundation, to spread spiritual healing and support equine rescue work.
My journey to spiritual healing
In a nutshell, spiritual healing is about healing from the inside out. Spiritual healing practitioners believe that physical illness is caused by the emotions, thoughts, and life-choices that we make that are not in our best interest. Achieving deep and long-lasting healing requires identifying and working on these emotions, thoughts, and choices.
As a generalization, people tend to find their way to spiritual healing in one of two ways. First, they are exposed to it, usually by their families, at a young age, and so it simply becomes part of them like reading and writing. Or second, when they are older, they struggle in one or more areas of their lives, and nothing more traditional helps them move through their challenges. So, they try a spiritual healing approach; it works; and they become believers.
The latter is what happened for me. Starting in my late twenties, I wrestled with health issues for the better part of 15 years. Finally, I met a woman who practices the healing ways of her Apache ancestors, and she helped me to finally break through and feel so much better. In addition to making progress on my physical health, these methods also helped transform all areas of my life, including repairing some of the closest and most important relationships in my life. And believe me they needed repairing. More on this below.
Spiritual healing and Western Medicine
So there is no confusion, I am also a big believer in and greatly respect Western medicine. Indeed, I regard the advances in Western medicine and its stunning capabilities and successes as nothing short of remarkable. And Western medicine has made an important difference for me over the years.
But for many people and animals who have not been sufficiently helped by Western medicine, I have seen spiritual practices make a real impact. In these cases, spiritual healing has complemented and improved on the results of Western medicine. Sometimes, it is a powerful alternative to Western medicine. So then, what is spiritual healing exactly?
The goal of spiritual healing is to help bring balance, healing, and joy to our bodies and the situations in our lives. Let’s say you have a problem with your leg, your heart, your stomach, etc., you go to a Western doctor and maybe you do rehab, take medicine, have an operation, make lifestyle changes, etc. And hopefully things improve, because we believe in doing these things.
But spiritual traditions take things a bit further and generally believe in healing from the inside out. This means that to have the deepest and most long-lasting healing, work must be done to address not just the physical symptoms but also the underlying thoughts, feelings, and ways we are living our lives that cause our bodies to become sick – either physically or emotionally – and out of balance.
None of this is to point fingers and blame people for becoming sick. We believe that life is about learning and growing… for all of us. And problems with our bodies are not accusations, but merely messages that some work is needed. And this is really good news because it means that by doing the work, there can often be healing that might not otherwise have been expected.
Therefore, our work is to try to assist people in understanding at the deepest level what is causing illness and help them in bringing their bodies and lives back into balance.
Spiritual healing “examples”
Just like Western medicine, there are a whole series of what I call “diagnostic” practices. For example, people who have lower back pain often first feel pain when they lift something heavy. Indeed, lower back muscles are very much involved in lifting; that is one of their core functions. And it often turns out that people with lower back pain are either doing too much for other people or not enough – in other words, they need to do more or less “lifting” metaphorically for others. In such cases, the healing process can involve trying to help the person identify where they need to do more, or less, for the people in their lives.
This doesn’t mean that there isn’t something physically wrong; there often is, and traditional interventions like rehab and exercise may be needed. But it can also mean that rebalancing certain relationships may deepen, hopefully accelerate, and make longer-lasting the healing.
As a second example, in autoimmune diseases, our own immune systems are basically attacking our own bodies. While this can suggest many things, it can reflect that mentally and emotionally we are attacking ourselves by constantly thinking negatively about ourselves. The spiritual healing process may therefore include things like doing self-esteem work and asking the person to devote a certain amount of time each day or each week to activities he or she finds nourishing – for example spending time in nature, listening to music, or spending more time with supportive friends.
Finally, as I mentioned above, I needed to repair many of the key relationships in my life. One of my physical symptoms was that my body felt toxic a big percent of the time. Well, I also used to be angry a lot. And I think many would agree that depending upon how anger is handled, it can be very “toxic.” As I learned techniques to better manage my anger, the feelings of toxicity declined.
The core of my practice is the spiritual healing ways of the Apache people. But I also incorporate Kabbalah practices in my work.
A number of the specific methods we use are on our website’s spiritual healing page, www.pinchas.org/spiritual-healing, and I list some of them below. But really when I am honored with the opportunity to help somebody, I start by going into prayer, confirming if I am meant to work with the person, and then asking what is needed. I will get information about what I need to do to help the person and as well what the person needs to do.
Regarding part of what I am meant to do, we believe that there is healing energy all around us, that the Universe has an infinite amount of healing energy. I work to tap into this energy and channel it to the people I’m trying to assist. This both helps them to heal and assists them in doing the work they are meant to do.
Some of the specific healing modalities I use (and teach) are:
• Healing with color and light
• Healing with sound• Breathing, meditation, and visioning (or visualization) techniques
• Connecting with nature
• Working with stones, plants, oils, and herbs
• A variety of energy work including Reiki, which is a powerful method for channeling the universal healing energies
• For some, prayer
• Dream interpretation
• Connecting with one’s spirit guides
• Spiritual protection teachings
• Life purpose and other work that can resemble traditional coaching/counselling work
• A variety of teachings and tools from Kabbalah.
Regarding connecting with one’s spirit guides, this is a core practice of the Apache tradition. In brief, our guides are always with us and ready to assist and guide us in how to best walk in the light in all areas of our lives. Like many spiritual practitioners, I have come to believe that there is a greater intelligence or wisdom in the Universe, well really it is Creator’s wisdom and light. In the Apache spiritual tradition, working with one’s guides is how one receives guidance from this wisdom and light.
But I try to meet people where they are and can assist people who do not believe in guides or Creator.
I’d like to take a moment to discuss connection, which so often is vital for healing. As I wrote above, our bodies fall out of balance when there is a mental, emotional, or spiritual imbalance. And the more we
• connect with and value our true selves,
• connect with and pursue our genuine life purpose so we are truly living from the heart,
• connect in a mutually nurturing way with other people, and
• for some connect with Creator; the more our lives fall into balance, the more we heal on all levels, and the happier we become. So an important part of the healing often involves working on deepening these connections.
An important part of our work is teaching classes in the techniques we practice so people can learn to self-heal over time. This goal is worthwhile for reasons including: 1) It costs less than having to always work with a practitioner when things come up, 2) It reduces dependence on the practitioner, and 3) it is empowering.
The bulk of the Foundations resources are dedicated to supporting equine rescue efforts. Because many of the horses we help support were rescued from very difficult circumstances, they need a lot of medical attention to have the best chance of having happy, healthy, and productive lives. So in addition to funding more routine procedures, the Foundation has also funded more advanced treatments, for example stem cell therapy.
For us, equine rescue and spiritual healing are connected in a few ways. One, our spiritual healing teacher has dedicated her life to equine rescue. Two, interacting with horses is proven to be remarkably healing for many. And three, we believe that all people and our planet can only fully heal to the extent that all people and animals dependent on mankind are honored and treated with compassion.