We heal headaches, the flu, and even cancer. But can we help heal society? Illness is not unique to individuals. There are social ills as well. As healers, can we truly make a difference in society?
Murder, rape and robbery. What cause such violence? What if we looked at violence as a sad "symptom" of a larger social imbalance? Perhaps violence is an easy-to-see "inflammation" that accompanies a harder-to-see problem within society. Like any illness, the symptoms are usually more visible than the cause itself.
Illness within our own body usually comes from a variety of complex causes. Poor nutrition, stress, contagion might all combine to create illness. Likewise, social ills are caused by a complex combination of causes. So what causes violent behavior? Perhaps harming another becomes easier when we undervalue human life. Is the human existence considered something sacred? Or is it something lowly and innately soiled? In general, do we feel connected and linked to our neighbors, as part of a single whole? Or are we separate entities, foreign, individual beings? History defines us in certain categories, where people of "other" categories are separate. Biases for race, religion, nationality and gender have all created "us" versus "them" over the centuries. This separation can be as fancy as political foreign policy, or as simple as the competitive games we teach our children, where one side plays against the other. We create opponents instead of partners. We score points over one another, instead of working together, as one, for a common goal. The games in life may change as we grow up, but how we treat the other players sometimes stays the same.
Violent behavior often erupts, like a pressure cooker exploding when people become frustrated. What causes such frustration? What natural parts of life have been choked off, stifled to create the type of pressure that causes someone to lash out? This frustration can come from large-scale social pressures like poverty or prejudice, or can be as simple as the frustration we all have felt on a lonely night.
Repeat offenders show that jails are only temporary band-aids. (They wipe the nose, without curing the cold.) As healers, can we diagnose the causes of social ills, and not merely treat the symptoms? Can we send our magical energies (as well as tangible deeds) towards things that weave us all closer together, rather than those that divide us farther apart? Can we share the things that make each other's life full of blessing and joy, rather than full of anger and frustration? While no one person can change it all, we can each look for solutions in our own personal lives, with the people we affect every day. Can we help heal society? The patient's life depends on it!