Healing and Presence

with Don DeMercurio

HEALING  present participle of heal (Verb)
1. (of a person or treatment) Cause (a wound, injury, or person) to become sound or healthy again: “a healing effect on the body”.
2. Become sound or healthy again.

In the context of spiritual work, I use the word healing to reflect what occurs when we open to and experience contact with the “great mystery.” This great mystery is our true nature. It is who and what we are when all of the conditions and circumstances of our life are set aside and our essence is revealed.

Healing, in this context, is not something we as individuals can control or influence, except to the degree that we open and align with what is at the core of our existence.

On the surface of our life we experience, pain, pleasure, illness, hunger, satisfaction, joy, confusion, peace, terror, and many other states that come and go. Some states last for short periods of time, others continue on for long periods of time. Eventually, we experience death and all of these conditions cease to occur as part of physical life. Naturally, as human beings who live in this level of reality we pull for the experiences that bring us pleasure and push away from the experiences that create pain. The ancients tell us that this is the cause of our deepest suffering.

Healing can also be viewed as an art form, an active meditation, a bridging of the manifest and non-manifest realities of ourself. And, while it can profoundly affect our physical reality and symptoms of physical, emotional and psychological health, if we aim our efforts only toward the alleviation of symptoms we miss the opportunity to experience and understand at the deepest level what is naturally and organically taking place. We miss the fact that there is an intelligence at play that is moving through our lives in every moment. This intelligence is guided by a love that is always moving itself toward the truth of itself.

So, how do we experience this organic, loving, dynamic, intelligent force of healing? As human beings we experience it first, as a presence.


1. The state or fact of existing, occurring, or being present in a place or thing.
2. A person or thing that exists or is present in a place but is not seen: “the monks became aware of a strange presence”.

If we look at these two Wikipedia definitions of presence we see two distinctly different ways of looking at this word. From one perspective presence is related to the fact that I am here; that I am present is something that I experience through my senses. From a spiritual perspective this is what the Buddhists call the “suchness” of life. How do I know I exist? There is an internal knowing that I exist. Not only does our mind tell us that we exist, but there’s a felt sense of something that is alive, that is being touched and moved by what comes into my awareness.

Many of us have also had the experience of feeling something change in the atmosphere or field around us that is unseen, yet distinctly felt. It might have been after a loved one has died and we say we feel a distinct sense of their presence entering the room. Or we might be in a sacred space and have the sense of a divine presence entering our awareness. In the beginning stages of our realization we understand these phenomenon to be outside of us, but as we progress into deeper states of awareness we understand that all experience is arising as the Self.

The more that we can truly be ourselves, relax into the direct and immediate experience of ourselves without the filters and veils of our memories, history and conditioning, the more we experience a substantiality that is not just our body. This primordial substance has a fullness, aliveness, an organic homogeneity that is the presence and experience of the Soul.

So, when we begin to experience the more subtle layers of our existence, we first experience it as a sense of presence. As we relax into ourselves, we begin to notice that this Presence becomes infused with different qualities, naturally arising, as exactly what is needed in the moment. If we’re not interfering by trying to control the moment or escape from the moment we become the emanation of joy, or clarity, or compassion, or strength or profundity, just to name a few. These are the actions of Being manifesting through our Soul, as our Self, as Presence.