“You can heal him only by perceiving the sanity in him”

Last night I was reading “The Correction of Error” in Chapter 9 and this line really hit me: “When a brother behaves insanely, you can heal him only by perceiving the sanity in him.”

Of course, I’ve read and even practiced this line many, many times. But it hit me in a new way last night. It just seemed so eminently reasonable. If you want your brother to regain sanity, what better way to help him do that than to magnify the sanity already in him? If you want more sanity in him, why not acknowledge what sanity is already and thus help it to expand?

It almost surprised me how reasonable this sounded, given how unrealistic it seems in the midst of everyday life. It’s almost like the conflict between conventional and alternative medicine (I don’t mean to actually engage that issue—just use it as a metaphor). It’s as if I habitually want to play the surgeon—cut into the body and remove the tumor—when what is really called for is that I work to strengthen the body’s own powers of healing. If you just substitute the mind for the body in this metaphor, you get my point.

So today I am going to try to set aside the  surgeon role (except when it’s really needed and appropriate, which at times it is), and focus on being a naturopath of the mind, so to speak—strengthening the mind’s natural forces of healing by acknowledging its native sanity.

I probably should start with my five-year-old, who I’ve been actively correcting so that I can write this post!