The Healing Principle



... reaching towards the light.  



All beings everywhere want to be happy.

All beings tremble before danger, all fear death.  

All beings fear before danger, life is dear to all.  

The Buddha



When you cut your finger, it heals up by itself.  

If a mad dog is chasing you, you run away.  

If a car is speeding straight for you, you jump out of the way.  



“The Healing Principle” is an automatic biological imperative operating at all times and all levels within all living beings, defined as a tendency to:  



Experience the tendency to thrive,

Nurture the tendency to thrive.



The DNA molecule reproduces.  It makes copies of itself.  

All living things are constructed and operated using instructions carried by their DNA, and consequently, all living things exist to reproduce.  

In order to reproduce, they have to survive.  

In order to survive, they have to stay as healthy as possible.  

These last two, seeking well being and survival, constitute the Healing Principle.  

The Healing Principle is a direct, basic consequence of evolution and natural selection.  


Natural selection

The process in nature by which, according to Darwin's theory of evolution, organisms that are better adapted to their environment tend to survive longer and transmit more of their genetic characteristics to succeeding generations than do those that are less well adapted.

Free Dictionary


So, after life started on Earth, the Healing Principle would quickly have become stronger and stronger within successive generations of living things because those that most sought to preserve their health and survival would have out-bred the others.  

In living beings it is helped by actions, biological and psychological processes that encourage health, well being, feeling good, and survival.  

In practice, it means making the most of things, and doing the work of nurturing, of putting the right conditions in place so that well being can flourish.  

We love to see the Healing Principle at work in others; if we are not selfish and bitter, we love to see others happy and flourishing.  We love and admire people we describe as brave, those who risk their own well-being for the sake of others, or who expend effort for others, or who protect others.  We feel good when we produce it in others: when we share our own well-being with others.  


What we do for ourselves we can do for others, and this is called compassion.  

Frequent short-sightedness of the Healing Principle

Nature has built us for survival rather than happiness.  However, we want both.  The Healing Principle can sometimes be rather blind and troublesome in its operations, which can lead to unhappiness, for example when it makes us selfish or when the ego constantly has us in a state of worry and high alert.  If we want to achieve happiness, then we may need to modify the natural order slightly, so as to apply the Healing Principle in a way that is more optimum for happiness than nature intended.  

Short and long term consequences

Some things make us feel good in the short term – but are damaging in the long term.  Likewise, some things that are uncomfortable in the short term bring success in the long term.  The short term only lasts for a short time, while the long term lasts for a significant chunk of your life.  

Facts and values

The fact and expression of the Healing Principle is one of the primary things that human beings value.  

An atheist religion?

The Healing Principle is effectively a force that pervades all of nature, so therefore it pervades you.  It is at once personal and transcendent: the natural, universal, active drive towards health, strength, feeling good, well-being and survival.  

The Healing Principle is a big powerful idea whose evidence is everywhere in nature, although many people have trouble seeing it.  It is perhaps the most sacred thing we have.  As nature’s compassion (“God’s love”), it forms one of the “DNA” strands of the existing organized religions, and together with the concept of truth, affords a mystical and spiritual perspective to atheists.

The nurturing actions required by the Healing Principle can be treated as a meditation, since actions happen in the present moment.  



I will be with you – will you be with Me?  

Richard Foster – “Life with God – a life-transforming new approach to Bible reading”  


Did not He find thee an orphan, and shelter thee?  

Did not He find thee erring, and guide thee?

Did not He find thee needy, and suffice thee?


As for the orphan, do not oppress him,

and as for the beggar, scold him not;

and as for thy Lord’s blessing, exalt it.  


The Qu’ran: Sura 93


Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for.  Keep on seeking, and you will find.  Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives.  Everyone who seeks, finds.  And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.

Jesus: Matthew 7:7,8


The disciples said to Jesus, “Tell us what the kingdom of heaven is like.” He said to them, “It is like a mustard seed.  It is the smallest of all seeds. But when it falls on tilled soil, it produces a great plant and becomes a shelter for the birds of the sky.”

Jesus: Gospel of St Thomas


... evolution selects for adaptive actions.  

Michael Tomasello – “A Natural History of Human Thinking”


In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.  And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.  

Albert Camus – “Return to Tipasa”


In all species, nature works to renew itself as it works to nourish itself, and to protect itself from danger, each by its kind and for its kind, in the great work of continuation that is evolution. In humankind the work of renewal lies in the work of affection, the bond of one to another made by desire.

A C Grayling – “The Good Book: a secular Bible”


Eventually Muhammed’s religion of al-Llah was known as islām, the act of existential surrender that each convert was expected to make to God: a muslim is ‘one who surrenders’ his or her whole being to the Creator.  At first, however, the believers called their religion tazaqqa.  This is an obscure word, which is not easy to translate.  By cultivating tazaqqa, Muhammed’s converts were to cloak themselves in the virtues of compassion and generosity; they were to use their intelligence to cultivate a caring and responsible spirit, which made them want to give graciously of what they had to all God’s creatures.  By pondering the mysteries of creation intelligently Muslims would learn to behave kindly and this generous attitude would mean that they acquired a spiritual refinement.  Al-Llah was the great exemplar.  Muslims were urged to contemplate His ‘signs’ in order to appreciate His graciousness to the whole of the natural world.  As a consequence of his generous intelligence, there was order and fruitfulness instead of chaos and selfish barbarism.  If they submitted to His edicts, they would find that their own lives could be transfigured by a similar refinement.  

Karen Armstrong – “Muhammad”


chance uk – nurturing and healing troubled children

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