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 at its most obvious during emergency situations, but it is with us all the time.  All the time, we seek to preserve and protect our life and well-being.  All the time, we reach for the light.    



“The Healing Principle” is a process within all living beings, defined as:  



A human being can be compared to planet Earth.  On the surface is the atmosphere and weather – our thoughts and emotions.  Inside, at the centre, is the fire.  This is the Healing Principle: our automatic urge to survive and flourish.  

The Healing Principle is a result of the evolutionary arms race.  From the dawn of life, individuals which did not try to survive, or physically heal, or seek quality of life, or promote their health and wellbeing – would have been at a physical disadvantage compared with those that did, and would have been less likely to survive long enough to reproduce.  Hence, the Healing Principle unifies science and religion.  

The Healing Principle permeates every aspect of life.  It is one of many forces.  It is not always obvious and you may have to dig for it in order to bring it out.  

The Healing Principle translates into thoughts, attitudes, words and actions.  It is all about maximizing your long-term interests.  When we look at morality, it is apparent that your long-term interests depend partly on how you share, empathize and cooperate with others.  

The Healing Principle (benefit / harm; quality of life) is the currency of morality.  When we are good to someone, this is what we give them, and when we harm someone, this is what we take away.

Nature has built us for survival rather than happiness.  Of course, we want both.  The Healing Principle can sometimes be rather blind, short-term and counter-productive in its operations.  If we want to achieve happiness, then we 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.  


Long-term and short-term consequences

The long term lasts for a long time, while the short term does not last very long.  What seems like the easy way out in the short term may have very poor long term consequences.  

What you do now is connected to events in the future by the passage of time and the chain of cause and effect.  An action that only takes an instant can have consequences that last a lifetime.  



Why do good?  

This is the same as asking, “what are the benefits of compassion?”  Compassion makes life better for you and those around you.  It raises the Healing Principle in you and those around you.  That’s why it feels good.  Humans live in an interconnected world of relationships, and compassion makes relationships more rewarding and successful.  Compassion promotes connectedness with other people, while selfishness and conflict create separateness.  Most of the time we live trapped alone inside our own egos, but when we practice compassion, we expand the ego to include someone else in its benevolence.  

Why practice compassion?  

The compassionate species




God is love.  Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.  

Jesus; 1 John 4:16


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


"... a spiritual nuclear force that bears a most radical power to transform.  ... this Supernatural Light-force ... a direct manifestation of faith."  

Tau Malachi: “The Gnostic Gospel of St Thomas”


270  A man is not a great man because he is a warrior and kills other men; but because he hurts not any living being he in truth is called a great man.  

The Dhammapada


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.  

from “Muhammad” by Karen Armstrong




The id, ego and super-ego from

Freud's id is the unconscious part of the psyche that is filled with primitive instincts and seeks to ensure survival, as well as pleasure instead of pain. So the id would be responsible for things such as our hunger and sex drives. Freud came up with a phrase to explain the principle that guides the id: he called it the pleasure principle, and it refers to the seeking of pleasure and the satisfaction of biological needs.

Freud did not believe that the id made any judgments about right and wrong. Decisions about morality were the domain of the superego. The superego is roughly synonymous with our conscience (not conscious). Freud believed that the superego would often work to counteract the id. For example, if your id is telling you that you're hungry in the middle of a meeting at work, your superego might tell you that it wouldn't be okay to get up and leave the meeting before it was finished merely to satisfy your hunger, even if your unconscious id is telling you to do precisely that.

So, what decides whether the id or the superego wins a conflict such as this? That's the role of the ego. The ego is the mediator between the id and the superego, and also the home of conscious awareness.

Similar to what he did with the id and the pleasure principle, Freud came up with a term to describe the governing force of the ego, called the reality principle. According to the reality principle, the ego seeks to fulfill the desires of the id, except that, rather than giving in to immediate gratification, the ego, operating under the reality principle, seeks to delay gratification in ways that will maximize long-term pleasure. If you were to give in to your id and walk out of a meeting to eat lunch, for example, that might cause long-term grief, because it might result in you getting fired from your job.

So, you've learned that Freud divided the human psyche into three parts. The id is unconscious and operates according to the pleasure principle, or to satisfy primitive impulses immediately to bring pleasure and secure our survival. The superego counteracts the id by housing our conscience, our sense of right and wrong. Finally, the ego mediates these conflicting forces. The ego corresponds to the realm of conscious awareness, and operates according to what Freud called a reality principle, by which the ego seeks to fulfill the drives of the id only if and when doing so is realistic according to social norms, and will promote long-term pleasure.




Attributes and qualities that express the Healing Principle

Strength; self-control; discipline; strength of will; willpower






Connecting with what’s real

Willingness to be honest with yourself

Willingness to change yourself

Accepting someone despite their faults

Allowing yourself and others to make mistakes

Fulfilling your obligations with good grace, no matter how hard it is.  

Working towards your goals

Making the most of opportunities



Good faith

Good naturedness

Finding a way through

Trying again














High-quality work













Independence of mind



Not giving up on yourself

Not giving up on someone else




For a person who does not have diligence,

Neither intelligence, power, wealth, nor strength will help him.  

He is like a captain with a boat but no sail.  

Jigme Lingpa


Scholars end up with empty hands in their armpits,

While dedicated people smash even challenges like Mount Sumeru into dust.   

Tibetan proverb




The 12 Principles of Attitudinal Healing

from the Attitudinal Healing Connection in Oakland, California.


  1. The essence of our being is love.
  2. Health is inner peace. Healing is letting go of fear.
  3. Giving and receiving are the same.
  4. We can let go of the past and of the future.
  5. Now is the only time there is and each instant is for giving.
  6. We can learn to love ourselves and others by forgiving rather than judging.
  7. We can become love finders rather than fault finders.
  8. We can choose and direct ourselves to be peaceful inside regardless of what is happening outside.
  9. We are students and teachers to each other.
  10. We can focus on the whole of life rather than the fragments.
  11. Since love is eternal, change need not be viewed as fearful.
  12. We can always perceive ourselves and others as extending love or giving a call for help.


Attitudinal Healing affirms that we are responsible for our thoughts and whatever feelings we experience. Attitudinal Healing encourages us to reexamine our relationships, bringing them into the present by releasing past judgments and grievances. Attitudinal Healing is based on the belief that all communication is for joining and not separation.




Well-being and Signature Strengths

From "Flourish ― a new understanding of happiness and well-being ― and how to achieve them" by Martin Seligman:  


Well-being is thought to be made up of these aspects:  


Positive emotion:

"Taking all things together, how happy would you say you are?"  

Engagement, interest:

"I love learning new things."

Meaning, purpose:

"I generally feel that what I do in my life is valuable and worthwhile."  


"In general, I feel very positive about myself."  


"I'm always optimistic about my future."  


"When things go wrong in my life, it generally takes me a long time to get back to normal.  (Opposite answers indicate more resilience.)  

Positive relationships:

"There are people in my life who really care about me."  


Signature Strengths: it is thought that possessing these virtues increases well-being ― promotes the Healing Principle.  


  1. Curiosity / interest in the world.
  2. Love of learning.  
  3. Judgement / critical thinking / open-mindedness.
  4. Ingenuity / originality / practical intelligence / street smarts.
  5. Social intelligence / personal intelligence / emotional intelligence.  
  6. Perspective.
  7. Valor and bravery.  
  8. Perseverence / industry / diligence.  
  9. Integrity / genuineness / honesty.
  10. Kindness and generosity.  
  11. Loving and allowing oneself to be loved.  
  12. Citizenship / duty / teamwork / loyalty.
  13. Fairness and equity.  [fair-mindedness]
  14. Leadership.
  15. Self-control.
  16. Prudence / discretion / caution.
  17. Humility and modesty.
  18. Appreciation of beauty and excellence.
  19. Gratitude.
  20. Spirituality / sense of purpose / faith / religiosity.




A week later Swagger rang me.  He had bumped into a deflated Tuggy Tug on the street.  He had nowhere to sleep and nothing to eat.  Swagger had only £10 in his pocket but nonetheless he bought a takeaway for them both and took Tuggy Tug back to his flat for the night.  As I put down the phone, I heard Tuggy Tug complaining, ‘I don’t even want this dry chicken, blud.  I can’t eat this dried food,’ and Swagger laughing at him.  ‘Content now?  Is your belly content?’  

I thought of the many successful men I knew; men of whom the world approved and rightly rewarded; men who moved people with their oratory; knowledgeable men who could fathom future trends and who set up foundations for the poor; men who would never steal a fridge.  How many, down to their last £10, would have taken in Tuggy Tug – and done it with love?  

Harriet Sergeant – “Among the Hoods – my years with a teenage gang”