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 process operating at all times and all levels within all living beings, defined as:  



The Healing Principle is a consequence of natural selection and evolution.  From the dawn of life on Earth, individuals that did not try to survive, or physically heal, or seek quality of life, or promote their health and well-being, would have been at a physical disadvantage compared with those that did, and would have been less likely to survive long enough to reproduce.  So the Healing Principle quickly became a fierce primary imperative throughout nature.  The Healing Principle unites biology with religion, spirituality and morality.

We usually overlook its existence because it is so fundamental and all-pervasive, in the same way that a fish doesn’t notice the water.  It is most obvious in 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 operates through biological processes and through actions, thoughts, intentions, attitudes, etc.  It is a verb, a process of doing.

Its ultimate purpose is to keep us alive long enough to reproduce our DNA, but it operates the entire time we are alive, seeking flourishing in the here and now and in the long term.  It can be treated as a commodity in its own right since we can give it to others with our actions (“morality”), and it has certain distinct properties.  It is “nature’s compassion” and it pervades all living beings at all times.  

While it is true that we don’t have to earn it it is an inherent part of all life we can assist and nurture it (in ourselves and others) with beneficial actions and behaviour.  This applies to everyone.  If you nurture it, it grows of its own accord, like a beautiful flower.  It is something we can love.  We love to see it at work in others and ourselves.  It’s also possible to hinder it, to set it back, with destructive behaviour.  

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.   



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


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”


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


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”