This post is excerpted from Lightning Path Workbook Two: Healing.
So, what does healing have to do with authentic spirituality, human development, and connection? The answer is, everything. As you learned in LP Workbook One, your physical body is a vessel for your higher consciousness. The simple truth is, in order for the vessel to be able to hold/handle your higher consciousness, it has to be healthy and whole—and by that we mean there should be no “holes” in the glass. If there are holes in the glass, if there is damage to the physical body (the Physical Unit as we like to call the combination of body/mind) it doesn’t matter how fast you pour consciousness into the glass, the water simply pours out. If you got holes, you got to fix the holes. It is as simple as that.
As a technical/physical process of “fixing the holes” and healing the vessel, healing is important. However, it is not just a spiritual question of getting “water” into the glass. It is also a question of personal happiness, well-being, psychological and emotional health, and personal and familial satisfaction. As outlined in the paper Toxic Socialization, we all experience a toxic socialization process and this process does incredible damage to us.
For your information, socialization is the process whereby we are trained to fit into human society. It is the process of learning how to fit into one’s family and culture. Socialization starts at birth when we are, still, involuntarily assigned a binary gender category, and it continues through childhood, adolescence, and adulthood where we learn not only how to act and how to dress, but how to think and feel “properly” as well.
You would think that the socialization process we undergo would be designed to make us healthy, whole, well adapted, and happy, but it doesn’t. For reasons too complex to get into here, our modern socialization process is a Toxic Socialization process. This toxic socialization process is characterized by (to one extent or another) a) violence, b) neglect, and c) Intergenerational Toxicity (IT). A toxic socialization process is characterized by physical, psychological, emotional violence and neglect of our human needs. This violence and neglect damages us. Violence and neglect are encouraged by our “traditions” of thought (how we think about ourselves and this world) and action (e.g., how to raise children, how to treat each other, etc.) that are damaging and disconnecting. Let us look at each of these in turn starting with the ubiquitous violence of our daily lives.
As noted, toxic socialization is characterized by violence, neglect, and intergenerational toxicity (IT). Violence, in particular, is very damaging to the physical unit. If you read the article Toxic Socialization you’ll see the evidence is quite clear on this. Violence of any sort, and this includes the emotional damage of screaming, yelling, name-calling, etc., as well as the psychological violence of exclusion, condescension, manipulation, control, etc., a) damages our physical unit and b) makes it harder to contain consciousness.
As for damage to the physical unit, a quick summary will have to suffice.  Violence reduces school performance, causes cognitive deficits, depression, delinquency, drug and alcohol dependence, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, personality disorders, and so on. It is like getting punched in the arm over, and over, and over again. You might be able to recover from the first punch or two, but repeated assault will bring permanent neuro-muscular damage. The only difference is that in the case of emotional and psychological violence, the damage is emotional and psychological. The damage is to your emotional responses, like your ability to trust and connect with others, and your psychological structures and responses, like your ego and self-esteem.
As for making it harder to contain consciousness, violence causes all sorts of complex psychological and emotional difficulties for the connection process, none of which we can go into detail about here. Let us just say, it is very hard for somebody who is depressed or who struggles with a personality disorder or who has PTSD or borderline personality “disorder” to “handle” higher Consciousness. Why? Because the psychological and emotional damage caused by the violence of toxic socialization distorts the “beam of Consciousness” that flows into the body, and makes it much harder to get a positive and uplifting flow.
Think of it like this.
Think of your body like a prism, the kind that breaks white light into its component colors. Think of your Consciousness as a white beam of light flowing into the prism and then out into the “real” world beyond. In a healthy situation, the beam enters the body/prism and is then refracted out into the seven beautiful colours (the ROY-G-BIV) of the visible spectrum. However, when the physical unit is damaged, when the prism is cracked, the light does not refract out in pure form. When the prism is damaged and cracked (or sometimes even broken) the light that flows out is distorted, bent, and even incomplete (maybe one or two wavelengths no longer get through). To put it bluntly, violence cracks the prism (your physical unit) and diseases and distorts the light (the Consciousness) that flows through the body. When the damage is severe, the refracted light can be very distorted, ugly, and even sociopathic.
Obviously, if violence is as bad as we say it is, you want to reduce it in your life to near zero levels. We will talk more about violence in the Workbook next section on Environment. You can prepare for that section now, by assessing the violence of your own childhood, home, and work environments by using the LP How Toxic is my world? Survey instrument, at the link provided below.
Violence is not the only thing that damages your body and undermines your ability to connect. Neglect of our human needs also causes damage and undermines the development of your full human potential. It is very easy to understand why neglect is bad. It is like growing a pretty flower in a pretty pot, but not giving it enough food and water so that it can grow and thrive. If you don’t feed and water the plant, it will grow up to be smaller. If you starve the plant, it will grow up stunted, or die. If you want to grow a healthy and strong plant, you give it just the right amount food and water, give it just enough support and love, so it can grow up fast and strong.
It is the same with humans, only obviously, humans are more complex, and have many more needs, than a plant. The Lightning Path lists the following as essential human needs.
LP List of Essential Needs
- Physiological needs (food, water, sex)
- Safety needs (safe home, safe spaces to develop). Note, safety includes the absence of assault of any kind, including physical assault (e.g., spanking), and emotional and psychological assault.
- Love needs (unconditional support, acceptance, inclusion)
- Need for truth/understanding
- Need for esteem/Power (need to feel good about one’s self)
- Need for alignment with Highest Self (in psychology, self-actualization)
- Need for connection with Highest Self (in Transpersonal Psychology, transcendence; in Christianity, Islamic, salvation; in Buddhism, enlightenment; etc.)
For an extended discussion of human needs, see the article, What does it mean to be human? https://www.academia.edu/35635479/
To be clear, if a human child is going to grow into a strong, independent, free thinking, spiritually awakened and connected human adult, all the above needs must be simultaneously met, especially during human childhood, and especially-especially in the so-called sensitive periods of infancy, childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood. Just like when you’re growing a flower in a pot, it is only when all the human needs are met that full and healthy development, and strong and clean connection, can occur.
In addition to violence and neglect, the third aspect of toxic socialization that damages the physical unit and disconnects it from its own Highest Self is Intergenerational Toxicity (IT). Intergenerational toxicity is the damaging and disconnecting toxicity passed on from one generation to another by agents of socialization (i.e., parents, teachers, media, etc.). It’s our “traditions” and “ways of doing things” that are toxic to health and connection.
For clarity, we break Intergenerational Toxicity (IT) down into two separate categories, intergenerational disconnection experiences (IDE) and intergenerational disconnecting ideologies (IDI).
Intergenerational disconnection experiences are, essentially, toxic socialization practices (TSC) that are considered acceptable socialization practices, but that are toxic, and that damage and disconnect the physical unit.
Intergenerational disconnecting ideologies (IDI) are the ideas and ways of thinking passed on in our religious and cultural traditions that support toxic socialization practices.
Spanking is a good example of both toxic experiences and toxic ideas passed on through the generations. Spanking is an assault on our children. Spanking causes emotional and psychological damage and undermines our ability to connect. So why do we spank, even when we learn that spanking causes serious damage? Because of traditions and ways of thinking about things that are passed through the generations, and which we are not encouraged to question. We spank our children because we were spanked as children (i.e., because it is an intergenerational practice) and we spank because we are taught that spanking is a positive and necessary part of the socialization process. “Spare the rod and spoil the child,” as the priests in my childhood church used to say.
Other examples of intergenerational toxicity could be found. The point here however isn’t to trash people’s traditions. The point is to raise awareness of intergenerational toxicity and to open up your “possibly toxic traditions” to question, so that you can trash them yourself, if necessary. Let’s be clear here. Many of our human traditions are toxic and cause us damage. Many of our human traditions lead us to damage our own children. Failure to protect our children from experiences that damage them just because “that is how we were taught” and “that is how we were raised” is a parental failure. If you want to avoid that, eexamine your traditions, examine the things that your parents taught you, examine the ways that you treat your children, and the experiences you allow them to have. If, upon careful and open examination, you find these traditions lead to ways of thinking and experiencing the world that are toxic, damaging, and disconnecting, end them.
When bad advice from our traditions creates a reality where damage and disconnection become possible, ignore the bad advice and end these traditions.
We could reasonably dive into all our institutions and traditions and look for the common ways of doing things, common mores, common folkways, and common ideologies that contribute to experiences that damage and disconnect, but that is beyond the scope of this work and book, and not altogether necessary. If you simply put aside your old energy traditions, you can learn ways of thinking and ways of being that are healing and supportive of connection without digging in the muck and mire. And in fact, on the LP, that is exactly what you do. Starting with Workbook One you have begun to learn concepts, ideas, and ways of thinking and behaving that heal and connect, rather than that damage and disconnect. To continue with the work of learning new ways of thinking and being, continue reading and putting into practice the things you learn in the LP Workbooks.
We have to say, of the three aspects of toxic socialization we have listed here, neglect, violence, and intergenerational toxicity, it is intergenerational toxicity that provides the most pernicious obstacles to healing and connection. Violence and neglect you can identify, see, mitigate, and correct; but when we grow up in environments with ideas and experiences that everyone goes through and that everyone thinks are right, these ideas and experiences are extremely difficult to see, and even harder to root out and heal.
Because intergenerational toxicity, a.k.a. tradition, makes it difficult to do anything, not because you can’t see the toxicity of your “normal” life, but, because of our traditions and “normal” way of doing things, we simply accept things as they are.
See the Toxicity
You can understand why intergenerational toxicity is such a problem if you imagine that you have been stuck in a room that is heavily polluted, from birth. When you are young, you can see the pollution in the room. You might even point it out to your parents. But you are too young and undeveloped to understand, and your parents don’t see to be bothered by it at all, so you happily play in the toxic shit. Later on when you are an adolescent and your brain begins to really work, you see the poison and you begin to can see its effect. This might freak you out. You might try and tell people what you see, but nobody around you will talk about it. At a certain point, you might “rebel” or flee to the streets, but for the most part, you’ll eventually Settle and Accept. What is there to do? You have been living “in it” since birth, and nobody wants to talk about it. Besides, it takes a lot of energy to engage in ongoing resistance. Eventually you just give up and accept things the way they are.
It’s like this with our cultural and increasingly global traditions. We see there is something wrong, especially when we are young, but when we’re young we’re powerless to change, and when we’re older we’ve learned to settle and accept. It takes a lot of effort and energy to break people free so that they’ll acknowledge and do something about the smog in the room.
Accept and Realize the Damage
It is possible though. It is possible to wake a person up so they can see the toxicity in the room. It takes a lot of effort, but it is possible to “break the spell,” so to speak. One day you will open your eyes, look back at your childhood or adolescence, and remember how toxic it was. However, when you do that, when you see, or rather, when you admit just how polluted the room is, that’s when the challenges really begin.
Challenge number one will be a challenge to acknowledge and accept how bad the toxicity and the damage really is. There’s no sense in sugar coating this. Unless you have a powerful, pure, and permanent connection to your Highest Self, something which very few people have, you are damaged by the process and you’ve got healing to do. It is going to be hard to admit that. Nobody reading these words for the first time is going to want to admit they are completely disconnected from HS, just like nobody is going to want to admit they are psychologically, emotionally, and perhaps even physically sick as a consequence of their child and adolescent experiences. Unfortunately, you are going to have to. The truth is, we’ve all been damaged by toxic socialization to one extent or another, and we all have to admit that damage before we can even begin to move forward towards healing and connection.
If you do finally admit that there is damage to heal and connection work to be done, challenge number two will be dealing with the social resistance and push back. I suspect that until the late 2020s, most people around you will be stuck in the delusions of normality, few people in your family or friend groups will support your recognition and admission, and many will try to push you back into silent acceptance of “normal” realities. They’ll say “it’s just you” or “don’t be such a baby” or “you are being too sensitive.” They may even, if they feel guilt and shame over the way they have treated you in the past, gaslight you into silence. Social and familial pressure will make it hard for you to come out and say “this is bad and I’ve been hurt as a result.” If this happens to you, find some alternative friends and look for necessary support outside the family. There’s no sense in wasting energy pushing against people who are a) not ready to move forward and b) likely to push against you to keep you down and suppressed.
The challenges of seeing and admitting to the true nature of toxic reality that surrounds you is captured in the Allegory of the Room.
LP HEALING Framework
If you manage to get past challenge of accepting and acknowledging, and the challenge of standing up against social/familial push back, challenge number three is the challenge of actually doing the work to heal and connect. We won’t lie to you. The work of healing and connecting, we’ll just call it The Work from here on out, is difficult, challenging, and complicated. Fortunately, it is exactly at this point that the Lightning Path steps in. The LP offers guidance and instruction on both healing and connection.
As regards healing, the LP offers the LP HEALING Framework. The HEALING Framework, which we will discuss in the rest of this book, offers you a road map to help you understand and navigate your healing journey.
As regards connection, LP Workbook Three offers you the LP Connection Framework which can help you organize your thinking and your connection practice. We won’t talk more about connection in this workbook. After you have worked through this book, and when you are ready to explore connection, move onto LP Workbook Three: Connection.
With that said, at this point the questions before us are, “What is the LP Healing Framework?” and “How can it help?” The answer to both questions is simple. The LP HEALING Framework is basically a set of seven “things” that you have to pay attention to, consider, and work through in order to move forward with your healing process. The seven things you have to pay attention to, consider, and work through are outlined by the acronym HEALING.
H = Help
E = Environment
A = Addictions
L = Lies
I = Ideologies
N = Needs
G = Growth
Each step in the LP HEALING framework is a guide to those issues that most of us have to work through on our healing journey. Each of these steps are interdependent, are necessary, and will require action if you truly wish to heal. Most important to keep in mind, each step will mean something different, and will dive “deeper” into the core of things, depending on where you are at in your own healing process. As you read through each of the steps in the units that follow, consider where you are in the process. Are you at the beginning? Are you working near the middle? Or are you somewhere towards the end of the work. Keep your position in mind and expect to read each unit more than twice. It is up to you to get started with your process whenever you are ready by reading through the sections and applying what you read to your healing journey as appropriate. Before we get to that though, there are a few things about the LP HEALING Framework that you need to know.
Number one, you need to know that the LP HEALING Framework is a framework, a roadmap, but not a therapy. The LP doesn’t tell you what strategies or healing modalities you should use to heal and connect (though it may recommend stuff at times). Instead, the LP HEALING Framework gives you advice on the things that you (and your therapist/healer) need to pay attention to as you travel along The Way.
Number two, you need to know that the LP HEALING Framework is not a linear roadmap. It can be if that if that is appropriate for you, but it can also be a “pick and choose” sort of affair. If you are knew to all this, you might want to start with the “H” and the “E” by getting help and detoxifying your environments. On the other hand, if you have had some treatment, therapy or other kind of supports in the past, you might start where you feel makes the most sense, for e.g., addressing the abuse in your intimate partner relationship, or getting your addiction(s) under control. To decide where to start, read through the book at least once, and then follow your gut, intuitive feelings, or get guidance from a trusted healing professional.
If you feel you need guidance on where to start, the LP offers a Healing MAP (Mindful Action Plan). A Healing MAP is a questionnaire you fill out and a guided follow up session that give you advice on what aspects of your life you need to focus/work on first, second, third, and so on. To purchase a Healing MAP.
Number three, moving forward, you need to understand, the LP requires discipline and focus. In LP Workbook One, we spoke about the importance of “staying the course,” meaning if you want to successfully move forward and connect, you have to stay committed to The Work even when you are tired, doubtful, and unsure. It is going to be a challenge. We said it in Book One, we’ll say it again here, and no doubt you’ll hear it again from us: healing and connection involves a lot more than a trip or two to the therapist, a singing bowl, and a glass of wine with some friends. Healing and re-connection are a lot of work. To get through it all, discipline is the key. To be sure, you do not have to saturate your life with “healing, healing, healing,” but you have to do a little bit every day. The LP HEALING Framework is helpful in this regard because it helps you stay focussed and disciplined on the tasks at hand. Work a little bit on some things in the framework every day in whatever stage of development you are in, and you’ll make consistent progress forward.
Number four, you need to understand, you need to be accountable and you need to take responsibility. We cannot over emphasize how important responsibility and accountability are if you want to truly heal and connect. If you are sincere about healing, whether you are a clinician, or client, or both, healing will require you to be accountable and responsible. This means no complacency, no projection of your issues onto others, no scapegoating of others for things you are responsible for, and no excuses whatsoever.
At this point, this notion that you should be accountable and responsible shouldn’t be too much of a stretch. This is really just an extension of the “see and accept” step we noted above. See the toxicity that surrounds you. Accept that it’s unhealthy and disconnecting. Be Accountable for your part in the toxicity. Take Responsibility for the things that are yours. Accountability and responsibility are a necessary step forward in the process of healing. Facing the ugly truths of ourselves, our world, our part in the problem, and our past actions, is the only way out of the morass of toxicity that surrounds you. It is the only way to pursue authentic healing.
If seeing, accepting, being accountable, and taking responsibility sounds like a big challenge, it is. But it is necessary. Don’t worry too much if you don’t understand importance of it now, or if you feel a little overwhelmed at the thought of it, Take it easy and move slowly through the process. We will talk a lot more about it as we go through the LP materials. We shall talk about accountability and responsibility in the section on environment in this workbook, and we will talk even more in LP Workbook Three: Connection where we elaborate in the context of accountability, atonement, and alignment. The reasons why accountability and responsibility are so important will become clear as you move forward through the materials, and as you progress through the materials, it will be easier to acknowledge and accept. For now, put it in your mind and get to work on it.
To be sure, seeing and accepting the truth, being accountable and taking responsibility, are big challenges. One of the things that will help you navigate this challenge, and this is the number five thing we want to say, is that moving forward, simply accept who you are and what you have been through without judgment or shame.
Listen carefully now.
There is no shame in being damaged by toxic socialization. There is no shame in being hurt, angry, or sad. There is no shame in being angry and hateful. There is no shame in struggling with addictions. There is no shame in making mistakes. There is no shame in repeatedly falling down.
Understand, it is not a question of shame or guilt. It is a question of seeing the toxicity and damage so you can heal and reconnect, what Christians might call “Entering into the Kingdom.” There’s no fuss “at the gate” and certainly no test that you have to pass. All you have to do is see the truth, accept that things are not perfect, be accountable for your part in the toxicity, take responsibility for the things that are yours, and commit to the healing and connection process.
See, accept, be accountable, take responsibility, and commit to healing and reconnection with your own Highest Self.
That’s all there is to it.
This is the magic formula for “entering the Kingdom through the Gate,” attaining the perfection of Nirvana, or whatever you want to call successful reconnection. If you do that, there is nothing that can stop you from moving forward.
Finally, the number six thing we want you to understand is this: healing and connecting requires time, effort, and copious personal reflection. You can’t just pick up a singing bowl or pray in a pew on Sunday and think you have done your reflection work. You have to spend time thinking and processing in a mindful and consistent manner so that you can understand, process, transform, and dismiss. I, Michael S., do this reflection when I write. I do some grounding techniques, get myself comfortable, breathe, connect and write. Some of you might do it by painting, writing songs, writing poems, or making videos or films. Pick whatever method you have an affinity for. If you are not the literary or music type, a personal journal, what we might want to call your Healing and Connection Journal (HC journal), one perhaps not attached to digital screen, will certainly help you process and reflect. Chronicling your thoughts and feelings in a personal HC journal will not only help you record, analyze, process, and take necessary action, it will also make it easier for you to get help when and if you need it because you will have a record of your mental/emotional processes that you can share with your therapist/healer.
And that’s all we have to say in this unit. To recap what we have learned so far on this path, we have learned that the body is a vessel for Consciousness and that proper human development involves filling the body with higher Consciousness. We have learned that filling the vessel requires us to “make a connection.” We have learned that we make a connection via visualization and intent. When we make a connection, Consciousness begins to flow into the body. We have also learned that the body is damaged by a toxic socialization process and that this damage makes it hard for the body to contain higher Consciousness. To put is simply, neglect, violence, and toxic traditions create holes in the glass through which the water of higher Consciousness either flows out, or becomes twisted and corrupted, like a beam of light through a cracked and shattered prism. We have learned that toxic traditions create major obstacles that prevent us seeing and recognizing the problems and we have learned that when we finally do see and recognize the problem, there is still lots of work we (and by “we” I mean the individual and society at large) have to do to heal the damage and reconnect. Finally, we have learned that the LP Healing Framework and the LP Connection Framework help with the healing and reconnection work.
At this moment we are done our introductory work and it is now time to begin the healing and reconnection process. We will start, in the next unit, with the first point in the LP HEALING Framework, getting help.
 Mike Sosteric, “Toxic Socialization,” Socjourn (2016). See https://www.academia.edu/25275338/Toxic_Socialization
 Sosteric, “Toxic Socialization.” See https://www.academia.edu/25275338/Toxic_Socialization
 For a relatively complete list, see Sosteric, “Toxic Socialization.” See https://www.academia.edu/25275338/Toxic_Socializatio
 If at this point you are thinking that achieving this, i.e., meeting the full gamut of human needs, requires a massive input of time and energy far greater than any single person or intimate duo (or trio, or whatever) could every possibly achieve, you are correct. Thus the wisdom in the old-timey saying “It takes a village to raise a child…”
If at this point you are also thinking that society as we know it is a long way away from full satisfaction of human needs, you are also correct. Obviously, as a species, when it comes to meeting the needs of our global citizenry, we still got a lot of work left to do. Note however that it is not that we can’t do it. We have enough food to feed everybody and we have the technology to house and protect the entire planet. We are also approaching an “automation revolution” which can relieve the entire population of the most onerous aspects of physical existence. We can do it. We just have the wrong political/economic system.
You can find our more about our current economic systems and why they are incompatible with the satisfaction of our human needs by reading our Rocket Scientists’ Guide to Money and the Economy. https://press.lightningpath.org/product/rocket-scientists-guide-money-economy/
 Summarizing Workbook One and what you have learned so far in this book, you have learned that the body is a vessel for Consciousness and that proper human development involves filling the body with higher Consciousness. You have learned that filling the vessel requires you to “make a connection.” You have learned that you make a connection via visualization and intent. When you make a connection, Consciousness begins to flow into the body. You have also learned that the body is damaged by a toxic socialization process and that this damage makes it hard for the body to contain higher Consciousness. The neglect, violence, and toxic traditions create holes in the glass through which the water of higher Consciousness either flows out, or becomes twisted and corrupted, like a beam of light through a cracked and shattered prism.
 Well, that’s not quite true. Ever since Link Ray played his iconic three note “Rumble,” there has been an adolescent period where teenagers recognize and reject. But even those who aren’t diverted by the engineered bacchanalia of “spring break” eventually “settle in and accept” anyway. Them that don’t exist on the margins of society.
We really recommend tracking down the documentary Rumble”: The Indians Who Rocked the World.
 The Work is the work of healing and reconnection. https://spiritwiki.lightningpath.org/The_Work
 The phrase “The Way” or “The Path” is simply a shorthand reference to any system of human development that leads to authentic healing and connection.
 Note, if you are a therapist, no shame and no judgment applies to you and your practice as well. Do not shame and judge a person damaged by toxic socialization. Instead, accept that it has been a struggle for them and help them on their healing journey. If you’re a therapist that judges and shames those who come for your help, stop. If you can’t stop, find another profession.
Also note, acceptance and no-judgment should not be used as an excuse to enable. You do not judge/shame a person who has self-medicated themselves into addiction, but neither do you enable toxicity or accept the addiction as is. You help them clean up their environment. You help them heal. You help them free themselves of addiction.