Can a "Miracle Man" really save me?
I've traveled to the remote South American town of Abadiânia, Brazil, with the belief that it is possible. I have arrived in this dusty, petite town, to pour my desperation into the man some arguably call the world's best healer.
Hundreds of people, all shapes and sizes, all walks of life, from varying religions, and from all around the world draw in closely to get a glimpse of this notorious yet controversial Guru. We are all here for the same thing, to be healed by the 71-year-old man Mr. João Teixeira de Faria, the one they call, the Miracle Man, Medium John of God.
I approach the blue and white open-air buildings called the Casa de Dom Inácio de Loyola -- John of God's healing center. The center is founded on faith, hope and an unshakable core belief that there is a power greater than ours. It is in this sliver of a town that the unimaginable happens. People are cured from incurable diseases. Cancer patients walk out tumor-less; people who have been blind for their entire life, suddenly see the light of the world, and others who are wheelchair bound, instantly stand up and walk.
For the past 60 years, miracles of this nature have been consistently happening here. John of God, the unpretentious Brazilian, will never take credit for these occurrences. "I have never healed anybody. It is God who heals," he will always say. Although he was born to a Catholic family, today he practices a different source of faith; he simply believes in God, and his religion is love.
It is no coincidence that my lack of love has brought me here. John of God is indeed, a miracle man. But can he save me? I am here with no broken bones, no incurable disease. My doctor did not tell me I have limited time to live. My reasons for being here seem much less consequential than those of the other pilgrims. Yet, I can't help but believe that if I continue to live my life the way I have been, it will be the death of me, at least the death of my spirit.
The reason I am here is to find something I have been missing. I am here to discover self-love and to find God. Arriving in Brazil 50 pounds overweight, and succumbing to the disappearing act of self-esteem, I am praying for a miracle. I am unapologetically ready to meet my new Guru and join forces with the future me; the healthier, happier version of me.
Today is the day I meet John of God. I am bursting at the seams with excitement. The rest of the group is buzzing with anticipation as well while we dress in our cleanest whites.
Here in Abadiânia, there is no desperation; there is only hope as it pumps through our veins while we search for our miracle. It is Wednesday morning, about 5 minutes before 8:00. I look out into the Great Hall and see at least 700 people draped in loose white clothing. People from so many countries around the world, with all kinds of ailments ranging from physical, emotional, to spiritual have made it to the source.
Although we come from all walks of life, there is a collective consciousness of gratitude. Here, the sick are not needy, nor do they come from a place of lack. There is a quiet smile in their eyes and a gentle glow emanating from their hearts. Miracles can happen when we fully believe. It suddenly becomes clear to me that John of God is a miracle man, not because he performs healing of a profound nature, but because he teaches us all how to believe.
Coming to Abadiania requires dedication, courage, and extreme hope. Being here is much different though; the pain and illnesses that caused us to come seem to lesson their hold in this bubble of the world. Everyone who arrives at the Casa, is dedicated and determined to live their lives differently. Many of the people waiting to see Medium John of God have similar stories; somewhere along their journey, a doctor diagnosed them with a deadly disease and they said, "NO, that is not how my story ends, I am going to heal! I choose life and I believe in miracles!"
Up until today, many of us have been sleep walking through life, letting fear rule our universe. That fear can turn into depression, addictions, sickness, and disease of many sorts. The pain has caused such dis-ease that it has pushed us into a greater understanding of life.
We are let in through the first healing room, which is the room where we are "spiritually cleansed." At least 70 people with their eyes closed are meditating in silence for our soon to be healing. As I turn the corner from the main hall past the first room, I enter into the main room. At the end of the narrow room is an altar of multiple giant crystals the size of small refrigerators. I inch closer to the front in anticipation of seeing John of God.
John of God is a medium who is incarnate in a physical body as he channels spirits, famous saints, surgeons and historic medical doctors through his body to help humans in need. Here at the Casa those who are channeled are called Entities.
My translator shares my intentions in Portuguese to the guru, "Amore Proprio y Evoluir Espiritual." To love myself and evolve my spiritual connection with God. Two tall orders, but I believe in miracles, especially when I am holding hands with an angel.
The words bounce of her tongue as I hold the Guru's soft hand. I have a sloppy grin plastered on my face. It is not everyday that I get a chance to look a man in the eye and see an angel looking back at me. I find myself so ecstatic that I actually want him to smile back. When he doesn't, I feel a smidgen of sadness and a little let down.
He mumbles as my translator quickly brushes me to the side and says to me the Medium said, "You have to come back to Brazil three more times." Before I can make sense of my "next steps," I am pushed into the blessing room, and then abruptly spit out into the healing center's main garden area.
Heather Cumming's my guide who is a Shamanic Practitioner, Reiki Master and the right hand assistant to the Guru, later tells me, that the Entities have work to do on me, and it will take time in between my trips to Brazil to heal. I guess asking to fall in love with myself and be closer to God will take more than a miracle. It can only come with patience, dedication and a surrender to accessing an even deeper hope within. When I ask Heather how long between each trip back to Brazil, she immediately responds with a polite smile, "You will know when it is time."
I am bashfully reminded that there are no magic bullets in life. The Entities and John of God make it very clear that there is no instant healing. As our guide always reminds us, "People who come to the Casa are always transformed - but not always healed."
A few days pass and I spend my time meditating in the healing rooms. I have an eagle eye focus on feeling self-love.
By the middle of week two, after endless meditating I find myself extremely frustrated. I am emotionally depleted, my body is exhausted, and my spirit feels numb. The answers aren't coming. Am I blocking myself? There seems to be no rhyme or reason to my diagnosis. I have no idea why I am supposed to come back, nor why I just keep being sent to meditate. I begin to doubt my journey and wonder why I even came. This entire time I had been here, I was expecting a big AHA moment of healing to slap me in the face. But life doesn't work like that. We may think we know what we want, but the universe knows what we need.
My entire life I have been an impatient "magic bullet girl." Jumping from one trend to the next, always looking for instant results. I naively came here thinking that all my problems would be solved. My whole life, I'd been chasing the light. There are no quick fixes. Our answers are not out there, in society, or in a world famous healer. Everything I need is already inside of me. I leave Brazil with the greatest gift of all; the realization that the journey is the reward, and there is no destination.
I thought I was coming for self-love, but what I really needed was to see that there is nothing wrong with me, or with any of us. We don't have to identify with our illness or problems. We can choose to be happy and choose to make the most out of this journey. Sometimes it takes a miracle to realize that we are a miracle.
Photos by Shannon Kaiser and thinkstock