01/03/2014 02:19 pm ET Updated Mar 05, 2014

Healing, Healers and the Whole Damn Thing

I was at a party in Marin Country, just north of San Francisco, when a woman came up to me. Attractive, well-dressed in the laid-back style one would expect for such an ultra-hip place.

"Who are you?" she asked. I introduced myself, as did she.
"What are you doing for yourself?" she then inquired.
"I'm a writer," I said, and she frowned.
"No, I meant: What are you doing for yourSELF?" she emphasized.
"I don't know what you mean," I said. "I'm a creative artist. I write."
She rolled her eyes. (How could I be so dense?) Then: "I mean: How are you healing?"
"I'm not," I said.
She looked at me as if I'd just said that I like to cook and eat babies. "You're not?!" she asked.
"No," I replied, candidly. "I'm just fine, thanks. Everything is great."

At that, she turned abruptly and walked away from me. In short: If I wasn't sick and didn't want to tell her what was wrong with me, so she could commiserate and tell me what ailed her, and what she was doing about it, she had nothing more to say to me. Or I to her. Full stop.

I didn't tell her that I'm (also) a spiritual teacher -- in private -- and, after many years of living in India and intense study, that I'm also in the direct line of Ramana Maharshi, a student of vedanta -- the Indian teachings now 5,000 years old, which show us that everything is perfect the way it is; that there is no need to change; no need to identify with the body, indulge the Mind, or get busy with Thoughts. What good would any of that do? She knew her own opinions. Fine, then. Fine...

But what I wonder is: How did "healing" become such a mania? After all, you don't need to heal if you aren't sick. And if you aren't sick, isn't that good -- ("good" as in being in the preferred state)? So? Why is it necessary to be "healing"? And how did this become a multi-billion dollar industry?

Northern California is a very strange place. Marin County is a perfect example of it. To be "okay," (i.e., worth talking to) you have to be sick. Okaaaay. But I live in San Francisco. That's got its own issues but, at least, we know the difference between "sick" and whacky.