Healing is mysterious. Even physical healing is mysterious. Physical, emotional, mental and spiritual healing – all mysterious. Mysterious that we heal both in living and in dying. Mysterious that our suffering opens us to deeper healing. To new vistas of what we may be.

My healing work began with at-risk children at Full Circle and then at Commonweal. The work expanded to include adults with a wide range of health conditions. We explored work with people with food and chemical sensitivities, with Systemic Lupus, with the elderly, and finally with cancer patients. We followed the entire linease of holistic medicine, mind-body medicine, patient-centered medicine, integrative medicine, functional medicine, intuitive medicine and more.

Image credit: Steve Heilig

Healing with Cancer

We have explored healing with cancer through the Commonweal Cancer Help Program, Healing Circles, Cancer Choices, and the Collaborative on Health and the Environment.

I’ve co-led over 220 week-long Cancer Help Programs since 1987. One of the early Cancer Help Programs was featured by Bill Moyers for his PBS series and book, “Healing and the Mind.” The hour-long segment on the Cancer Help Program, “Wounded Healers,” was the celebrated final episode of this prize-winning book and PBS series.

My book “Choices in Healing: Integrating the Best of Conventional & Complementary Cancer Therapies” from MIT Press in 1996 was the first analysis of complementary cancer therapies to be well reviewed in medical journals and the lay press. Today there are integrative cancer programs at almost every major US cancer center.


Healing flourishes in community. We heal when we practice silence, listen deeply, and speak from the heart. What we need to heal comes from within.  These ancient practices evoke the mysterious inner processes of healing.  I have been deeply formed by almost five years – 220 + week-long cancer retreats – living in small groups with people at the edge of life – at the edge of the Pacific.  It has been my dharmic work.  The work of my soul.

Healing Articles

Mar 13 2024

A New Paradigm of Physics and Cosmology

Dear TNS Friends, I hope this finds you as well as possible. From the very inception of The New School (TNS), I sensed that the program would become Commonweal's...
Dec 01 2023

Fall Letter from Michael Lerner

November 2023 Dear Commonweal Friends: I hope this finds you well in these difficult times. We cannot know what will be happening happening in the Middle East, Ukraine,...
Nov 08 2018

Healing in Community

Dear New School Friends: Does some part of you call out for healing? Do you know we heal best in relationship, in community? Do you wish for a relationship or community...

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