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Manoj Khatri in conversation with Brandon Bays, author of the best-seller, The Journey that traces the path from suffering to ultimate peace
International best-selling book The Journey was recently launched in India by its author Brandon Bays. The book is a culmination of a remarkable journey of healing through self-exploration—a process that helped her to heal from a basketball-sized tumour without any help from conventional medicine. Here are excerpts from a heart-to-heart chat with Brandon Bays…
Manoj Khatri [MK]: You wrote The Journey in the ‘90s and have also mentioned about your trip to India before you wrote the book. So why did you take so long to come to India?
Brandon Bays [BB]: I came to India for my own spiritual growth. And for the last seven years, every two years, I bring 150 westerners from 18 countries to India for a 22-day yatra—a pilgrimage—to the spiritual hotspots. I bring them to be graced by India’s spirituality and to experience first-hand the spiritual undercurrent that is India’s gift to the world. But yes, this is the first time that I have come to India for ‘The Journey’.
The truth is, I normally go wherever there is a thirst for spirituality. We give seminars in 38 countries. And I am on tour 44 out of the 52 weeks of the year. The Journey [book] has sold only 2000 copies in India and nobody knows about the Journey here. But I only knew that I had to go to India. I really want India to experience the Journey.
You see, last year in May, I was dreaming while in a meditation. In the dream, I went back into a past life when I was in India preaching and I had made a vow that I will come back and serve the country. Somehow, I have always felt very Indian; you can say it’s a part of my DNA. So, in my meditation, it came out that I must go to India. It was almost like a commandment—I didn’t think I had a choice. I had a series of seminars planned, which I cancelled to come to India. I just told my international staff, “We’re going to India. I don’t know why because they don’t even know the book or my work, but I have to go there and serve.” So I am just here in some sort of an unknown field of trust. I really want India not just to get the experience of the work but also participate in the practitioner’s programme so that people can become practitioners and share this work, which I don’t feel is my own—I feel it just came through me.
MK: It strikes us as ironical that so much of wisdom that is now coming to India has its origins here. It seems like a unique time in the history of our planet, when people from across the world are seeking spiritual wisdom.
BB: Yes, I think the world is ready to wake up. There’s an awakening happening all around, and at all levels. For instance, you may be surprised to know that since this book was written, we have been working with several governments in many countries around the world. My husband offers a visionary leadership programme to many governmental departments of countries. What this means is that governments are now getting it. They understand that all of us need to play our part in liberating people from stress and help them explore their potential. In the Netherlands, if you work for the government and suffer from work-related stress, the only clinic they will sponsor you to go is a clinic that does the Journey work. This is because the Journey is known for helping you get to the root cause of emotional blocks. Yet, I never dreamt that I will work with governmental ministries.
In fact, my latest book —Consciousness, the new currency—is all about the work I do with governments and businesses. I think we’re living in an amazing time. I love it that I am working with medical doctors and training them to use the Journey. So someone could be in a hospital undergoing chemotherapy but also undergoing the Journey process.
I am happy that we’re living in a time when we are moving to integrated medicine—not alternative, not complementary, but integrative approach to healing.
MK: How does the Journey process fit in with the traditional medicine especially allopathy?
BB: According to the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention], 85 per cent of all illness is emotion-based. Now CDC is as ‘traditional’ as you can get, but they too are aware that for complete healing, you need to get to the emotional root cause. This is why I don’t fight traditional medicine. I just say that you use the Journey alongside your regular path—whatever that path may be.
I recall an interesting incident. I had a Scuba diving accident when I was in Byron Bay in Australia—I was rushed to the hospital [which is exactly where you want to go in such a situation]. The on-duty doctor recognised me and exclaimed, “Oh my God! You are Brandon Bays.” And then he said, “You know, in my private practice, people keep coming to me for migraines or regular colds, and I know that not everything can be fixed with a pill. I know there’s probably something going on in their lives. I know I am not trained to deal with that so what I do is stock your books and when patients come in with chronic issues, I hand them a copy and say to them, ‘just read this book’.” [laughs]
So I am really happy that medical doctors are getting to know the power of the Journey and are recognising the role of emotional causes.
MK: So can we say that the Journey process is validated by medical professionals?
BB: My sister works with the third top pharmaceutical company in the world as the director of oncology. She is into cancer research. And when she first read The Journey, she said, “This confirms everything that I am finding out in the laboratory.”
What the medical scientists know about emotions is this: When you feel a strong emotion and you repress it—and they watch it happen in the laboratory—it releases certain bio-chemicals that go to certain cell receptors. The cell receptors get blocked, rendering those cells incapable of communicating with the rest of the cells in the body. Overtime, because of these blocked cells, illnesses arise.
Conversely—again, you can watch this in a lab—when you feel your emotions opening freely like a child, your cell receptors remain open. And isn’t your concept of the Three Chakras© stating the same thing? Indeed, medical science [not just alternative medicine, mind you] has found that when you literally shut out your emotions, your cells respond by being blocked. And that’s where illness happens. And what the Journey does is take you, in a down-to-earth way, to the root cause. You go to where the cells are blocked and you go through a process of releasing the fear, forgiving yourself and others and understanding what’s happened to you. And the body begins to heal. This is the prime reason why doctors don’t have a problem with the Journey—it’s not a substitute for drugs.
MK: What about sceptics and naysayers?
It was in the face of adversity that internationally acclaimed speaker, bestselling author and mind-body healing expert Brandon Bays discovered her true calling. Diagnosed in 1992 with a tumour the size of a basketball, Brandon embarked on a remarkable, soul-searching transformational and liberating healing journey and uncovered a means to get direct access to the soul, to the boundless healing potential inside.
Calling on her own mind-body healing knowledge and the teachings of scientists such as Dr Deepak Chopra and Dr Candace Pert, Brandon innocently began developing the transformational healing work that would become ‘The Journey®’.
Brandon’s deep surrender, to literally give up any knowing and her willingness to dive into the unknown allowed her basketball sized tumour to completely heal. In 6 ½ weeks without the help of surgery or drugs.
More about Brandon Bays
BB: On a television interview recently, I was asked, “Do you get a lot of opposition?” My answer was “In truth, no.” Of course, in the last 17 years, occasionally I have had some. But I do not force anybody to believe this; I say, experience it. In fact, I urge people to bring all their scepticism. I was a sceptic too. So bring your scepticism, bring all your questions and don’t believe anything. Just let your own direct experience tell you the truth.
The Journey is not a process of addition—I cannot give you anything. It’s a process of subtraction. Subtract away the cell memories, subtract away the blocks, the lies—you subtract that away, you are exposed to the truth. So, it’s a process of clearing away what blocks you from experiencing the truth that you are, the freedom and the love that you are. The Journey is the process of coming home and finding your own answers. I always tell people, I cannot heal you. Part of the healing journey is that you find your own self. You uncover your own memories, you go through your own process and find your own answers. And even though I can pray and want the highest and best for you, ultimately, I don’t know what your cell memories are and even if I did, I can’t be the one to release them.
MK: You mention in the book that even if we become aware of our memories, we cannot heal ourselves. It’s infinite intelligence at work.
BB: Yes, absolutely! You’ve really read the book, it shows. So, just becoming aware is not enough, you have to go through the whole process. The Journey takes you to a level of consciousness of your being, beyond the mind.
MK: When you first discovered the tumour and decided not to go the conventional way, and first attempted the healing process, you decided to not tell many people. What is the value of confidentiality in such a process? Because, when you get dependent on other people’s opinion, you might get influenced by their negative influence, which will interfere with your healing process…
BB: Absolutely! For instance, when I discovered the tumour, had I called my mother, she would have freaked out and would’ve screamed, “Oh, get yourself into a hospital and get this thing taken out!” I did not have much time and could not afford to let anyone’s prejudices, fears, and beliefs about what is possible into my life. I only had one month. And so, I shared this with only a handful of people, who I knew absolutely believed and had the knowledge that this kind of healing is possible. I needed to stay positive.
In The Biology of Belief, Bruce [Lipton] describes an experiment about a man who was made to view an upsetting video. As soon as he saw the video, he immediately shut down emotionally. What’s amazing is that his DNA strand, which was miles away in a laboratory, also shut down—it literally contracted—and various genes became unexpressed. Then some therapists did certain meditations, consciously focussing on his DNA, and got him to open emotionally. And as he opened emotionally, his DNA strand—50 miles away—also unfurled and the genes became expressed again.
So we know that consciousness affects DNA and has a very strong effect on your physiology. I knew this—I already knew the science since I was is in this field—and I couldn’t afford to have someone’s negative consciousness telling me it was not possible to heal… especially at a time when my situation was quite serious and fragile and I was terribly short of time. I needed to have support of people who knew I was going to heal. The mantra kept coming to me all the time from all around: it’ll get handled. It was like the universe kept reminding me of that. And I just went along and trusted.
MK: I can relate to that. Throughout the book, I found that there was this underlying premise that the pre-requisite for any healing [especially the kind of healing you talk about] is a sense of surrender. And surrender only happens when you can trust something bigger or larger than you, which you probably don’t understand. How does one surrender? How did you do it?
BB: It’s a mystery how surrender happens. For myself, I did everything I could. Right from eating the vegetables, to taking herbs [I am a herbalist] to homoeopathy to massages to NLP work. I did meditations and guided imagery. I was doing everything that was available and I still hadn’t healed. I was beginning to feel worried and that’s when I went up to Berkeley. I can remember so clearly when I was lying on that massage table and getting massaged and it was like my whole world came crashing on to me. It was like God telling me, “Here you are, a therapist, teaching people how to create life and now you are seriously ill.” In a week and a half, I had to go back to that doctor and do something that I felt was so wrong [removing the tumour surgically]. I panicked and felt desperate—that’s when something inside me just gave up. And when I gave up, I surrendered and fell into that hopelessness. And when I didn’t even fight the hopelessness, I fell into that blackness and ultimately into that presence of peace. That was the first time I went down through the layers.
So, I would say surrender happened to me. It happened when I stopped trying to do it myself. When I stopped trying to fix it, figure it out, fight it, analyse it. When I just gave up, something happened and I just let go. And in the letting go, I was guided into the infinite intelligence, which is our ultimate essence.
That’s what you learn in the Journey workshops: how to let go in this way and open into your own essence. Let that essence guide you to uncover what’s stored inside your body. In the Journey, we don’t pre-plan what we are going to uncover. We let ourselves be guided by the soul, the infinite love, the peace inside us.
I don’t believe your soul will give you something that you are not ready to face. If it shows up in your journey process, it means you’re ready. That’s why, you don’t tell yourself where to go. Instead, you are guided spontaneously into some part of your body. In the olden days, when I had a thriving private practice, and someone would come to me with a liver cancer, during the process they so much wanted to go to the liver. But that’s not where they always went. So often, they ended up going to their heart, where the heart break or the loss of a loved one was stored—the part of consciousness that co-created the liver cancer. Cells of all kinds speak with every other cell inside the body. So in the process, you cannot tell your body where to go. You have to let the infinite intelligence, spontaneously and through surrender, guide you to uncover where it’s stored. So the Journey is not done with the mind; it’s done through the infinite intelligence that is the part of you that makes your heart beat—that divine potential. It exposes what you are ready to face and exposes the answers, Yes, you go through a process of forgiveness and letting go. But you don’t it. It happens to you.
MK: What’s the scope of the Journey process? Can it heal anything?
BB: Well, people around the world are getting extraordinary results with it. Once, many years ago when I was in Israel, I met a 50-year-old woman who was extremely bitter. She was short, twisted—she had polio. She was so angry at God: ‘Why strike a child down?’ she complained. She used to shout at her children and I used to feel so sorry for them. She went through the practitioner’s programme. Of course, she had not come to the Journey to heal her polio—she had come to heal emotionally and spiritually. Then last year in October, when I went to Israel, I met her. I recalled that one of her legs was significantly shorter than the other. But somehow she now looked normal—standing straight wearing normal shoes. I looked at her and asked, “What happened to you?” She said, “I had the biggest health scare in my life. In September, I started experiencing excruciating pain in the shorter leg. I thought God had struck me down again…I was going to be crippled even further. I couldn’t sleep, walk or do anything. Then I went to my doctor who had been with me since childhood. He measured my shorter leg and found that it had grown by 5cm. That’s when I realised that I had the excruciating pain because my leg was growing—at that age of 53!” Listening to her story, I realised that this infinite intelligence is capable of creating anything. Even though science will tell you that you cannot grow your leg when you’re 50 years old, the infinite isn’t limited by age.
I feel so passionate about bringing this work to the world, because it seems like it opens all of us into this infinite field. It gives us a lifelong set of skills that we clear whatever blocks we have physically, emotionally, spiritually—so that we can live in complete wellness.
It’s been astounding for me to see what people have healed from—Crohn’s disease, brain tumours, polio, multiple sclerosis. The last time I was in London, I met a woman in her late 50s with multiple sclerosis [MS]. She came to the Journey 10 years ago, crumpled in a wheel chair, drooling out of the side of her mouth. 10 years later, she comes bawling on stage in her running shoes. She had been running marathons. I was shocked and asked her what the secret was. She said “Brandon, I came to you when there was no hope for me. I didn’t do just one Journey. I have been doing the Journey once a week for the last ten years. And I have healed every part of my life. Now, all I want to tell people is continue your journey. Take the tools and use them to clear your jealousy, hurt, shame, violence, low self-esteem—use it to clear all aspects of your life so that you can live from your own essence.”
Such stirring accounts have inspired my latest book called Living the Journey. It’s based on stories written by 15 people who healed through the Journey—from cancer to MS to being run over by a tractor! Each one undergoing their own multiple journeys for healing their lives… And that’s what my prayer is, here in India—that people get trained from me to become practitioners, so that they can take the Journey into the community and the people can get the skills. I always say in every workshop: Give the tools away. So that people can use them on an ongoing basis to heal their lives, to come home to the beauty of their own soul.
MK: The last chapter of your book really shakes one up. You lost everything, didn’t you? But, you were already spiritually evolved and had gone through several experiences. You had all the spiritual skills in place to cope and put things in perspective. What if someone who doesn’t have these skills is faced with such difficulties or crisis—when everything falls apart? What message could you have for such a person?
BB: Everything happens for a reason and a purpose—that’s been my direct experience. Nisargadatta Maharaj said, “Know whatever comes unexpectedly to be a gift from God, which will surely serve you if you use it to its fullest. It is only that which you strive for out of your own imagination that gives you trouble.” This is one piece of wisdom that kept me afloat and got me through my worst times. When I was going through all of this, all I could do was surrender and trust and know that there was a gift in all of this. When life takes everything from you, if you stay true and you serve life, it will serve you. I did that—I served life. And I am sitting here because I did. When I lost everything, I could only trust that somehow this is all a gift.
When everything goes wrong, people have a lot of fear and that creates a lot of unnecessary panic as you can’t change what’s going to happen. When it does happen, you don’t have any other option but to surrender and trust. You cannot change anything. Complaining to God and wishing that it hadn’t happened is just a way of avoiding pain, a defence mechanism. All you can really do is open up to the pain and find the peace that is at the core of it. There is peace in the core of all emotions, if you’re willing to open into the emotion.
MK: Wow! I once wrote an article titled, “Pain: a blessing, not a curse”. But when I wrote it, I didn’t have the perspective you just shared. My idea was that pain is always only a symptom. And it has a purpose—it’s trying to show you that something else is wrong—something that is causing the pain. We need to strive to identify the cause instead of condemning the pain and trying to suppress it using painkillers. I can see that my idea of pain ties in so well with what you just said. You need to open up to the pain and go through it, experience it fully, in order to get to the root cause of it.
BB: Absolutely. When 9/11 happened, and the twin towers were struck down, do you know what happened to those people in New York city? They kept tabs on the survivors or those bereaved due to the 9/11 mishap. Last September, 10 years after the twin towers were brought down, they found that an astronomical amount of these people—way off the Richter scale—have cancer. The reason was a feeling of strong emotion, which was suppressed. And if you suppress it, it gets into your cells and causes illness.
I got together with 28 practitioners from around the world, to serve the people who had survived. Because my experience is that you cannot run from pain—it will hunt you down.
The reason I went to New York city immediately is to help those people—at least the 250-odd who came to our seminar—to clear the trauma. The seminar was called “Finding the peace in the core of all suffering” because they had to be willing to welcome all the pain and to experience it. Not to shove it away or take painkillers to deal with it. If you keep going deeper and deeper into the layers of emotion, there you will find the peace you are seeking.
If someone has had a devastating experience, they should know that it’s a wake up call. It’s an invitation to begin your journey. And I believe that every time we have a trauma, life is saying: “Wake up! It’s time to come home. It’s time to listen to what your soul has to teach you about life. It’s time to learn your life’s lessons and to find where it is that your soul is taking you. And what if the trauma were a blessing in disguise? What is it trying is to teach you?”
So finding the peace in the core of all suffering is the beginning of all healing. And of finding complete wellbeing in your life.
MK: It’s been an amazing conversation and I’m really happy to have met you. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom.
BB: Thank you for giving me the opportunity.