Each week, spiritual teacher Deepak Chopra responds to Oprah.com users' questions with enlightening advice to help them live their best lives.
Q: Do you think creative expressions like art therapy can heal?
— Sheila M., Westfield, New Jersey
There are avenues of expression that heal by bypassing thoughts and words. Because art is emotional, it can open such avenues for many people. But you must approach it freely, with an open attitude. The kind of healing isn't as important as opening your awareness. Constricted awareness is tight and narrow. It holds down free expression. If you add a certain fear of emotion, then there is even more to be healed.
I believe the saying, "The issues are in the tissues." Our very cells are involved in every form of discomfort, pain and disease. Nonverbal therapies, including healing touch, color therapy, medicinal herbs, meditation, chanting, toning and energy work, have emerged and blossomed in the past few decades. We have learned to cross cultural boundaries, so yoga and Ayurveda are now global, as are Tibetan and Chinese healing practices. These mingle and merge with Western techniques, not to mention a bewildering array of new modalities invented by individuals.
The real question isn't what works so much as what fits. You can dabble in profound healing and get little or nothing out of it. A few healing words can change your life, as can a single touch. If you are exploring healing techniques, be open and test them by how deeply you are affected and whether you see real change. Don't go by promises. Keep true to what your intuition is telling you.