The Arura Healing Centre
Sorig Khang Melbourne, based in the Arura Healing Centre, is run by Karen Stone in Melbourne, Australia. The interview with Karen took place in Kathmandu, Nepal, on September 3rd 2017.
Sorig News: What did you practice before starting your Arura Healing Centre?
Karen Stone (KS): I was working as Reiki Master, used Dr. Bach Flower Essences and was involved as Meditation- and Yoga teacher.
Sorig News: When did you open your Centre?
KS: It happened after I closed my shop in Woodend, Australia, in 2008 to focus on healing. Then in 2013 I finally moved to Melbourne through an opportunity brought by Dr. Nida Chenagtsang.
Sorig News: What was your inspiration?
KS: After my first trip to Tibet with Dr. Nida in 2006 I was happy with my Mantra Healing practices but in Amdo [East Tibet; chin. Quinghai Province] I was so impressed by the doctors and what they were doing. So Dr. Nida asked me: “Why don’t you study Traditional Tibetan Medicine [Sowa Rigpa]?” And I said: “Because I was too old!” *laughs* “But you will be a better Mantra Healer too!” answered Dr. Nida. “OK then …” I replied. And when I got home I thought Australia needs this Sowa Rigpa, not just medicines for a few people, but a place which represents all the aspects through internal medicines, through external therapies, through diet and lifestyle. It’s a holistic system, it has a whole approach. That were the images behind me moving from the shop to the healing rooms.
Sorig News: What where the biggest obstacles in establishing the Arura Healing Centre?
KS: A general awareness of Sowa Rigpa, of what it is and how it works. So mostly initially people come to me because they have been to Nepal or Tibet and they have a small experience in Sowa Rigpa. For instance they had a Lama who gave them some pills, that’s what they often do.
Sorig News: So the people wanted the pills again?
KS: Yes, often. That’s the other obstacle: People often think I would just hand them over some medicine. Thus part of the ongoing task is to educate, not only upcoming new practitioners, but to educate people generally about Sowa Rigpa and its meaning.
Sorig News: Did you have mainly people who are familiar with Buddhism who come to your center?
KS: Yes. Australians are big travellers and many of them come to these places. So they come because they are curious or they are tracking or they are interested in Buddhism. However now it’s becoming more widespread than that. People have a better understanding of basic principles and how they can help them. I think Sowa Rigpa is a really relevant healing system to modern life in the West. It has so much to offer. And I am constantly greatful to Dr. Nida and the external therapies … he is so good at them and they are really helpful. I think that other healers who do not practice them have a huge gap in their education. It really supports the body and healing.
Sorig News: What were your best moments with the Arura Healing Centre? What makes you happy there?
KS: When I see a good result. You know – I am a normal westerner … I have a lot of self-doubt *laughs*. But I remind myself to Dr. Nida who taught me not to worry, I should just do it. Some things in healing are miraculous but I don’t put that down to me but to Sowa Rigpa and Dr. Nida. For about 18 months quite early on I honestly felt like an angel of death. I had so many people at the end of their journey. They are desperate and they want to try anything. And they heard about Sowa Rigpa. It was a really interesting learning experience because I realized that my most important thing in my tool kit was compassion. Sometimes your job is to help them at the end of their journey. So that was an extraordinary period but very challenging. I felt horribly ill-equipped. *laughs*
Sorig News: It is surely one of the hardest parts of being a Sowa Rigpa practitioner!
KS: Yeah. But I treated a man with Parkinson’s Disease for a long time and after his first Ku Nye massage he felt so good. He and his wife went for dinner for the first time in a few years. And I was so happy … so things like that make me happy.
Sorig News: Do you remember your first patient in your Arura Healing Centre?
KS: It wouldn’t be for Ku Nye … I wasn’t going to do Ku Nye - I don’t have a massage background. So we just had Dr. Nida with us for a week and did the Yuthok Nyingthig – Ngöndro the first time in Australia. And then there was a Ku Nye course and he said we could finish that in Sydney and he asked why I didn’t want to do that. I said that I don’t want to do massage because we covered a bit of that in our Sowa Rigpa course anyway. So he said: “People who do Ku Nye are better in Sowa Rigpa!” You see … it sucks me in every time! *laughs* He was right because I’ve learned from everybody up from my hands on and so my first patient would be with Ku Nye massage. It was somebody who would come to me with shoulder issues, and she did well. It was quite funny because she was a twin and her sister was in northern Australia and she called me up that she got the shoulder problem as well … *laughs* I remember being quite nervous … Am I doing it right? But it was fine.
Sorig News: But it wasn’t your very first patient? You mentioned you did Reiki before?
KS: Yeah, but you know it was a different thing. Also I remember different amazing things like a woman who was two weeks from shoulder surgery for frozen shoulder and we fixed her. So she did not need the operation. Another young man who was selve-harming … cutting … was a bit tricky. He was 13 years old and I said to his mother: “I won’t take him unless you also take him to a counsellor!” So I treated him with Horme and had great success there. I was thinking this would give him a positive body experience. As a 13-year old massage would’ve been a bit embarrassing for him. So you have to think about it too.
Sorig News: So what are the patient cases you encounter the most? Is there a variety or did you notice that there is a certain kind who is attracted to Sowa Rigpa?
KS: My observations are that 90% from the people who come to me have something related with stress and anxiety and depression. And that manifests in a physical or emotional form or a combination. Of these 90% I recon half of them hate their job and a lot of people don’t get touched. Thus they profit a lot from physical therapies. They have a lot of physical complaints in their backs and shoulders but often it seems to me that the bulk of these complaints are these emotional combined conditions. Modern life is killing us. Food is killing us. So I am very practise. I would take them for shopping and teach them how to shop if I think that their diet is terrible and they just have no clue. People are really stressed if they need something to do. I teach them what they need. I teach them walking meditation if I think it would help them. It’s always about whatever is going to make them feel better.
Sorig News: So it takes a lot of general experience and knowledge?
KS: Yeah, whatever is going to add in.
Sorig News: How can the people learn about you and find their way to your Arura Healing Centre?
KS: Mostly through digital marketing. I have quite a strong web presence. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter … Instagram interestingly does bring business but the Facebook page is probably the best. However most patients usually find me through the mouth. That is the main reason, that’s good.
Sorig News: Do you have any cooperation with allopathic doctors or other health care practitioners? What do you think about it, what could be improved?
KS: I would really like to see more cooperation between complementary and alternative therapies but its a little way off in Australia. Most doctors regard what I do as a step down from witchcraft. *laughs* But having said that, since moving the clinic to Melbourne a couple of general practitioners have become aware of my work and started to refer people to me occasionally. So that’s really reassuring. I have a list of doctors of whom I refer to and I am always very happy to refer people on to western medicine if I think that’s appropriate. I don’t have an issue with that. What’s important is that the person gets healed! And I have some other practitioners I refer to like an excellent acupuncturist – so for things that I don’t really feel comfortable with. So I don’t have an issue with referring people on.
Sorig News: So you think the cooperation with western medicine should be definitely improved?
KS: I think this blanket “it’s not worth anything”-approach is ridiculous. On one hand you have them saying that Sowa Rigpa doesn’t do anything and on the other hand you have them telling their patients not to take my medicines which are made from things they can buy at the supermarket. So they have to make up their mind. So to be fair western general practitioners – I believe it is the same in other parts of the world – they work very hard, there are a lot of expectations on them, there is a lot of pressure, you know big pharma is involved so it is hard for them to take the time and explore other things. Sadly it seems that it often happens that they make those explorations when they get sick themselves.
Sowa Rigpa: So do you have patients that are doctors themselves?
KS: I do - I have several. *laughs* They look for something else when they get sick.
Sowa Rigpa: What are your visions for the future?
KS: I have a big vision: My wish is to move my centre one day to a bigger location where I can carry out the classes at the centre and also be able to offer the bath treatment, the Lum-therapy. I am very passionate about that because it is so effective. That is my dream, my next step.
Sorig News: Would you also like to have some rooms in your Arura Healing Centre where you could live yourself?
KS: In a perfect world, yes! I would be very happy to live upstairs and work downstairs. But we will see what happens.
Sorig News: … and also where the patients could stay overnight?
KS: I think yes. Because in a perfect world after the Lum you should control the environment. But westerners being westerners - I think it is unlikely that you could persuade them to do that. It has to be a retreat centre then or something like that. And I don’t think that I want a retreat center. I think that is a big job and it becomes more administrative. I am happiest when I am hands-on and working with the healing.
Sorig News: Do you have any advices for somebody who wants to build or establish a Sowa Rigpa and Sorig Khang centre?
KS: I would say it is good to start simple. Don’t try and set yourself up with the halls of amazing bells and whistles- type things. Start working with the things you are confident in and then you will develop more confidence in your abilities and your knowledge and then you can expand. But be confident in the things that Dr. Nida has taught us. He wouldn’t give them to us if he didn’t think they worked or if he didn’t think we could do it. And be very true to your motivation. So every day I go to work I can help someone … I like that!
Sorig News: Thank you for this interview! Is there anything else you want to say?
KS: I would say for me Sowa Rigpa is my life now. And I am sure it has been my life in other lives. For me … I am really just committed to my continuous study, my patients and my teaching and really expanding, expanding this in Australia. So much to offer!
Sorig News: Thank you very much! We wish you all the best!
KS: Thank you!
Karen Stone has been practising holistic healing since 2001. She offers all aspects of Traditional Tibetan Medicine including: external therapies such as Yuk Cho stick therapy, Ku Nye massage, cupping, and moxibustion, diet and lifestyle consultations, herbal medicines as well as mantra healing among other therapies. Karen is a certified Sorig Khang teacher.
Official Site of the Arura Healing Centre: www.arura.com.au