Welcome to my annual celebration of health headlines published in several online papers throughout Ontario under the banner ‘Health and the Mental Signature’.
The intersection of health and spirituality had a busy year as seen in the following top concepts we explored.
1. A Healthy and Long Life
Healthy aging is a popular topic, given that every day 1000 Canadians turn 65. This is sometimes referred to as the ‘silver tsunami’, with concerns expressed about the impact not only on our economy, but also on our health care.
But can shaping our view of existence with a more spiritual outlook actually produce continual mental acuity and physical well-being while ruling out decay, decline and decrepitude?
Many physicians and patients are discovering it can.
The idea that Spirit is eternal and unchanging and man is an expression of this eternal being is brought out clearly in the Old Testament, which gives this promise: “Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bear fruit in old age; They shall be fresh and flourishing. ” (Psalm 92:12-14 NKJV)
Consider the bud, which already has within it all the beauty of the blossom. We are like the bud, planted in an Eternal (think ‘perennial’) garden where the plants – our thoughts and abilities – have within them the ability to perpetually bloom.
It is within our grasp to refute the stereotypes of aging and, as encouraged by spiritual thinker and author Mary Baker Eddy, to ‘… shape our views of existence into loveliness, freshness, and continuity, rather than into age and blight’, and so express the Eternal.
2. Are prayer and spirituality in health care simply a placebo effect?
The placebo effect is the mental perception that a treatment can positively affect the physical condition. Alongside the debate over the ethics of placebo use, there remains steady and increased research into how placebos encourage the human mind to heal the body – it’s often even referenced as a ‘mind game’.
Some researchers hold that the impact of spirituality and religious practices – which based on many studies is consistently positive – is little more than one more example of the placebo effect.
Yet, Jesus’ application of what he knew of our spiritual nature was effective in his mission of healing and was without drugs – sugar coated or otherwise. Perhaps key to his approach was not only the recognition of the importance of changing human thinking (one of the original meanings of ‘repent’ is to ‘re-think’), but also his admonition to turn to the Divine as a source of health and well-being.
Should we relegate his profound healing work to nothing more than the placebo effect? Or, should we explore how and why it occurred?
3. Freedom from addiction
Addiction favours neither particular person nor product. From drugs to alcohol to gambling, addiction is a public health issue affecting the wealthy to the impoverished, the student to the soccer mom. No one wants to be in the glare of the headlines with their addiction problems or suffer the dire consequences.
Sad stories abound of many who have tried rehab for their addictions and failed. This raises the question: Is addiction incurable?
What other successful solutions are people discovering?
Broadening the view of ourselves to include not just our body but also our thoughts and our spirituality helped Tad find rehabilitation and freedom. Rehabilitating thought took him from a position of feeling like a victim of an uncontrollable addiction to glimpsing the possibilities of the kingdom within, a God-given right to purity and transformation.
This new viewpoint impelled him to tap into a Divine source that is infinite and all-powerful. Think of it as if you were having a bad dream and someone was trying to awaken you. They do not see your dream, nor enter it. They do see its effect on you but at the same time they know the dream itself is not real – i.e. not a part of you. Our spiritual source of wellness is always there, waiting for recognition, waiting for the awakening to freedom, as in Tad’s experience, from any addiction.
It’s been an exciting year exploring how we can increasingly connect the dots between our spirituality and our health, to see beyond what our human thinking and body try to tell us, to a spiritual concept of ourselves and its Divine connection.
Thank you for reading…….I’ll cut us both a piece of cake.
This article was published in many Metroland online papers, such as York Region