With the upsurge of evidence-based medicine, some may feel caught in an avalanche of tests, treatments, diagnoses and even drug trials. But, one small change of thought can self-arrest this slide and change your circumstances, just like the tiny spike of an ice axe can stop the slide of someone mountaineering in snow.
This analogy came to me when reading this story about the use of an ice axe:
If you’ve ever gone mountain climbing in the snow, you may have had the chance to use an ice ax. It’s especially useful if you lose your footing, fall to the ground, and start sliding down a slope. As momentum builds, it becomes harder to stop. But if you have an ice ax, the same body weight that tries to pull you down the mountain can be used to arrest the fall.
All you have to do is put the ice ax up against your body, point facing down into the snow, and lie face down on the hillside. The ax has a small point on one end that is driven into the snow by the weight of your body. This creates drag, and this helps slow you down. This is often called “self-arrest.”
It’s pretty amazing to think that a tiny spike can change a situation for a climber from sliding down a slippery slope to one of safety.
To think of pain and disease as an unavoidable part of life puts us, mentally, in an always-at-risk mode. So fear is never far from the surface, and over time this underlying fear for our well-being wreaks havoc on our health.
Like the tiny spike of the ice ax, one glimpse of an insight into a divine source for our health, ever-present and all-powerful, can arrest the fear that our health is based on tests and treatments. That good health is, at best, a temporary status.
How can we arrest this fear and anxiety?
It’s not easy, and to do it we have to get to the root of why we are afraid. It seems to me that we have to rethink this idea that our health is dependent on the body; and, the body is something that is fragile and vulnerable and able to act on its own. There is good evidence that the body is actually governed by our thinking. And, further, that spiritual thinking and reasoning about the body results in improved health. This spiritual reasoning would include gaining an understanding that there is a greater power – a Divine source – that is not only good but also in control of all things, including our health.
The apostle Paul wrote: ‘For God didn’t give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-control.’ Paul was sure of this because the many trials he experienced – including seeing his health and well being protected time and time again when he turned to God – gave him proof that he had no need to fear.
Realizing this connection between fear and it’s impact on our health, spiritual healer and author, Mary Baker Eddy wrote, ‘Stand porter at the door
of thought. Admitting only such conclusions as you wish realized in bodily results, you will control yourself harmoniously.’
A glimpse of this spiritual identity – loved and protected by God – can self -arrest the fear that another power could separate us from our state of health and well-being.
My friend, Bill, was greatly fearful when debilitating pain began one Friday and persisted through the weekend. The crisis came – either the pain went, or he would seek medical treatment. His self-arrest was his study of the Scriptures and his faith in an all-loving God. As his sense of the presence and power of divine love controlling all things increased, the fear and pain both dissolved.
The tip of the ice ax can stop a dangerous slide; the glimpse of divinely constituted health can stop the fear and anxiety that health can slip away.
This article was published in several Metroland online papers, including Durham Region