Archive for June 2016

How to Achieve a Win-Win Election 2016   Leave a comment

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There are complaints that the campaigns of the leaders of the two major parties in our upcoming Australian federal election have been downright dull.

But could that be something to be grateful for?

While there have been some negative comments towards other’s policies, let’s hope that every candidate keeps the negativity to a minimum, especially personal criticisms.

Perhaps surprisingly, that’s not only good for the sake of civil discourse, science says it’s also good for the candidates.

study published in The Journal of Politics notes that “there is no consistent evidence in the research literature that negative political campaigning ‘works.’”  The report goes on to say, “While attacks probably do undermine evaluations of the candidates they target…they usually bring evaluations of the attackers down even more.”  A lose-lose situation for all concerned.

The mood of the public always dips during negative political campaigns.  Normal people with the best of motives can get caught up in the anxiety and anger of opposing sides.

There’s substantial research that suggests political sledging and nastiness can cause emotional extremes and unpleasant physical symptoms.   And the worse the negative campaign becomes, the more anxiety and illness may be experienced.

It seems that a more effective political campaign is built on honesty.  Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science and a leading thinker on the connection between spirituality and experience wrote in her primary work, Science and Health: “Honesty is spiritual power,” a viewpoint that brings health and harmony to all aspects of our lives and the world around us.  “Dishonesty is human weakness, which forfeits divine help” (p453) – forfeits success, peace and happiness.

Irrespective of our beliefs, most of us seek morally upright and harmonious government.

Apart from the obvious benefits to the electorate of honest politicians, another research study discovered that honesty is good for the politician too – the less people lie, the better they feel, both mentally and physically.

The constant barrage of human opinions also seems to play an exaggerated role during the lead up to an election.  We’d be better off if we rejected the kind of thinking that takes offense at harsh opinions or perspectives, or reacts in fear that they can harm us or our country.

Disciplining our own thought, refusing to dwell on another’s personality or personal opinions and their amplification in the media, is possible and will add to our continued wellbeing.

A spirit of fair play suggests that we give candidates space to have their say, and then it’s our task to discern their motives and look at their record.

For me, as a Christian, that means prayerfully listening for and being guided by universal, divine intelligence and wisdom that discerns the very contents of each heart.

I’d have to say that I’ve found it to be quite a challenge to set aside my past allegiances or political inclinations and to open-mindedly vote, according to the above guidelines, for the individual who I feel will do the most good for the electorate at any particular time.

As a Christian Scientist, specifically, I think we can aim for a win-win result in the 2016 elections, whatever our political stance, by considering this view expounded by Eddy:

“We should remember that the world is wide; that there are a thousand million different human wills, opinions, ambitions, tastes, and loves; that each person has a different history, constitution, culture, character, from all the rest; that human life is the work, the play, the ceaseless action and reaction upon each other of these different atoms. Then, we should go forth into life with the smallest expectations, but with the largest patience; with a keen relish for and appreciation of everything beautiful, great, and good, but with a temper so genial that the friction of the world shall not wear upon our sensibilities; with an equanimity so settled that no passing breath nor accidental disturbance shall agitate or ruffle it; with a charity broad enough to cover the whole world’s evil, and sweet enough to neutralize what is bitter in it…” (Miscellaneous Writings p224, Mary Baker Eddy).

This article was contributed by Kay Stroud, a life-long Christian Scientist, who is a freelance writer focussing on the undeniable connection between our thinking and our experience including our health.  She writes for metropolitan and regional news media throughout Australia and beyond, and is a regular contributor to Australia’s national forum, Online Opinion, and the APN regional network in Northern NSW and Queensland.

You can follow her blog at www.health4thinkers.com

or follow her on twitter:  www.twitter.com/KayJStroud

Why We Need to Rethink Ageing   Leave a comment

shutterstock_174024581Today’s shift in thought concerning seniors’ capabilities was pre-empted by spiritual thinker, Mary Baker Eddy, who wrote more than a century ago about “the everlasting grandeur and immortality of development, power, and prestige” which are part of our spiritual being.

These days we hear of Australians in their 80s and older, who compete in major sports events.  And many who are still working into their 70s, 80s and 90s, their occupations varying from cloakroom attendant to running a cancer research centre.

It’s almost as if they think they might live forever!

And why not!  Laugh if you will, but this idea of the impact of what we expect bears a little more consideration It was found in a study that “how we think about ageing” has a greater impact on our longevity than do gender, socioeconomic status, loneliness or how healthy we are.

It couldn’t be a better time for all generations to think more deeply about how perceptions of ageing can have an impact on their health and longevity.  Too many jokes about granny and her walker might just shorten your own life span.

Perhaps we should instead celebrate senior achievers and champion both their accomplishments and the qualities they express.  This may lengthen our lives by planting the idea that their victories over age will be just as attainable for ourselves!

A Journal of Physiology study found, “positive self-perceptions can prolong life expectancy.  Expectations about the inevitability of physical decline with advancing years may be incorrect and that how we age is, to a large degree, up to us.”

If it’s up to us, why not envisage for your older self a life of volunteering or enthusiastic service, increased tolerance and humour, a wealth of experience and the wisdom to tackle any problem.  Cherishing this hope at all ages will tend to lessen any inclination to belittle the elderly.

And understanding why we have grounds for such hope can help avert the wave of panic that might otherwise threaten to wash over us in our 40s or 50s in response to the threat of ageing, or when we come face to face with our own mortality as a result of the loss of a close loved one.

Neurologist Dr Peter Whitehouse, author of the thought-provoking book The Myth of Alzheimer’s,” adds a frequently overlooked aspect to successful ageing.  He describes ageing as our “unique ability to grow spiritually and mentally.”

The way I see it, such spiritual growth is key.  I’ve found that a developing consciousness of our present spiritual nature – made in the “image and likeness of God”, as the Bible puts it – helps to extinguish fears about ageing that grow out of a more material sense of ourselves.

I like how the Bible corroborates the scientific approach of needing to change our expectations, but points to a deeper means for doing so than positive thinking.  It says, “The Spirit alone gives eternal life.  Human effort accomplishes nothing.” (John 6:63)

As we understand this, we might be less enticed by the latest body-focussed fads to reverse the ageing process.

Eddy’s summation in Science and Health gives practical advice, “Life and goodness are immortal.  Let us then shape our views of existence into loveliness, freshness, and continuity, rather than into age and blight.”

Time to review your expectations for the future?

This article was submitted by Kay Stroud who is a life-long Christian Scientist and a writer drawing connections between consciousness, spirituality and health, and trends in that field. 

Follow her blog at www.health4thinkers.com

or follow her on twitter at:  www.twitter.com/KayJStroud

 

A Prayer and a Cat   Leave a comment

The Christian Science Church – a part of the Canberra community.  Members share testimonies and talk about their lives as Christian Scientists. 

shutterstock_124754725This article, A Prayer and a Cat, is by Debbie who is a member of the Christian Science Church in Canberra.  She describes how her prayers for the world also resulted in healing for a friend’s cat.

I would like to share a healing that happened some years ago but it’s one that has meant a lot to me.

At the time I was working as a teacher in a local primary school.  There was one particular colleague that I sat with sometimes at lunch; she often talked to me about her cat, Hershey, who seemed to be a big part of her life.  However, at this particular time much of her conversation was about her upcoming trip to the US – a holiday for which they had been saving for a long time.

One day I walked into the staff room to find this friend crying gently while she ate her sandwich.  I sat with her and asked what had upset her.  She said that Hershey was sick and the vet had said he would die any day.  She was supposed to leave for the US in a few days and no cattery would take a cat that was about to die.  The kindest thing to do, the vet said, was to put him to sleep before she left.

My friend couldn’t bring herself to put her beloved cat down and felt guilty that she was leaving him when he was so ill.  Yet the holiday couldn’t be cancelled at this late date.

Without thinking too much I said:  “Would you like me to mind Hershey?” Immediately she jumped at this idea and within the minute it was settled.  She said she understood that he would not be alive when she returned but that at least he could go in his own time and in comfort.  I agreed.

Two days later Hershey was delivered to my place.  I admit I was not prepared for the sight of him.  He lay motionless in his basket; he was skin and bones with dull tufty fur and sore spots; his eyes remained closed.  I was informed that he needed his own quiet, dark room with no interruptions except for his medication.  I had not considered the issue of medication. He had so many!  She explained that Hershey had an immune deficiency condition – a cat’s version of AIDS she said.  We installed Hershey in his room and she said her good-byes.

For two days I tried to give Hershey his medication but it seemed to cause him so much stress.  I couldn’t see the point so I stopped.  I had been brought up in Christian Science and had always solved problems quickly through prayer.  Prayer for me was not a passive asking God for help but an active change of base in my thinking and spiritual reasoning.

There had been a lot of news coverage at this time around the issue of AIDS and I had been praying about this.  In my reasoning I went back to my basic beliefs:  I believed that there was a controlling order or principle to the universe and that principle was Love – another name for God.  A God of love I reasoned could not make a dangerous universe; that a God of Love protected creation, it didn’t expose it to harm.  I had proved many times that holding to spiritual truths, even in the face of evidence to the contrary, resolved inharmonious situations.

Now I applied this reasoning to Hershey. He was part of Love’s creation and I knew this Love was a powerful force for good.   In the textbook of Christian Science, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy writes:  You embrace your body in your thought, and you should delineate upon it thoughts of health, not of sickness (p208) so I embraced Hershey in my thought in this way.  I didn’t dwell on him, but I held to this idea every time I did think of him.  I felt safe that he was safe.

Very quickly he began to respond.  In a day or so he was up and walking about his room; another day or two he was out and exploring the house.

At the end of two weeks my friend returned and phoned to see how things had gone with Hershey.  She was very surprised to hear that he was ready to be picked up.  When she arrived to collect him he was sitting on the back of the lounge in the sun looking out the window.  He was plump and healthy, his fur was flawless and sleek and shiny, and he had a playful sparkle in his eyes.  He was very glad to be going home.

Sometimes when I pray for the world I am tempted to wonder:  Are my prayers doing any good?  This experience with Hershey gave me further proof that spiritual truths are powerful, more powerful than material evidence, and that prayers are effective in bringing about harmony in any situation – even those given up as hopeless.  I continue to be grateful for all that I am learning in my on-going study of Christian Science.

What it Means to Me to be a Christian Scientist   Leave a comment

The Christian Science Church – a part of the Canberra community.  Members share testimonies and talk about their lives as Christian Scientists. 

Playing GuitarMy name is Jen and I am a member of the Christian Science Church in Canberra.  I love learning about other people’s religions – I hope that some of you will love learning about mine.

Although Christian Science is very much based on what Jesus taught us, I often describe it to atheist and agnostic friends as a blend of Buddhism and Quantum Physics.  This is because it has a focus on overcoming a material view of the world, and understanding God as a spiritual life force.  It also presents us with a set of rules that we can use to understand God and His relation to man:  spiritual laws that are the basis of reality.

So what does this mean for me, as a Christian Scientist?  It means that I work every day to bring spirituality into my experience, and have seen healing as a result.  I lived in Indonesia for a year and attracted a lot of attention as a fair-haired, blue-eyed foreigner.  I developed anxiety during my time there due to the constant staring, catcalling and sexual harassment.  When I came home to Australia, I struggled to shake the anxiety, which made me incredibly tense, neurotic and irritable.  It took me a couple of years of prayer to overcome my anxiety:  it was clear that I was safe, but I was facing mental suggestions that I should hold onto fear to protect myself.

I had the choice of turning to a powerful God who created me free of fear, to a God who made me feel unsafe and fearful, or to no God at all.  I chose the first, as praying to know that I am the spiritual creation of a loving God has brought me healing in the past.  I had a major light-bulb moment in this case when I realized that the opposite of anxiety is expecting good.  I replaced thoughts of fear and anxiety with thoughts of safety and optimism, knowing that an All-Powerful God would always protect His creation.  This allowed me to free my thought from fear, and I have felt relaxed and protected ever since.

This is a testimony of how I understand God and myself, and also of how I use Christian Science prayer in facing the challenges in my life.  I use the laws that Jesus taught us to overcome limited views of myself, and rid myself of fear in living a peaceful life.

Gratitude for Healing – Headaches No More   Leave a comment

The Christian Science Church – a part of the Canberra community.  Members share testimonies and talk about their lives as Christian Scientists. 

shutterstock_171402770This article, Gratitude for Healing – Headaches No More, is by Barbara who is a member of the Christian Science Church in Canberra.  She relates how she has found permanent freedom from headaches through prayer and spiritualisation of thought.

Recently I read a beautiful expression of gratitude from a student of Christian Science who related how he had been healed of headaches.

It reminded me that I too had been healed of headaches so many years ago that I had really almost forgotten about it, and that healing has been permanent.

I was a fairly new student of this Divine Science at the time, and had never before experienced an instantaneous healing.  My job was such that I was continually dealing with the public, and it was important to be pleasant and attentive at all times.  That is not easy with a throbbing head.

I thought about God, the one and only power, and asked myself if I thought that He could have a headache.  The answer was no, I did not believe He could.  So then I asked myself again if I could possibly have something that God did not have, and certainly could not give me, and remain pure and loving.  The answer was still no, and at that moment I was entirely free of any pain.  That freedom has been mine for more than fifty years now.

Having said that, I cannot claim that the feeling of a headache coming on has not knocked at the door of my consciousness, but it has gained no admittance.  I have confronted it in various ways, such as “get thee hence, Satan”, to use the words of Jesus (Matt 4:10).  Satan is a Hebrew word signifying an adversary, an enemy, an accuser; or simply I would say, “I don’t do headaches” which is not very scientific, but I know that I do not have to cover the same ground again, and what God has done is done forever.

In obedience to the teachings of Christian Science I take the advice given in the textbook Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy where Mrs Eddy says, “Stand porter at the door of thought.  Admitting only such conclusions as you wish realised in bodily results, you will control yourself harmoniously” p392: 24-27.  Similarly, to quote the Bible again, “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7).

Through the study of the Bible and the Christian Science textbook I am assured that ‘with God, all things are possible’.

Healing Like an Awakening   Leave a comment

The Christian Science Church – a part of the Canberra community.  Members share testimonies and talk about their lives as Christian Scientists. 

$ dreamstime_7616146This article, Healing Like an Awakening, is by Christine who is a member of the Christian Science Church in Canberra.  She shares how a deeper understanding of God as Principle helped to bring about the healing of a restricting physical condition.

Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science has an interesting definition of this Science:  “To live so as to keep human consciousness in constant relation with the divine, the spiritual, and the eternal, is to individualize infinite power; and this is Christian Science.”

My study and practice of this Science of Being has resulted in a deep sense of peace, joy and gratitude. I am learning how thought is vital to my everyday experience and keeping my consciousness in relation to the divine, is the key to an awareness of what is real.

Many times I experienced that what was first so real, so frightening, so painful was changed totally by a change of perception, a change of thought, the realization that we are not alien to the divine Principle, or law, but are truly one with the divine Life.

I would like to explain this further with a physical healing that happened some years ago.  I grew up with the practice of Christian Science Mind-healing and so it was very natural for me to turn to it in every need.  So when I became ill with symptoms that were never diagnosed (listlessness, sleeplessness and no appetite) I turned to God for a greater sense of wholeness and perfection.  I worked with a Christian Science healer but my condition did not change until I became quite frail.

My husband gave me an ultimatum one day and asked me to see a medical practitioner.  I could see that this was a reasonable request but it also somehow awakened me to expect healing and a change in my thought that I had been working on every day – a kind of transformation.  That night when I could not sleep, I got up and walked around our kitchen and thought of 7 synonyms or names for God that Mary Baker Eddy explains in her book Science & Health.  These are: Mind, Soul, Spirit, Principle, Life, Truth, Love.

I often ponder them when I want to get a clearer idea of what God means to me and I did this aloud at this time of great need. For example, I thought of how my life was an expression of the one big Life, Life that could never get limited, disharmonious.  There is Truth that always frees us from limitations and how Love is the one cause of all being. When I came to the concept of a divine Principle, or law, something suddenly cleared in my thinking.  I realized that I was connected to the law of Life, the law of being – everyone was.  I bathed in that thought and it became like a light and also something of substance I could lean on, something that had indeed great power.

During this prayerful time I became very calm and eventually I returned to bed and for the first time in weeks, slept peacefully. In the morning I was well, ate a big breakfast and although I had been quite weak, there was no need for recuperation. I quickly gained my normal weight and started living an energetic life once more. In fact just two days after the night time turn around, I saddled my horse and went for a long ride through the countryside with such a sense of unbounded freedom.  The healing suddenly felt so natural, as if all that had happened was that I had woken up and realized that all was well.

How I Came to Christian Science   Leave a comment

The Christian Science Church – a part of the Canberra community.  Members share testimonies and talk about their lives as Christian Scientists. 

shutterstock_167122277This article, How I Came to Christian Science, is by Fran who is a member of the Christian Science Church in Canberra.  She shares the events that led her to the study of Christian Science.

Just over 25 years ago I experienced the worst day of my life.  Up till then I had always been a pretty obedient, happy, traditional church goer.   I was even a Sunday School teacher.   This day left me with only shock, horror and such immense grief.  These all combined to make me decide, “Well if that’s God, I don’t want any more to do with any of it”.  A bit later from somewhere I dredged up enough humility to question was it me or God that had led me to this point?

I had a peripheral knowledge of Christian Science gathered from watching, and often arguing with, a few family members.  At this stage I felt lost and desperate enough to try attending a Christian Science church service here in Canberra (which was not my home city at the time).  My first visit didn’t last very long as I knew I was about to break down; I quietly left. However, a vigilant usher noticed me and whispered to a practitioner in the congregation – a Christian Science practitioner is someone who supports others through prayer.  I was sitting in my car hunched over the steering wheel howling when I became aware of this lady sliding into the seat beside me.  Hers was an unforgettably special and loving presence.

After talking for while she extracted a promise from me to visit her home.  However, I had to cancel because of the onset of severe migraine.  She offered to pray for me for this.  Not only was the relief immediate but now some 25 years later I can declare with joy and gratitude I have never had another.  My following visits to her were instructive, up-lifting and above all filled with love, and gently led me into serious study of this practical Christianity.

Through my study of Christian Science I now understand God as Love and I know that He is not the cause of tragedy, or inharmony of any kind.  He is in fact the force that protects and saves us.  How immensely grateful I am to God for what I now know I have within me to share.

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