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

 

It’s Never Too Late   Leave a comment

This article by Naomi Price, It’s Never Too Late, was first published in the shutterstock_144781870Christian Science Sentinel.  It is now available on JHS-online.  In it Naomi explains that as our experience is the product of our thinking, it is never too late to change our thinking and to realise our true potential.

Christian Science explains that human experience and the physical body are wholly governed by human thought.  Mary Baker Eddy says in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, “A mortal man possesses this body, and he makes it harmonious or discordant according to the images of thought impressed upon it.”  So when mortal belief changes or is corrected through the understanding of spiritual truth, the material body also changes in accordance with it. Read more

Making Age Irrelevant   Leave a comment

shutterstock_74750959This article, Making Age Irrelevant by Ellen Shank Collins, was originally published in the Christian Science Sentinel.  It is now available on JHS-online.  In it Ellen challenges us to look beyond age, for ourselves and others, in setting life expectations. 

“Never record ages,” writes Mrs Eddy in Science and Health, the textbook of Christian Science.  An explanation is given further down the same page: “Life is eternal.”  Age isn’t a factor in eternal living.  Does this concept seem too radical a standpoint for everyday use?  Evidently not.

Today the attitude on age is shifting, which indicates perhaps a higher degree of understanding of eternal Life, God.  People see more clearly now that age isn’t necessarily an accurate indicator of mental or physical capacity.  Would it be all that surprising to hear of a twenty-nine-year-old university president or of a seventy-year old college student?  Rigid restrictions relating to age are breaking down.  Age is beginning to be perceived as less relevant.

To be lasting, this emerging concept needs to be substantiated by more than just a thought trend.  Christian Science challenges the process of deterioration.  It teaches that there’s a spiritual, scientific basis for proving the irrelevancy of age, a basis found in the Bible … Read more …

 

Advancing – Not Declining – Years   Leave a comment

Listen to a replay of this live chat, Advancing – Not Declining – Years, moderated by Lesley Gort.  Lesley is a full-time Christian Science Christian Science healer and teacher.

lesley-gortIn this broad-ranging chat, Lesley speaks of “advancing years,” not as growing older but as advancing toward an understanding of life as expanding good.  This spiritual sense of life doesn’t have a “cut off date.”  She explains how we can claim our “immortality every day.”  She speaks of a section in Mary Baker Eddy’s book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures as the “ageless pages”—where readers can find a rich supply of ideas about how to reject the limitations of age and progress spiritually.

Lesley responds to questions about failing eyesight and poor hearing, dread of looking “old,” fear of death, the feeling that older people will inevitably need medical services.   She also provides spiritual insights for individuals who are interacting with older friends and relatives.  She responds to questions about dealing with fears regarding a relative’s physical and mental health and offers thoughts for those who have a very active older relative and want to know how best to support that individual’s lifestyle.  Click here to listen.

Wage Peace   Leave a comment

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Daily Lift by Deborah Huebsch

In this 3 minute talk, Wage Peace, Deborah explains that peace is power – actually a powerful law.  It is God’s presence here with us and it is more powerful than aggression.  The wisdom in her explanation of this law restores calm even as she speaks.

The world needs peace more than ever.  Let’s wage peace together.

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.

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