Archive for the ‘Identity’ Category

Free from Anxiety   Leave a comment

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

This article, Free from Anxiety, is by Jen who is a member of the Christian Science Church in Canberra.  She describes how a change of thinking freed her from constant anxiety and gave her a sense of peace and harmony.

I love being a Christian Scientist, and diving deep into health, spirituality and identity, but it can be hard challenging ideas that are accepted as fact by the wider community.  Spiritual healing is seen as impractical and ineffective, and it is rare that I tell people that I rely on prayer when I am ill or injured. This is because it is assumed that I pray to a God who would create me capable of being in pain and then sometimes decides to award me a miracle and heal me.

For me, God is a creative, spiritual force that is completely good.   As Christian Scientists, we strive to look past sin, suffering and disease, and understand ourselves as primarily spiritual- as the representation of a higher creative power.  In asserting our spiritual identities, and understanding a higher creation, we unburden ourselves of thoughts that limit us to be inherently flawed and suffering.  As Mary Baker Eddy puts it, ‘Christian Science is the law of Truth, that heals the sick on the basis of the One Mind, Or God’ (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, page 482).  Instead of accepting that there is something ‘wrong’ with me, I turn my mind to spiritual truths, namely that I am primarily spiritual and free from ideas of pain or suffering.

I was healed from anxiety this year, and have felt a lightness and freedom.  I had accepted a very limited view of myself – I focused on the negatives in my life, and tried to physically control the environment around me to feel safe and secure in myself.  This started with my tendency to hide parts of myself that I feared other people would reject, and did everything I could to meet the expectations of those around me in school, during my gap year and later at university.  This obsession with control intensified when I lived in Indonesia, where I was constantly harassed by men in the streets and was actually assaulted at one point during my time there.  I learned to prepare for the worst case scenario, and was uptight and fearful.  This affected my personal life – I was scared that people would find out things about me that they might disapprove of, and I was very distrustful of new people, especially men.

I had a healing when I realised that the opposite of anxiety is to expect good.  This did not mean putting my head in the sand and pretending that nothing was wrong, but rather turning away from a limited understanding of myself and the world and focusing on spiritual facts.  A God that is all good could not create me fearful and vulnerable, and has not assigned me a future of fear and negativity in order to ‘test’ me.  Slowly, I concentrated on correcting fearful thoughts with an expectation of good, and gauging whether ideas coming to me were affirming my identity as a spiritual being or sending me into a negative spiral.  The strength I gained by trusting God has led me to be more open with friends and family, to forgive the men in Indonesia who seemed to threaten my safety, and to be relaxed in accepting opportunities that have opened up a whole new world for me.  I am so grateful for my background in Christian Science, and have used it as a practical tool in gaining peace and harmony in my everyday life.

To read more testimonies of healing shared by members of the Christian Science Church in Canberra click on the archive headings on the left for May and June 2016.

Step Out of Your Story and into Healing   Leave a comment

shutterstock_169648079Step Out of Your Story and into Healing a lecture by Jon Benson. 

Jon is a full-time Christian Science healer and an international speaker.  In this lecture he shares his understanding of this reliable method of spiritual healing.

In Step Out of Your Story and into Healing  Jon discusses the necessity of letting go of a sense of our own personal history – our sense of ourselves as flawed mortals – to find our true spiritual identities and in doing this healing is realised.  His explanations are clear and logical and his presentation dynamic and engaging.  Click here to listen.

 

Peace of Mind Restored   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_6359829This article, Peace of Mind Restored, is shared anonymously by a member of the Christian Science Church in Canberra.  In it the writer tells of his triumph over a debilitating medically diagnosed mental health condition.

As with many others it has been a journey for me to find, accept and gain an understanding of Christian Science.

For almost ten years I have relied entirely on Christian Science to overcome all medical problems. No pills, medicines or drugs of any kind – purely and only Christian Science.

All my life prior to this period I had relied on traditional medicines and doctors.  I had been diagnosed with manic depression and mild schizophrenia with associated suicidal thoughts and tendencies.  General practitioners, psychiatrists and psychologists had been consulted.  I had close to two decades of changing medications and altering dosages, and yet nothing really changed.  Homeopathy and hypnosis had even been tried.  I just thought this was the way it was and would continue to be.

After an attempted suicide (obviously unsuccessful) I had a stint in hospital and it was there that an event occurred that changed my life:  The psychiatrist at the hospital told my wife, ‘there is nothing we can do to stop the suicide attempts; he will do it again; one day he will succeed’.  This was the turning point in my life.  I knew I had few options so I turned to Christian Science and found a firm fundamental premise upon which to expand my life.

Since turning to Christian Science and studying the text Science and Health with key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy I have been healthier both physically and mentally.  My family report that I am calmer, happier and kinder.  I can truly agree with Timothy in the Bible when he says: God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind (II Timothy 1: 7).

As I said previously:  no medicines, formulas or pills for almost ten years.  The constant in this time has been Christian Science and the text, Science and Health with key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy.  It was a journey to get to that point and the time was right for me.

The Essential Ingredient for Youth Mental Health   Leave a comment

$ dreamstime_5971679The years between 15-25 are frequently a time of questioning and great discovery, but like many others I found them difficult. I had to deal with chronic disease, failure in my chosen career, a persistent lack of self-worth along with indecision about an alternative career path, and loneliness.

Although never diagnosed, a psychologist would probably have called me depressed.

However, along the rugged path to recovering my childhood inner contentment I found that spiritual activities like prayer, research into some of the world’s most meaningful spiritual writings and participating in church were keeping me sane, mentally motivated, and connected to others in a nurturing environment.

The refocus on unselfish activities gave me a feeling of self-worth again and also contributed to a hopefulness that things would get better. In time, it opened up previously unknown pathways to fulfillment.

Rather than restricting me or quashing my critical thinking, my adolescent research into the spiritual nature of mental and physical health made me realise that what I needed all along was to put into daily practice a growing understanding of my radically awesome relationship to the Divine Being.

To the degree that I acknowledged it, I found that I could actually experience divine Love expressing kindness and unselfishness in me; the divine Mind reflecting intelligence and wisdom in me; the divine Life demonstrating health and wellbeing in me; and so on (ideas from Science and Health by Mary Baker Eddy).

Things started to go right for me again. You could say that I saw “the wilderness and desert begin to blossom as the rose”, an image so beautifully depicted in the Bible.

Perhaps not surprisingly, I ended up more consistently in the right head space with a much better view of myself – and was probably a lot more likeable, as well!

A 2008 study published in Australian Family Physician and written by Dr Craig Hassed, Faculty of Medicine at Monash University in Melbourne, reported that “Spirituality is an important determinant of physical, emotional and social health…”

When commenting on escalating trends in youth mental illness his study suggests that “there may be too little attention being given to the ‘protective factors’ against mental illness, of which, particularly for adolescents, are connectedness and having a spiritual or religious dimension to one’s life” (Hassed, The role of spirituality in medicine, 2008).

It’s heartening to learn that spirituality is acknowledged as central to youth mental health by a growing number of psychologists.

It seems to me that clinicians need to speak to the community more about the benefits of spirituality in the treatment of anxiety and depression, and not just in young people, but for everyone.

A spiritual dimension to life will undoubtedly assist you, whether you’re young or old, as you seek (and find) a better, healthier and happier you. That would be the real you!

This article, by Kay Stroud, has been published in the Sunshine Coast Daily, Lismore Northern Star and Bundaberg News Mail.  Kay is a freelance writer focussing on the undeniable connection between our thinking and our health. 

A Timeless Beauty   1 comment

Scan 24I was looking at an old black and white photo of my mum the other day. I guess she would have been in her early twenties so it was probably taken about 70 years ago. My mum was quite a beautiful lady and as a young woman she was very lovely. She had a special grace about her that made you want to look longer.

I began to think, if she was around today looking like that you would still have to say she was beautiful, but she wouldn’t fit today’s standards of beauty. Her skin was whiter, her body fleshier, her hair contrived into curls and she wore a pretty frock. This set me to thinking about what beauty really is. In each era fashion seems to give us strict dictates as to what the ideal look is – how tanned our skin should be, how lean our body, even the shape of our eye-brows. If we are not careful this can lead to a sense of striving for the impossible – not many of us fit that ideal model. So does this mean that we are not beautiful?

The qualities people saw in my mother  – intelligence, calmness and strength in the face of trouble, joy at the little things, devotion to family and friends, innocence, resilience, energy – these qualities shone out of her right to the last. They were the qualities that people mentioned when they commented on how lovely my mother was. They didn’t mention her physical appearance. They mentioned qualities they saw. Mary Baker Eddy, one of the first women to investigate thoroughly the connection between consciousness and experience, writes in her textbook, Science and Health: Beauty, as well as truth, is eternal; but the beauty of material things passes away, fading and fleeting as mortal belief. … Comeliness and grace are independent of matter (p247).

She goes on to say:

All beauty and goodness are in and of Mind, emanating from God; but when we change the nature of beauty and goodness from Mind to matter, the beauty is marred, through a false conception, and, to the material senses, evil takes the place of good  (Rudimental Divine Science p6).

Perhaps if we put as much thought and effort into developing these beautiful qualities of Mind as we do our outward appearance our beauty would be less ephemeral and grow and blossom with the passing years.

This post was submitted by Deborah Packer of Canberra.

Who Am I Really?   Leave a comment

shutterstock_71074087Who Am I Really – Readings from the Bible and the textbook of Christian Science, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy.

Every Wednesday at 6.00 pm a Testimony Meeting is held at the Christian Science Church in Canberra. Each meeting begins with readings selected from the two books designated as the Pastor of Christian Science: The Bible and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy.  A new topic for the readings is selected each week.

At the conclusion of the short readings the congregation is invited to share thoughts on this topic and relate how they have used the principles of Christian Science to solve life’s problems and bring physical healing.

If you are in Canberra on any Wednesday please join us. Everyone is welcome.

This recording represents the readings on the topic: Who Am I Really?

Is there a daily diet that curbs perfectionism, eating disorders?   Leave a comment

 

shutterstock_125748860Four ‘trick or treaters’ knocked on our door on Halloween evening. Somewhat unprepared and surprised to experience this novelty in Australia I managed to locate a few sweet treats for each of them, and they left happily bubbling with excitement.

Was I frightened of their costumes or weird masks? Of course not. And I’m sure they didn’t believe for a moment that they’d suddenly morphed into ugly, wicked or ghoulish creatures, either.

Sometimes, though, people do put on an emotionally draining mask as they strive to feel accepted and loved. Over time they may come to accept the charade as part of themselves.

For instance, they may act out the role where they have to be the best … at everything. They can’t abide mistakes and feel it’s a badge of honour to say they’re a perfectionist. Ever in fear of failing, they may be chronic procrastinators. They don’t like themselves very much either, because they rarely live up to their own expectations.

They may be caught up in a warped view of the world that is commonly known as perfectionism.

Like many psychologists, Thomas Greenspon believes that perfectionism is more than pushing yourself to do your best to achieve a goal; it’s a reflection of an inner self mired in anxiety, where you constantly feel like an imposter. “Perfectionist people typically believe that they can never be good enough, that mistakes are signs of personal flaws, and that the only route to acceptability as a person is to be perfect,” he said.

Whatever the reason may be for that belief, at the heart of the often life-long anxiety to appear perfect is our adoption of the general belief that the human mind is full of good and bad emotions and beliefs, some of which are detrimental to mental and physical health.

However, what’s gaining wider acceptance in health research today is the degree to which the body is the servant of the mind.

Sometimes a simple shift in thought enables us to take off the imposter’s mask we may have been wearing and lift the mental weight.

Accepting a less human mind for a diviner nature that is more attuned to understanding, compassion and humility, brings with it greater confidence, better relationships and a selfless desire to contribute to the greater good.

It’s the daily diet of serene, spiritual thoughts that transforms our experience, gives us grace for each day and best feeds our famished affections, Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, explains in a very practical elucidation of the Lord’s Prayer.

It’s interesting that current treatments for perfectionism are also moving to thought-based approaches such as acceptance and commitment therapy, meditation and mindfulness, even in the treatment of serious eating disorders like anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa that develop alongside the obsessive quest for the perfect body.

Reports estimate that 15% of Australian women between 12 and 30 years of age suffer from eating disorders at some stage in their lives. These young women (and men) who are crying out for love, acceptance and a better view of themselves, often cause untold anguish for themselves and their families, and sometimes even end their lives in the quest for the perfect body.

Julie Bell reached the point where hospitalisation for malnutrition seemed the only answer when the application of a distinctive thought-based, prayer-based approach, founded on recognition of her flawless, spiritual nature, proved “a glorious turning point”.

She experienced a shift in thought. She realised that she could take control of her own thinking, that her body was the servant and that “food did not have power to govern (her) life or (her) sense of a physical body”.

Not only healed of the eating disorder, she found that other obsessive habits that she hadn’t realised were abnormal completely fell away, as did her fear of going forward in the world.

If you’re tiring of the relentless obsessive or perfectionistic thinking about your body or successes, you may also be more than ready to focus less attention on what you eat or on your limited achievements and more on thinking outside the sensory box. Instead, pondering ideas that tenderly reassure you of your intrinsic value.

The mask of a limited, biophysical viewpoint can be frightening, but its removal will enable you to replace a daily diet of fear and anxiety with a moment-by-moment health-giving intake of love and respect for your perfect, beautiful, spiritual self. The difference will be remarkable.

This post was written by Kay Stroud who is a freelance writer focussing on the undeniable connection between our thinking and 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

Is This Body Me?   Leave a comment

DSCN2268Is This Body Me? – Readings from the Bible and the textbook of Christian Science, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy.

Every Wednesday at 6.00 pm a Testimony Meeting is held at the Christian Science Church in Canberra. Each meeting begins with readings selected from the two books designated as the Pastor of Christian Science: The Bible and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy.  A new topic for the readings is selected each week.

At the conclusion of the short readings the congregation is invited to share thoughts on this topic and relate how they have used the principles of Christian Science to solve life’s problems and bring physical healing.

If you are in Canberra on any Wednesday please join us. Everyone is welcome.

This recording represents the readings on the topic: Is This Body Me?

 

Your Age Doesn’t Define You   4 comments

shutterstock_169369466Do you believe that you are you are ‘as young as you feel’? That you’re free to take charge of your own health, happiness and wellbeing, no matter what your age?

In frustration at some of the ingrained beliefs about aging that he saw shackling his colleagues and friends as they grew older, an American baseball legend asked, “How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you were?” implying that you need to break out of the mental conditioning that makes you think you are defined by your age.

The calendar is a useful way to let you know the date, but if you let yourself be hemmed in by your chronological age, you may lock yourself out of potentially valuable opportunities.

Nextgen population researchers have recognised the greater import of health, cognitive function and life expectancy rather than age data as they plan for future populations. “We should not consider someone who is 60 or 65 to be an older person,” said researcher Sergei Scherbov. “Saying that ‘40 is the new 30’ .. is truer than people know.”

We’ve heard how our health age can be years younger than our calendar age, if we’re active and eat sensibly. Now, research into the mind/body/spirit connection in several fields, including neuroscience and meditation, adds evidence to the claim that it is our mindset, more than the food we eat or the exercise we do, that affects our physical body.

Excited by the health implications of the mind sciences, a Cleveland Clinic Foundation exercise psychologist compared individuals who worked out at a gym against another cohort who just visualized working out. Not surprisingly, the gym-goers experienced a 30 percent increase in muscle. However, the ones who only thought about working out also experienced a 13% increase in muscle strength, urging us to think beyond the physical to mental attitudes and capacities.

Many integrative health practitioners take this a step further, asserting that it is spiritual thoughts and practices that make a significant difference to better health and longevity. Mary Baker Eddy, an early researcher into this connection in her book, Science and Health, suggests that we “…. shape our views of existence into loveliness, freshness, and continuity, rather than into age and blight” for a longer, healthier and happier life.

She also suggests that it’s time to stop focussing on the body so much, and be aware of the myths about aging that are constantly influencing us. Be aware that “timetables of birth and death are so many conspiracies against manhood and womanhood”, and stop keeping a record of ours or others ages; or at least dispute the assumptions of debility and aging every time you buy a birthday card.

Healthwise, it’s worth acknowledging that spiritual, mindful or positive thoughts bring vitality, freshness and promise to each day.

Some have broken free from the belief that they’re ruled by an aging body. You too can adopt a mental attitude of ageless being, and look forward to experiencing the health benefits.

This article, Your Age Doesn’t Define You, is by Kay Stroud. Kay is a health writer focussing on the leading edge of consciousness, spirituality and health. Her articles can be found on Health4Thinkers.

Is Your Health Growing Older by the Minute?   Leave a comment

Sands of timeIs time speeding up? Not really, but it sure feels that way. Everywhere I hear people saying, ‘Where has the month gone?’ Is it just “oldies” that feel this way? Apparently not. Even the younger-set are surprised at how quickly the days fly-by.

It makes you think about the passage of time and what it means for one’s health and life-style. As one diner in my local food-court was heard to say, “I’m getting older with each tick of the clock.” It’s a bit depressing when one looks at aging that way. However, it’s not all doom and gloom. Despite what we may think, there’s no evidence to suggest that time is toxic to us humans.

In an article for the Seattle Times, Richard Cutler of the National Institute of Health’s Gerontology Research Center states, “aging is unnatural… there may be no immutable biological law that decrees human beings have to get old and sick and die.” And in the same newspaper article, university biochemist Elliott Crooke says, “There is no clear reason why aging starts to occur. By design, the body should go on forever.”

If the remarks of those scientists are accepted, then aging is not caused by the number of sunrises and sunsets we accumulate, nor does this have to negatively impact our mental or bodily health. It would seem entirely possible for our faculties, mental alertness, energy and wellness to remain intact – in spite of the rotation of the earth around the sun.

So what makes us think that an aging body is related to how many birthdays we’ve had? Perhaps it’s because of what we see, read and hear about aging from a variety of sources – including drug companies, the media, and people we know. Examples of advanced years being accompanied by decline tend to be more prevalent than stories of mature people being active and useful in later years. Yet from time-to-time we come across inspiring individuals – past and present, who have overcome the limitations traditionally associated with old age. Clara Barton (1821 – 1912) was one such person.

Barton founded the Red Cross in America and she worked tirelessly into her nineties. She not only believed that we can live longer, useful lives, but she did just that herself. In an interview with Viola Rogers – a journalist for the New York American, Barton explains her viewpoint on not letting the age-clock beat us into submission.

“Most troubles are exaggerated by the mental attitude, if not entirely caused by them. … Now it has been my plan in life never to celebrate or make anything of birthday anniversaries, because this only depresses and exaggerates the passing of years. The mind is so constructed that we have become firmly convinced that after a certain length of time we cease to be useful, and when our birthday calendar indicates that we have reached or are nearing that time, we become lax in our work and finally cease to accomplish; not because we feel in reality that we are no longer useful, but because we are supposed by all laws and dictums to have finished the span of life allotted to work. Birthday celebrations after one is ten are without any value, and what is more, I verily believe that they are harmful.”

Barton continues in the interview with this good advice. “Let your life be counted by the mile-stones of achievement and not by the timepiece of years. We would all be younger if that were so, and would live to be much older than we do at the present time. … To-day I feel as young in my own mind as I did a half century ago, and that is because I have not folded my hands and given up, and have also given up the thought that I was not as useful as I had been in other years.”

There are many other individuals – famous and not so famous, who have thought and done likewise. They’re the folks who’ve refused to say that they used to be able to do this or that, and now they can’t because they’re old. In so doing, they’ve shown us what’s possible – what we can aim for.

For example, can we anticipate being healthy and active into the future? Can we say no to becoming limited in mind or body? Can we continue to learn how our mental state governs the physical. Can we find, as I’ve done, that prayer is useful in aligning our thought with the divine source of life and its perpetual longevity?

Such prayerful religious practice, according to scientists, can actually aid longevity. That’s why I’m finding encouragement in a favourite Scriptural text. “The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: …They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be healthy and flourishing.”

Surrendering the notion that time impacts our health, means you and I could look forward to a longer, more productive life. We might even join the ranks of the 76 female and 2 male documented supercentenarians – individuals who have reached the ripe old age of 110 years or more. And why not? Without the spectre of time looming in our thinking, a long, healthy, active life, might just become the norm.

This article by Beverly Goldsmith was originally published on her blog site Spirituality and Health Connect. Beverly is a Melbourne-based health writer who provides a diversity of health content on how spirituality and thought affect health.

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