Archive for the ‘Renewal’ Category

Monty – A Demonstration of Ageless Joy   Leave a comment

It’s been a year now since Monty left us.  We guessed he was about four when he came to us.  He had been trained as a bomb squad dog but his boundless energy and unstoppable joy for life rendered him unsuitable for such a delicate and serious career and he was adopted out.  His new owners also found him a handful and he moved to a temporary home and then to another longer stay, but these owners too were unable to meet his needs.

When he came to our attention we were looking for a family dog and without even meeting him we somehow knew that he was the right dog for us. He proved to be perfect!  He revelled in our long walks through the bush, the runs up our local Mt Taylor and just being one of the boys with our son and his friends.

When our son grew up and left home Monty prompted me from my somewhat sedentary life style and made sure that I had regular long walks.  No matter what the weather he was always keen to be out. He brought joy to any activity.  He adored us; he would put himself between me and any perceived danger.  I have no doubt that he would lay down his life for any one of us.  He fiercely protected our home and the variety of cats and chooks and guinea pigs that he saw come and go in our family.

Once a year he had a trip to the vet.  When we had had him for about seven years the vet warned us that Monty may not be back next year.  He cautioned that dogs of his type were not long lived and that Monty had ‘done well’.  The following year we returned and gently the vet suggested that we prepare for Monty not being with us much longer.  I was noticing that our walks were getting slower and shorter and most days now he would sleep a deep sleep much of the day.  When he was awake he was happy and well, but he slept most of the time.  It occurred to me that the vet was right and that he may just slide away.

This idea did not sit well with me and I prayed about it.  Not a prayer asking God to make it right, but a prayer that seeks a better understanding of the truth of the situation; a prayer that confirms the good and denies the wrong.  I could accept that animals come and go in our lives but I could not accept that life was a downhill slide into oblivion.  The qualities we loved about Monty: love, affection, devotion, loyalty, energy, exuberance, joy, protection, selflessness, constancy – these were spiritual qualities and as such they were immortal.  They could not be contained or curtailed by a material body.  They were independent of matter.

Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (along with the Bible) is my textbook for life and in it the author, Mary Baker Eddy, states (p246):

“Except for the error of measuring and limiting all that is good and beautiful, man would enjoy more than threescore years and ten and still maintain his vigor, freshness, and promise.  Man, governed by immortal Mind, is always beautiful and grand.  Each succeeding year unfolds wisdom, beauty, and holiness.

I thought on these ideas for a few weeks applying them to Monty.  Gradually over this time he became more wakeful and his old energy levels returned.  We were back doing our brisk five kilometer walks and still he had energy.  In fact one day my husband asked if I had been praying for Monty.  ‘If so’, he said, ‘Could you stop now – he has more energy than I can cope with.’

Monty stayed with us for nearly five more years.  His joy for life remained till the end.  Even on his last morning he watched me eagerly to see whether I was putting on my walking shoes in case there was the chance of a walk.

I learned many lessons about life from living with Monty but most importantly I learned that we can say NO to suggestions of age.

Easter – A Lesson in Spiritual Renewal   Leave a comment

New SH (2)And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. (Paul: The Bible – Galatians 5: 24)

Does erudite theology regard the crucifixion of Jesus chiefly as providing a ready pardon for all sinners who ask for it and are willing to be forgiven? Does spiritualism find Jesus’ death necessary only for the presentation, after death, of the material Jesus, as a proof that spirits can return to earth? Then we must differ from them both. (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures p24)

Jesus of Nazareth taught and demonstrated man’s oneness with the Father, and for this we owe him endless homage. His mission was both individual and collective. He did life’s work aright not only in justice to himself, but in mercy to mortals, — to show them how to do theirs, but not to do it for them nor to relieve them of a single responsibility. (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures p18)

Every pang of repentance and suffering, every effort for reform, every good thought and deed, will help us to understand Jesus’ atonement for sin and aid its efficacy; but if the sinner continues to pray and repent, sin and be sorry, he has little part in the atonement, — in the at-one-ment with God, — for he lacks the practical repentance, which reforms the heart and enables man to do the will of wisdom. Those who cannot demonstrate, at least in part, the divine Principle of the teachings and practice of our Master have no part in God. If living in disobedience to Him, we ought to feel no security, although God is good. (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures p19)

If Truth is overcoming error in your daily walk and conversation, you can finally say, “I have fought a good fight . . . I have kept the faith,” because you are a better man. This is having our part in the at-one-ment with Truth and Love. Christians do not continue to labor and pray, expecting because of another’s goodness, suffering, and triumph, that they shall reach his harmony and reward.

If the disciple is advancing spiritually, he is striving to enter in. He constantly turns away from material sense, and looks towards the imperishable things of Spirit. If honest, he will be in earnest from the start, and gain a little each day in the right direction, till at last he finishes his course with joy. (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures p21)

If all who ever partook of the sacrament had really commemorated the sufferings of Jesus and drunk of his cup, they would have revolutionized the world. If all who seek his commemoration through material symbols will take up the cross, heal the sick, cast out evils, and preach Christ, or Truth, to the poor, — the receptive thought, — they will bring in the millennium. (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures p34)

Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, can be accessed on-line at christianscience.com, can be borrowed from your local library or purchased from any Christian Science Reading Room. The Reading Room and Bookshop in Canberra is located on the corner of Macquarie and Bligh Streets, Barton.  The staff at the bookshop welcome your questions.

Reading Your Way to Good Mental Health   Leave a comment

Young Woman Reading and Studying.What would you think if you went along to a doctor and you were prescribed a self-help book instead of medication? Well, that’s not so far-fetched as you might think.

A new project initiated by the UK’s The Reading Agency called the Reading Well Books on Prescription scheme, has doctors now prescribing books to patients with mental health problems such as anger, anxiety, binge eating, depression,  obsessions and compulsions, panic attacks, phobias, self-esteem, stress and worry.

The scheme, which works within the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence  guidelines, and is backed by the Royal Colleges of GPs, Nursing and Psychiatry, the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies and the Department of Health, aims to bring reading’s healing benefits to sufferers of anxiety and depression.

According to the Reading Agency, there is growing evidence showing that self-help reading can help people with certain mental health conditions get better.”  GPs and mental health professionals can prescribe patients a visit to the library, where they show their prescription for one or more of 30 endorsed books with acknowledged cognitive behavioural therapy  benefits.

Books on Prescription has made it to New Zealand. It’s also being implemented at Boab Health Services in outback Australia’s Kimberley region. Boab says, “… the best self-help books can be highly effective … Many practitioners regularly recommend particular books to their clients or patients … The use of self-help books is known as ‘bibliotherapy’.” … a  coined term “for the therapeutic use of books in the treatment of illness or personal problems. Evidence in the UK, suggests that bibliotherapy has a therapeutic benefit for people experiencing common mental health issues.”

Books as medicine, sounds like it could be good news for many in the community. Some people have told me that being treated with drugs for mental health issues has led to other problems, such as adverse side-effects and dependency.  With that in mind, reading a self-help book could just be “what the doctor ordered”.

But help can’t be found in just any old tome.  If you want to improve your mental wellbeing, you might want to choose a book that has a proven track record. For example, it could be one that’s been around for a long time, has been read by many people around the world, and has perhaps even received testimonials regarding its practicality and effectiveness.

Another way to gauge a good self-help book is to ask if it’s one that brings inspiration, gives you a lift, encourages you to change your thinking or life-style, shows you how to be fearless and calm in difficult situations, or strengthens your mental resilience.

I can certainly testify that reading a self-help book is beneficial. Over the years I’ve referred to my two all-time favourites – the Scriptures and Science and Health, almost every day. These books have provided me with lots of practical ideas and helped me focus my thinking on life-changing spiritual ideas.  As a result, many times my exact need has been met. I’ve found uplifting, empowering concepts that have enabled me to beat anxiety or stress and lead a happier, healthier life.

Today, a growing number of people are turning to books that discuss the mind-body connection or explain the relationship between consciousness and experience.  This can be seen in the burgeoning number of books and magazines devoted to such topics. It seems that there is even a desire to explore a spiritually mental approach to mental and emotional health issues through books on meditation and prayer.

All of this interest augers well for the future of mental health. It’s quite possible that somewhere down the track, books will also be prescribed to people who suffer chronic pain or fatigue, or perhaps have relationship problems.  Stay tuned for more news on this front.  Books as medicine? I can’t think of a better prescription.

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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