Archive for the ‘spiritual identity’ Category

Whole-souled and unstoppable   Leave a comment

 

shallow focus photography of a woman in green top wearing white coat

There is no glass ceiling that can hold us back from expressing our true identity

 

Have you felt victimized for being a woman in your work place? This contributor is telling how she faced discrimination in her work place by re-shaping her own concept of who she really is and understanding the divine unstoppable laws of integrity, fairness, and equality.

Mary Baker Eddy’s statement in 1883 An article titled “Taking Offense” in Mary Baker Eddy’s Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896 includes this statement: “To punish ourselves for others’ faults, is superlative folly. The mental arrow shot from another’s bow is practically harmless, unless our own thought barbs it.” The same article concludes, “He who can wilfully attempt to injure another, is an object of pity rather than of resentment; while it is a question in my mind, whether there is enough of a flatterer, a fool, or a liar, to offend a whole-souled woman” (pp. 223–224).

 

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.

 

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

 

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.

Choosing Life   Leave a comment

shutterstock_164195771 - Copy (2)For some of us it’s a big jump to conceptualize that changes we want to make don’t start “out there” but in our own thought.  This is clear to me as I listen to my diverse range of friends, many of them of retiree age, over catch-up coffees and lunches.

All of my friends are beautiful people but there are marked differences in their attitudes towards ageing, and in particular how they talk about themselves.  For some the state of their body is front and centre of their thinking and their conversation is peppered with comments such as: “Oh well, what can you expect at our age.”

While other friends never mention health or age.  They are full of the adventure of life – of the joys of retirement or the fulfilment and challenges of a long working career.  Listening to these friends it’s clear they are less impressed with how their body is doing and more engaged with expressing the continuity of activity, progress, growth, energy, renewal, vigour, buoyancy.

These qualities start in our thought, and could be described as coming from a universal Mind.  Mary Baker Eddy, one of my favourite authors on ageing, wrote in her primary text, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: You embrace your body in your thought, and you should delineate upon it thoughts of health, not of sickness (p208).

She goes on to say:  Man is more than a material form with a mind inside, which must escape from its environments in order to be immortal. Man reflects infinity, and this reflection is the true idea of God.

God expresses in man the infinite idea forever developing itself, broadening and rising higher and higher from a boundless basis (p258).

Her premise is that our life reflects our thinking. In Science and Health again she writes: Your decisions will master you, whichever direction they take. … Stand porter at the door of thought. Admitting only such conclusions as you wish realized in bodily results, you will control yourself harmoniously (p392).

Choices are important in shaping our experience and so my personal challenge moment by moment is to choose these qualities of life, and then look for them in experience.  It certainly makes for livelier catch-up coffees with friends!

This article was submitted by Deborah Packer of Canberra.

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.

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.

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