Archive for the ‘Spirituality’ Category

The Power of One   Leave a comment

Photo by zydeaosika

As I entered the subway station, I noticed a man begging for money. About 15 minutes before, it had occurred to me to use my walk time to pray instead of just mulling over my workday. Right away I had recalled this from the Bible: “God created man in his own image” (Genesis 1:27). So I’d been pondering this idea as I walked, thinking deeply about this spiritual pronouncement of the divine nature of each individual (man). The holiness of everyone grew palpable to me in an undeniable way—and I rejoiced in it. 

When I reached the bottom of the station stairs, I heard someone calling out, and when I looked up, there was the man I’d seen, coming toward me and loudly apologizing because he had spoken “terrible words” to me. Though I had not heard those words, I accepted his apology, and we talked for a time, including about God, before we said goodbye.

On the rest of my commute home, I thought about what had happened. Why had I not heard those words? And why had the man made such a point of apologizing? It occurred to me that the spirit of divine Truth and Love that had been filling my thought at that moment didn’t leave room for anything else, the way the presence of light makes darkness impossible. And it had eliminated both an offense and an offender. In a moment, this man and I had experienced our brother-and-sisterhood as fact—God as our source and each of us as God’s likeness—and were changed. 

This gave me my first real taste of the power of divine consciousness, and made me glimpse the capacity each of us has, as the reflection of divine, limitless Mind, to affect collective human experience for the better. 

Thought is the essence of our lives. And when thought is allied with divine Spirit, God, we partake of that Spirit, the source of all good, and become a vehicle for it. We also find we cannot behold ourselves spiritually without doing the same for our neighbor, because in the universality of infinite Mind, everyone is the spiritual idea, the child, of that one Mind, God.

Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science and founder of this magazine, described just how significant this spiritual-mindedness can be in the world: “Is not a man metaphysically and mathematically number one, a unit, and therefore whole number, governed and protected by his divine Principle, God? You have simply to preserve a scientific, positive sense of unity with your divine source, and daily demonstrate this. Then you will find that one is as important a factor as duodecillions in being and doing right, and thus demonstrating deific Principle” (Pulpit and Press, p. 4).

A duodecillion is a gargantuan number. Depending on where you live, it’s the number one followed by either 39 or 72 zeros. (By comparison, a trillion includes only 12 zeros.) Such ability, authority, or influence is inconceivable from a human standpoint, regardless of how much wealth or what influence one person might attain. But as a daughter or son of God, as the expression of infinite Love and Truth, our reach is as vast as our understanding of God.

When we grasp even a little of our permanent oneness with God, we naturally feel and exhibit more of God—more love, integrity, purity, intelligence, peace. 

In this time of pandemic, political upheaval, social self-examination, and financial uncertainty, “one” can seem not only the loneliest number, to echo an old song, but also, the least important. But this is only what we perceive from a material standpoint. Through divine Science, each of us can make a tremendous difference on the side of right and good. Every time we “preserve a scientific, positive sense of unity with [our] divine source, and daily demonstrate this,” we are weighing in on the side of progress, healing, and justice.

To read the entire article by Ethel A. Baker click here

Silencing Chronic Pain   1 comment

shutterstock_69214975The four-hourly doses of morphine were such a welcome relief to the intense pain I was experiencing following major surgery.  What could possibly make me give them up?

I found there was something that could persuade me to do so.  And that’s why, I want to share my experience with sufferers of chronic pain.

In Australia, one in five people live with chronic pain, including adolescents and children.  This prevalence rises to one in three people over the age of 65.  Chronic pain is linked to depression and suicide and is Australia’s third most costly health condition.

To manage it, a range of treatments such physio and physical therapy, medical acupuncture, thinking strategies, lifestyle changes, nutrition and traditional prescription opioids, are employed.

Despite this, pain is often long-lasting and continues for years with no foreseeable end.

However, I’ve joined a groundswell of people that believe it’s time to do more than simply manage pain.  We are convinced it can be reduced, and even healed.

According to a 2011 report, “one reason pain is so hard to treat is that it isn’t just physical.”  Our thinking can actually have an impact on the amount of pain we feel.

The power of our expectations is illustrated in a series of trials into the relationship between pain and the placebo effect.  Hundreds of patients treating irritable bowel syndrome, migraine and back pain experienced similar or better results from placebos than from strong pain killers.

While it’s agreed that placebos are not a universal panacea, placebo research leads us to think about how much influence thought actually has on our health.

Reasoning from a more spiritual perspective, author Mary Baker Eddy, reached a similar conclusion, explaining that pain is always a mental image or state.

“… the human mind is all that can produce pain,” she wrote in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.

But can pain really be relieved just by thinking differently?

Yes, but in my experience I have found that it needs more than just positive thinking to free us from pain.

So, back to my stay in hospital.  In my late-teens I was “on fire” with enthusiasm about a couple of unique books which I had recently revisited.  They answered so many of the questions I had about why we are here and whether what our senses perceive is all there is to existence.

The Bible, so comforting to so many people, didn’t seem all that relevant to me until I started reading Science and Health, which brings out its spiritual meaning and explains how and why not only Jesus, but also his early disciples and many of the Old Testament prophets, were able to heal all kinds of physical needs.

I learned that there was a spiritual science in place based on a divine consciousness of being.

My studies had shown the importance of addressing the spiritual need as an aid to recovery, a standpoint now supported by medical research.

I started reading the thought-changing book again right there in hospital, and called a Christian Science practitioner to pray with me by helping me to understand more consistently my real, spiritual nature.

I can still remember the feeling of love and wholeness that engulfed me soon after.  No more drugs were needed, and worrying digestive difficulties painlessly dissipated that day.

On this basis, many have been healed of acute and chronic pain, and demonstrated that such pain need not last forever.  Peace and health are a present possibility for those willing to dig deeper into the understanding of their spiritual identity.

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

The Easter Message   Leave a comment

Dramatic sky scenery with a mountain cross and a thinking person. A symbol of heavy inner struggles. Where to go? What do you say?You probably know this story: A few discouraged followers of a beloved rabbi went to his tomb at first light to tend to his remains and discovered the stone at the entrance rolled away. Instead of his body, they found two angels, who, according to the Biblical account of St. Luke, said to them, “Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen:”

Yes, the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection is familiar to most of us. What is not so well known is that the Easter story predates Christianity and has appeared in many cultures in many forms throughout history. (Even the name “Easter”, which derives from the name of a dawn goddess, Eastre, and the vernal festival celebrated in her honour, is a relic pointing to its primordial roots.) What this tells us is that the Easter message resonates deeply in the human consciousness, and it speaks to us now as it has for millennia—of light dispelling darkness, of despair turned to hope, and ultimately of life overcoming death.

Reflecting on the symbolic meaning of this story, Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer and founder of Christian Science, wrote, “My angels are exalted thoughts, appearing at the door of some sepulchre, in which human belief has buried its fondest earthly hopes. With white fingers they point upward to a new and glorified trust, to higher ideals of life and its joys.” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 299).

Perhaps this Easter we should ask ourselves, what hope have we buried that needs resurrecting. Is it a relationship we have given up on? A friendship? A marriage? Or is it something we believe beyond our reach? A better education? A meaningful job? A home? And what sort of stone must be moved out of the way? Weariness? Pride? Fear? Something outside our own thinking?

Easter reminds us that countless generations have struggled with life’s questions before us and have found comfort in its message. The wisdom they have gleaned is that we won’t find anything by fixating on the tomb. “Why seek ye the living among the dead?” But by gaining a deeper sense of and trust in life—by looking upwards to its higher ideals and, most of all, to its joys—we can find renewal.

This article was contributed by GG of Canberra.

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.

Prayer for the Neighbour’s Dogs Brings a Harmonious Solution   Leave a comment

$ dreamstime_6562165About three years ago a young mum moved into the house next door to us. She had a couple of children, a cat and a dog. Soon her friend moved in too and he brought with him a tiny pup. These were both outside dogs but they had provided no shelter for them. They lived largely without human interaction in the bare backyard and it was the middle of a fierce and wet Canberra winter. In the mornings this tiny short-haired puppy could be seen sleeping curled and shivering in the long frosty grass. During the blustery winter days he cried and cried. When it rained he tried to stand under the larger dog for shelter and together they looked soaked and miserable.

I found this very difficult to witness day after day and I became incensed with indignation.

I succumbed to the error of believing that evil existed – in the form of my neighbours and that there were places where Love – another name for God – did not exist. If I believed that the neighbours were cruel and unloving then I was believing that God wasn’t all. I had to choose which idea I believed.

But, I didn’t want to let go of that indignation – I found it very difficult. But Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer and founder of Christian Science, tells us in her textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures:

Rise in the strength of Spirit to resist all that is unlike good (p393).

It was Spirit, God, who gave me the strength to resist this faulty thinking. I knew that there was no place where God was not. The Bible tells us that man is made in the image and likeness of God … of Love. The real man could not be unloving. So I held to this truth about man and acknowledged God’s love for all His creation. This dissolved the indignation. Within a day of this turn around in thinking the dogs were being invited inside and for the rest of the winter they were given shelter and companionship.

I have learned never to underestimate the power of practical applied scientific prayer!

This post was submitted by Deborah Packer of Canberra, Australia.

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?

Make a Game-Changing New Year’s Resolution   Leave a comment

 

FireworksWhile some of us are still dealing with the influx of visitors, festivities and sun-soaked holidays, in the back of our minds is the niggling thought that 2015 has already begun and now is the time to make our New Year’s resolutions, before it’s too late.

Some are choosing to eat healthier and exercise more. That certainly can make us feel better.

Two other resolutions that go hand-in-hand will not only increase your health but be game-changers in your life: always opt for the positive viewpoint over the negative and choose to be kinder to others.

A friend related how his acquaintance was in hospital recently, suffering from a life-threatening illness.

Things were looking pretty grim and it seemed that he was hanging on by a thread. Then his heart stopped and he ceased breathing.

At that moment, the medical staff on duty in that area of the hospital noticed that he was passing on and began to congregate around his bed …. not rushing to him with defibrillator or drip, but unexpectedly telling jokes, laughing and talking loudly and animatedly about everyday things.

They continued by his bedside including everyone in the ward in the jovial conversation until he began to regain consciousness. The man made a full recovery.

What happened? Did the nurses and doctors know that their confident and caring presence was more effective than apparatus or medication? Yes.

Something similar is at play when a teacher disregards the negative ‘label’ attached to the child and responds with love and recognition of that child’s higher nature and abilities, bringing a turnaround in attitude at school.

Or when a brick wall tumbles down between two people who haven’t spoken to each other for years as one reaches out with forgiveness.

The reasons for such changes for the better spring from (1) choosing a positive, solution-based approach, and (2) trusting our instinct to be warm and caring, despite a temptation to take an impersonal, defeatist or hard-line approach.

Lissa Rankin MD, sought-after TEDx presenter and one of the keynote speakers at the Byron Bay Uplift Festival  a few weeks ago, urges us to strip back everything that isn’t really us that we’ve learned in the world of hard knocks, to find that inner pilot light or divine spark of love within.

Research results from studies on cancer recovery and remission support her claim to the beneficial effects of this practice.

Rankin also cites conclusive evidence that an essential part of any successful treatment is engaging a health practitioner who is reassuring, gentle and kind, and treats patients with compassion.

Did Jesus mean in his well-known parable, that the warmth and care that the Good Samaritan showed had as much to do with the traveller’s recovery (who was robbed and beaten by thieves) as the bandages, oil and wine provided?

Mary Baker Eddy believed so and based her scientific, healing method on this premise. An important researcher into how consciousness affects health, she discovered in her investigations and successful treatments through prayer that…

“Whatever holds human thought in line with unselfed love, receives directly the divine power” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures)

Forgetting ourselves and putting others first really FEELS divine and invariably makes us glow with happiness.

I hope your 2015 takes wings. Seems it’s sure to do so if you choose to take this two-pronged approach to a happier, healthier year ahead – adopting a positive, solution-based viewpoint, and actively and warmly caring for yourself and others.

This article by Kay Stroud was published on 32 APN news sites, including these dailies:  Rockhampton Morning Bulletin, Sunshine Coast Daily, Bundaberg News Mail, Tweed Daily News, Toowoomba Chronicle, Mackay Daily Mercury, Fraser Coast Chronicle, Coffs Coast Advocate, Clarence Valley Examiner, Lismore Northern Star, Gladstone Observer, Gympie Times, Ipswich Queensland Times, Warwick Daily News

Kay 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.

Memory and Good Mental Health   1 comment

shutterstock_170530703Memory is an important faculty for coping with daily life and an essential ingredient for maintaining good mental health. Being able to retain and recall information, ideas, or instructions, is essential in caring for one’s self, completing jobs at home, or undertaking tasks at work. The notion that this capability is diminishing, or that it could be lost completely, can produce debilitating anxiety or extreme fear.

So concerning is this issue for mature aged people, that even small memory lapses, such as not remembering a person’s name, are worrying. They’re concerned that perhaps they’ve inherited a poor memory, that the ability to recall information is diminishing with age, or that it is being lost entirely through disease.

Since thought and experience are closely connected, it follows that if someone believes that memory is threatened by any or all of these scenarios, then the fear of losing it appears understandable. But no one has to fear losing their thinking capacity—or any other capacity, for that matter.

From a physiological standpoint, memory is believed to reside in a fleshly brain that may or may not be healthy; that matter is the source or manager of intelligence because it supposedly thinks, and remembers. But what if memory was actually spiritual, ageless, and always intact? What if a person was totally exempt from theories that predict the inevitable decline of the body and subsequent loss of mental capacity? What if it was possible to overcome the fear of not having instant recall, and even to improve one’s mental capacity? Is this something that’s achievable?

Mary Baker Eddy, a great thinker, author, and religious leader who lived to her nineties, thought so. She writes in her book, Science and Health, “If delusion says, ‘I have lost my memory,’ contradict it. No faculty of Mind is lost. In Science, all being is eternal, spiritual, perfect, harmonious in every action. Let the perfect model be present in your thoughts instead of its demoralized opposite. This spiritualization of thought lets in the light, and brings the divine Mind, Life not death, into your consciousness.” p.407

How reassuring to be told, that no matter what your age, the capacity to retain needed knowledge is always present. There’s no need to be afraid.  Not remembering where one put the car keys, does not have to indicate aging, or the presence of disease!

The source of intelligence and wisdom is from divine Mind.  The ability to think, is in, and of, Spirit. Memory, that is, the facility to recollect information, is thus a spiritually mental faculty. That capacity is not something that’s here today, and gone tomorrow. The divine Mind that created each person to be intelligent, to reason, think, and remember, also keeps each person’s thinking intact. Thus ideas, along with instant recall, are permanent in everyone.

I discovered this several years ago when I was employed to speak at various public venues, as well as on radio and television programs. There was a lot of material to remember for these presentations. Fear of forgetting crept in. I addressed the dread of short-term or long-term memory loss, from a spiritual standpoint.  I gave up the notion that remembering is associated with a material brain, and affirmed that memory is a permanent spiritual faculty.  When the fear of not retaining information was removed, I spoke freely and recalled ideas and information readily.

Thinking of one’s self in spiritual terms, means age and decline are no longer a threat to memory or continued good mental health.  Right now it’s possible to stop being afraid of forgetting. Anyone can utilize this spiritual approach.  They can affirm, accept, believe in, and expect to have excellent memory – always.

This article, Memory and Good Mental Health, 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.

Mentally Soar! It’s good for your health   Leave a comment

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Feeling down-in the-dumps is not uncommon. But when dejection strikes, it’s time to fire-up your “thought-burners”, experience that mental lift-off which allows your spirits to rise, and mentally soar above despondency. Such action is good for your health.

 

Let your thought rise.

Four colorful hot air balloons hovered over the Melbourne Cricket Ground.  From my 20th floor room, I watched them soar upward and away with effortless ease. This reminded me how to rise out of gloom when our spirits nose-dive.

 

 

TIP:

  • Take on board the thought-soaring fuels of hope and gratitude.
  • Ignite the spark of hope that exists in thinking to help you rise above negative feelings.
  • Fire-up hopefulness and be confident, optimistic, and expectant of good.
  • Accelerate your emotional lift-off by allowing gratitude to warm-up your heart and mind.
  • Be grateful for the good times you’ve had, and for those ahead. Gratitude prepares you to receive further good in your life.

 Believe you can soar.

American singer R Kelly says in his Grammy-award winning song “I believe I Can Fly” that with belief, everyone can soar.

TIP:

  • Let your spirits soar with the mental energy of firm belief.
  • Be confident that “All things are possible to him who believes.”  (The Scriptures – Mark 9:23)
  • Believe that if others can be happy, then you can too.

Elevate thinking.

One morning, two men went fishing in a rowboat. By afternoon, they were surrounded by thick fog and couldn’t see land. As they drifted out to sea, one man decided to stand up. Instantly his head rose above the low-level fog. From his elevated position he saw the shoreline. They rowed to safety.

TIP:

  • Make the effort to elevate thinking. Don’t stay resigned to negative feelings. Stand up to them.
  • Let your thought soar effortlessly above the fog of gloomy thinking.
  • Raise your spirits. Expect to “Rise in the strength of Spirit to resist all that is unlike good.”  (Science and Health. Mary Baker Eddy.)

This article, Mentally Soar! It’s Good For Your Health, 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.

Fearless Living is Healthy Living   1 comment

$ dreamstime_127492Eliminating fear is good for your health say experts.

Mind-Body Interventions such as patient support groups, prayer, spiritual healing and a state of calmness produced through meditation, can all help reduce bodily stress.

Fear is like luggage you carry around with you. It comes in all shapes and sizes. Some fears you can put down and walk away from. Others seem to be firmly attached to you. You know the kind I’m talking about. It can be a fear of going to the dentist, speaking in public, personal safety, not being able to pay the bills, fear of getting sick, and yes, even a fear of dying.

You often know when you feel nervous or afraid, through certain bodily sensations.  For example, you get butterflies in the stomach, sweaty palms, dry mouth, shortness of breath, or rapid heartbeats. On such occasions, fear itself seems to be quite tangible, even physically concrete.

While fear appears to be expressed in a bodily way, it actually starts in thought. This may appear obvious, but it’s a point that often gets overlooked when we’re caught up in an anxious moment, or feeling ill. Being aware of this mind-body connection, provides a starting point for working beyond fear. It leads to finding a pathway for resolving a fearful situation, and to achieving better health.

One way to achieve fearless living, is to practice calm thinking whenever those internal alarm bells are sounding. According to Herbert Benson, M.D. Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and founder of the Mind Body Medical Institute, this can be accomplished by “prescribing meditation – not just medication”.  As the author or co-author of more than 170 scientific publications and seven books, Benson encourages a state of calmness through meditation as a means of reducing the bodily stress which is often engendered by fear.

While there are various ways to meditate, one method that many people have found to be effective involves spiritual thinking, or prayer.  Thoughts of divine protection, as I’ve discovered, can help dissolve fearful concerns about health and personal wellbeing. This can calm thought, prevent fear from governing the body, and correct health problems engendered by fear. And why not? Evidence of the effect of spiritual thinking on the body are not new. One pioneer and writer on health and spirituality, Mary Baker Eddy,  documented them during the last century.

Today modern health campaigner Deepak Chopra, MD, is exploring paths beyond western medicine and surgery. Although a board-certified endocrinologist, he believes that “The experiences of joy, compassion, and meditative quiescence (calmness) could be powerful tools to restore homeostasis (a state of equilibrium) and strengthen our self-repair mechanisms.”

Chopra is not alone in his views. In August 2012, I attended the Australasian Integrative Medicine Association conference in Melbourne. Doctors, nurses and other health care professionals who were present, discussed ways an integrative medicine practice could help patients achieve “optimal health and healing.” This included making use of “all appropriate therapeutic approaches, health care professionals and disciplines”, as well as “Mind-Body Interventions such as patient support groups, meditation, prayer, spiritual healing, …”

Those in the medical fraternity who seek the healing of fear and of fear-related illness through complementary practices, are to be commended. As Chopra says, “The mystery of healing remains unsolved. If we combine wisdom and science, tradition and research, mind and body, there is every hope that the mystery will reveal its secrets more and more fully.”  Such unbiased inquiry as he proposes, could lead us to understand how to live a fear-free, healthy life and to the role that spiritual thinking can play in the healing that follows.

This article, Fearless Living is Healthy Living, 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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