Archive for the ‘health and spirituality’ Tag

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.

Ben’s Story   Leave a comment

shutterstock_123957178Sometimes life throws up situations where you have to stick to what you understand to be true, even if the physical evidence is saying something else.  I suppose that’s a bit like Copernicus, when he was starting to realize that the earth rotated around the sun, and not what was commonly thought, he had to use his scientific understanding and not the popular opinion or even his physical senses.

I’ve had experiences, simpler, humbler ones, where I’ve had to stick to a spiritual understanding of what was going on and not just accept the outward sense of things.  One of these times was when my dog, Ben, was hit by a car.

Ben had suddenly spotted by husband across the road and run straight out into the path of a car.  The car, a huge four-wheel drive, had hit him, spearing him into the ground, the full force being taken by his head.  And although there were only a few external abrasions, it was obvious something serious had happened to his skull. We took him home and I began to pray immediately.

Now my younger daughter was, at that stage, growing up and she was making her own mind up about things, and we’ve always respected our girls’ rights to think differently to us.  And she felt very strongly that we should take him to the vet.  She was actually shouting at me, and it was not easy, but I over rode her objections, and I did this for several reasons.  I had more faith in God than in man.  I had seen so many healings in my life, particularly of animals, that I had absolute confidence that the dog could be healed, but also I actually did not think that he would survive through any other means.  So I just went to God for help.

I prayed through the night to know only what God would know about the situation, to know that His divine care was ever present and all powerful, that divine Love did not cause this accident so it had no divine authority, that His almighty care surrounded us and governed the scene with harmony.  And as the day dawned, it suddenly became clear that I absolutely believed, and understood, God’s unwavering, unchanging love for all of His creation; that the Ben’s life was safe because he had always been in God’s care, and I knew it and I believed it and understood it more than what the physical senses were telling me.

Shortly after, my daughter came in to check on him and he leapt straight up into her arms perfectly well and happy, with all symptoms and pain completely gone.  And within two days even all evidence of the abrasions was gone.  But, as importantly, my daughter received the evidence that she needed as well.

This article was submitted by Beth Packer, a Christian Science healer from the South Coast of NSW, Australia.

A Normal Pregnancy   Leave a comment

10999095_10203698134286147_529720653179037855_n[1]We have recently had a beautiful baby girl. Our whole pregnancy and birth was summed up by one of the midwives as being ‘refreshingly normal’; nothing unexpected, nothing out of the ordinary, nothing unpredicted just easy and simple and normal.

I was bought up in Christian Science. It is normal for me to pray whenever I feel scared, hurt or whelmed by a situation and having a baby definitely fell into the overwhelming category. I have never been maternal and have never really thought seriously about being a parent, but my husband was ready and if there was ever anyone I wanted to have a baby with, it’s him. So I started praying to know that Life isn’t a product of mortal interaction. Life is a synonym of God. Life is from God and as such I don’t have the power to do a bad job of parenting.

I can’t say I was completely comfortable yet with the idea of being parental, but the terror the idea initially filled me with had receded. When we found out we were pregnant the last residual fears left me. I’m deeply fortunate that my mum is a Christian Science Practitioner. Through prayer she helped shield me from all the insidious fears that try and bombard pregnant women; she reminded me constantly that my little baby was a reflection of God, a perfectly developed, complete reflection of Life and Love. I could suffer no ill effects from such a blessing – and the pregnancy was a blessing. All symptoms of morning sickness ceased almost as soon as they started, I didn’t feel exhausted, I wasn’t moody or emotional; at all my checkups the midwives found me and my baby to be healthy and growing at the perfect rate. I was fit enough to keep working, right up until the office closed for Christmas (I was due in early January), and my hair was extra shiny!

I was often told by friends how lucky I’d been with my pregnancy. It’s not lucky, it’s normal. It is normal to be happy, to be healthy, it’s normal to be blessed every day by God’s Love.

By the time I was 8 months pregnant my fears of being a bad mother, of being unable to raise my child well had dissipated. God is Father Mother, not me and my husband. The only fears that remained were my waters breaking in the supermarket and the pain of labour (and having to do it with no pants on). So I kept praying about these too. I found at the root of these seemingly superficial fears I was afraid of losing my dignity; that I would be overwhelmed by the physical process of giving birth. I reasoned that if my baby was a perfect reflection of God’s Love and Life, then so was I. After caring for me so long God would not abandon me at the final hurdle.

Labour was short, uncomplicated and I did not forgot my please and thank-yous once! My waters broke at the hospital (not at the supermarket) and I kept my pants on right until the end, and then I didn’t really care. Our little girl is perfect.

I’ve kept praying about what is normal since we came home too.  Normal is peaceful, harmonious, and joyous. It is not distress, sleepless nights, or the baby blues. In those first few days where doctors and nurses tell you to expect exhaustion, unsettledness and hormonal tidal waves, I prayed fiercely, I would not accept these predictions of disharmony.  The first few nights we were home I read the Mothers Evening Prayer by Mary Baker Eddy (from the Christian Science Hymnal 207), the second verse resonated strongly:

Love is our refuge; only with mine eye / Can I behold the snare, the pit, the fall: / His habitation high is here, and nigh, / His arm encircles me, and mine and all.”

I read this over and over until I felt calm, and the fear of having a newborn subsided.

Our child has, from the start, been a good sleeper. Neither my husband nor I have suffered sleepless nights and she is a happy, tolerant, calm, peaceful baby. None of the scary predictions have lingered, because divine Love is omnipotent, a Father Mother’s Love could never allow their child to suffer distress or pain, and hasn’t.

Our home is a happy one, and we are so grateful for having Jacqueline come into it.

This article was shared by Alex Tabor who lives in Tasmania, Australia.

Understanding Easter is Significant to our Health!   Leave a comment

@Glowimages 171110.Feeling privileged to have time to amble through the cemetery on one of those picture perfect mornings recently, I became intrigued with the headstones, the groupings of graves by religion or none, and the lawn cemetery that has gained in popularity recently.

In the early days people believed that our wealth needed to be displayed on tombstones or in pyramids, and believed that a man-like god would decide where we fitted into a matter-based heaven.

Growing numbers of thinkers have a much better understanding of our relation to the divine these days …. that we are spiritual beings, all equal(-ly loved) and unfettered by religious differences. That 55% of people now have no fear to cremate speaks volumes about how we view ourselves as not just a material organism, but (for many) as very much a spiritual, eternal being.

Consider Easter and Jesus’ resurrection from the dead after his crucifixion. This event in history is a beacon of hope that we need not fear the change called death and that there really is such a thing as life after death … maybe even life instead of death.

A 19th century thought-leader and researcher into how our thoughts affect our health, Mary Baker Eddy, stated in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, “The universal belief in death is of no advantage.” She suggests that our expectation about our ultimate future has a very real impact on what’s happening here and now in terms of both mind and body.

The evidence today is adding weight to her stance that our beliefs about death influence our health. Fear of the future can affect everything from blood pressure, to heart rate, to mental stability. By some estimates, the stress underlying these conditions accounts for more than 60% of all doctor visits.

Jesus said and significantly demonstrated that it was love and forgiveness that brought peace, health and joy in societies and individuals, and that led to change for the better, both here and hereafter. He also showed us the way to think and act, and he demonstrated the illusory nature of death.

If considering the possibilities of eternal life challenges your common assumptions about Easter’s significance, the potential payoff of better mental and physical health will be profound and enduring.

This article was shared by Kay Stroud who writes about consciousness, health and spirituality and practices Christian Science healing.  Her blog can be found at www.health4thinkers.com.

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

Age Doesn’t Necessitate Decline   Leave a comment

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We grow in wisdom and understanding of ourselves and the world around us as we age, and why should this be under-valued?  Wouldn’t the world benefit from our knowledge? So why not share it?  By opening your thought to others, they will see and be drawn to you and the qualities you express.

Should we accept that we must slow down as we get older?  There is a woman who published her first book in her 50s and went on to publish others, along with three magazines, and a newspaper that she started in he 80s.  Her name was Mary Bake Eddy, and the first sentence in her first book is “To those leaning on the sustaining infinite, today is big with blessings.” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures).  Eddy showed that qualities such as kindness, intelligence, practicality and joy come from the “sustaining infinite” and so are timeless and available whatever your age.

To realize how active you truly are, and how vitally active your contribution to the world is, think about the qualities and unique gifts you have; and search for ways of sharing these with others.  By more actively expressing these qualities at home, with family, or at work, you are leaning on the “sustaining infinite” and will see more harmony in the workplace and home, and the stimulation this brings to try new ideas.

The qualities we share by “leaning on the sustaining infinite” do not slow down, or diminish; they are ever-present and always active.  Because they never slow down, how can you?  The ever-active thought of kindness continually seeks ways to improve its environment, and this flows out to embrace the rest of the world.

 

This article was submitted by Jane Keogh.  Jane writes on the connection between consciousness, spirituality and health.

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.

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