Archive for the ‘Prayer’ Tag

Beating the Winter Blues   Leave a comment

DSCN0134Here in Canberra winter is now upon us. The yellow and gold trees have given way to bare branches and we have already had our first frosty mornings.

Many of us who have lived in Canberra for a while have come to love this climate and its four distinct seasons. With each there are certain expectations: the regenerating bloom of the spring heralded by the brilliance of the wattle; the long dry heat of the summer and trips to the coast; the vivid colours of the autumn and the swirling brown leaves.

The crispness of winter, the clear blue skies and trips to the snow are often accompanied by calls to be wary of colds and flu. TV commercials remind us of the available remedies and we are sometimes tempted to wonder whether we will ‘go down’ with something this year, or will we be lucky?

Nowadays there is a strong body of evidence that attests to the influence of one’s thought on health. For over 100 years now we have been aware of the placebo effect: the apparent strong positive effect of sugar pills and non-medicated treatments on patients who believed them to be remedial agents. These experiments alone must ask us to question the nature of the effect of thought on the body. To question how the quality of our consciousness and our belief systems can affect our wellbeing? There is also growing evidence to suggest that spirituality, our natural attraction to the good and the true, has a positive impact on physical resilience and recuperation.

About 150 years ago Mary Baker Eddy investigated this link between spirituality and health. Her experiments and study culminated in her textbook: Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. In it she states (p208): Mind, not matter, is causation. A material body only expresses a material and mortal mind. … You embrace your body in your thought, and you should delineate upon it thoughts of health, not of sickness.

New SH (2)She goes on to say (p392): The physical affirmation of disease should always be met with the mental negation. Whatever benefit is produced on the body, must be expressed mentally, and thought should be held fast to this ideal. If you believe in inflamed and weak nerves, you are liable to an attack from that source. … If you decide that climate or atmosphere is unhealthy, it will be so to you. Your decisions will master you, whichever direction they take.

Reverse the case. Stand porter at the door of thought. Admitting only such conclusions as you wish realized in bodily results, you will control yourself harmoniously. When the condition is present which you say induces disease, whether it be air, exercise, heredity, contagion, or accident, then perform your office as porter and shut out these unhealthy thoughts and fears. Exclude from mortal mind the offending errors; then the body cannot suffer from them. The issues of pain or pleasure must come through mind, and like a watchman forsaking his post, we admit the intruding belief, forgetting that through divine help we can forbid this entrance.

Let’s determine this winter to hold thought to the higher qualities of Truth and Love, of wholeness and harmony and turn away from contemplation of disease, and so build our spiritual immunity.

This article was contributed by Deborah Packer of Canberra.

To purchase a copy of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy click here.

Readings on the Topic: Heal the Sick   Leave a comment

$ dreamstime_4575900Heal the Sick – Readings from the Bible and the textbook of Christian Science, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy.

Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. (Matthew 10: 8)

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: Heal the Sick.

Can We Heal the Culture of Violence?   Leave a comment

$ dreamstime_6602712 - CopyThe issue of violence is prominent in our community conversations at the moment. Terrorism, drug-related violence, domestic and institutional abuse, and even road rage are insistently crying out for our attention and solutions.

Despite serious efforts over many years to prevent violence, to deal with its effects and to punish the perpetrators, there’s now general agreement that violence will continue to escalate and to propagate fear in the community until we find and treat the real causes.

Fundamental beliefs that underlie and perpetuate all kinds of violence are: that humans have an animal nature prone to competition, self-preservation and aggression; that certain brain-based dysfunctions may be the root of addiction and violence, aggravated by abuse or neglect during childhood; and that there are deeply rooted social and cultural patterns, leading to a distorted sense of manhood and womanhood, that may take generations to change.

However, there’s evidence that these beliefs may be just that …. either long-held or fairly recent beliefs that need to be revised.

Drugs and alcohol are often associated with violence. People working in the police and community services speak of how addiction and abuse reoccur from generation to generation, and there is now general realisation that special attention needs to be given to the families involved.

However, there is some progress as communities work together to fight apathy and educate each other that this cycle can indeed be broken.

A retired commanding officer in the police force shared one such approach: “…anytime I knew I was going to a call related to domestic conflict or violence I would pick up the local pastor.” Often they were able to provide a spiritual viewpoint and connection that would later solve the problem.

It is often acknowledged that recognising a man’s spiritual nature has a healing effect.

Significant psychological research studies find that spirituality is not only helpful to, but integral to mental health. This is an important point in considering individual and whole-society wellbeing.

We may need to adjust our thinking about our real nature.

Another long-held false belief will be overturned by realising that the spiritual qualities generally attributed to women – such as care for others, gentleness, forgiveness and patience – and those qualities attributed to men – such as wisdom, truthfulness, tenaciousness and strength – are innate in both men and women.

Jesus’ ability to express both the fatherhood and motherhood of the divine set the benchmark for us. And like him, we’re actually “tuned in” to hear spiritual intuitions that will prompt, direct and uplift thought, although we may choose not to listen.

Knowing that no-one can be excluded from hearing and acting on divine thoughts can help to overcome violent impulses and begin to heal the culture of violence.

A pioneer in investigating the effects of our thoughts on our health, Mary Baker Eddy, recognised this voice as the ever-appearing of “the divine message from God to men speaking to the human consciousness.” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures)

When Susannah (not her real name) moved out of home and obtained a copy of that book, she just loved the way the author described the divine power that governs the universe as Father-Mother.

Her family had suffered violence at the hand of her father for many years. To think her father could be capable of reflecting the gentle motherhood of God seemed absolutely impossible. However, she decided to stop wrestling with this idea and worked hard to try to see him as reflecting this tender divine nature; learning that he was meant to be nurturing, gentle, tender.

Susannah was listening for the divine message, which replaced the macho view of her father and other men, with this new view of men. Her thought and experiences gradually began to change.

As the weeks went by, she learned that her parents had not had a fight in months and her father was treating her mother and sister with new tenderness. Eight years on, this is still the case.

A scientific approach to thought and prayer in this way does not whitewash evil deeds; rather it exposes the mistaken beliefs and causes them to be discarded.

Further changes in thinking about her own spiritual nature, meant that Susannah no longer saw herself or her mother as survivors of mental, verbal or physical intimidation, but as well-adjusted and balanced individuals.

She had no lingering emotional scars, but had learned truly to love and see the undamageable good in herself and her mother.

As Australian of the Year and domestic violence survivor, Rosie Batty, advocates, Susannah truly took responsibility for her own life, bringing vital change to those around her in the process.

Such approaches hint at the possibilities for healing the culture of violence in ourselves and in the community.

This article was contributed by Kay Stroud, of Queensland.  Kay writes on the connection between spirituality and health.  This article has been published on 40 APN news sites, including: Sunshine Coast Daily, Toowoomba Chronicle, Lismore Northern Star, Rockhampton Morning Bulletin, Mackay Daily Mercury,Tweed Daily News, Bundaberg News Mail, Coffs Coast Advocate, Grafton Daily Examiner,Gladstone Observer, Fraser Coast Chronicle, Gympie Times, Caboolture News, Stanthorpe Border Post

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.

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.

Celebrate a lasting gift that’s good for your health   Leave a comment

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“Nothing lasts forever”, so the saying goes. But often we wish people, places, or customs would stay the same. We like the familiar. It’s reassuring. Change can be upsetting. Yet when life-changes occur – especially at Christmas, it’s possible to celebrate a lasting gift that’s good for your health.

 

Change happens

Over the course of my life I’ve seen many changes – including Christmas celebrations. As a child, I’d wake to find gifts mysteriously left on my bed. My family enjoyed a traditional English roast dinner, ate hot plum pudding and sang songs about snow and sleigh-rides – even on a scorching summer’s day.

Years later, the lovingly-wrapped presents and delicious food took a back seat, as the ever-growing extended family sought to maintain contact and spend time together. Today, cultural diversity has altered the landscape of Christmas in Australia, and a more relaxed life-style has led to barbecues and family celebrations at the beach.

 

TIP:

  • To enjoy life, embrace change as it comes.
  • If loved family traditions change, or the way special events such as Christmas are celebrated, don’t be sad. Stay buoyant. Be happy.
  • Don’t focus on greeting cards, gifts or a special meal. These outward symbols come and go. It’s the  heartfelt love and caring you give to, and receive from, others that lasts.
  • Each day unwrap the gift of hopefulness, harmony and peace of mind. This leads to experiencing more good things in your life – including better health.

Changes at home

On the home-front, special occasions like Christmas, can be tinged with sadness, regret and loneliness. Loved ones may have either passed-on, or moved to places far away. These changes may try to cast a shadow over our celebrations and happy home.

TIP:

  • To overcome the stress of change on the home-scene, think about the beautiful qualities that a home represents – happiness, harmony, love, caring, security and shelter. These spiritual mind-qualities are lasting. Best of all, like the humble snail, take your sense of home with you wherever you go.
  • “Home is the dearest spot on earth, and it should be the centre, though not the boundary, of the affections.” Science and Health p. 58, Mary Baker Eddy.

Unwrap a lasting gift – hope, health, harmony

Exchanging gifts continues to be important in many cultures and faith traditions. One gift that has been remembered for centuries and celebrated every December, is the birth of Christ Jesus.  For many people, his advent unwrapped the lasting gift of hope, health, harmony and the love of a divine Father that constantly nurtures and companions everyone.

TIP:

  • Consider reading the much loved Christmas nativity story – Bible, Luke, Chapter 2. Let it comfort, inspire, encourage and strengthen you with its enduring message of hope for peace and goodwill in homes and among nations.
  • Celebrate the lasting gift of hope, health and harmony all year round. In the face of life-changes, it’s good for your health.

This article, Celebrate a lasting gift that’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.

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