Archive for the ‘spirituality and aging’ 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.

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.

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.

Monty – A Demonstration of Ageless Joy   Leave a comment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why being young at heart works. Is there a science behind it?   1 comment

shutterstock_164195771 - Copy (2)Thank you to Sarah Marinos of body+soul at the Courier-Mail, for writing an article recently on the health benefits of thinking and acting younger – “Why being young at heart works“. Amongst the myriad of ads by the pharmaceutical companies, this article was unexpectedly thought-provoking and brought to my attention the work of Dr Ellen Langer, Harvard University psychologist and scientific investigator who conducted a landmark experiment 30 years ago where she had seniors live in a secluded monastery as though it were 1959. The results were surprising. After a week of living as though they were younger men, the pensioners were more flexible, had better hearing and memory and felt stronger. And they also looked younger.

This experiment was the forerunner of the British ABC’s TV program, the Young Ones that I recommended in a previous blog post, “Could it be that we all have the power to think ourselves young again?”

Langer has studied the way our mind influences our body and appearance and is the person who coined the word ‘mindfulness’. “When people are taught to be mindful in a fashion very different from meditation, they become more creative, healthier, and happier”, she wrote.

In Langer’s book, counterclockwise:  Mindful Health and the Power of Possibility, she reminds readers that many definitive-sounding medical diagnoses are in fact best guesses. In a sense, this is a book about the limits of empirical knowledge. But as Langer sees it, the ambiguity that inevitably accompanies medical research can be profoundly liberating. If we can’t be sure that a diagnosis — or a widely accepted truism such as “memory loss is inevitable with age” — is true, we’re less likely to apply a self-limiting label to ourselves.

So what does this mean for you and me? Are these experiments miracles or is there a law in place?

I put the question another way. What if society’s current standards and expectations were the aberration and health and eternal life the reality?

The consistent findings from these experiments point to a law or science in place. I understand it to be a divine Science. Towards the end of the 19th Century the author of the first and complete book about the laws of reality, Mary Baker Eddy  wrote, “Because of human ignorance of the divine Principle, Love, the Father of all is represented as a corporeal creator; hence men recognize themselves as merely physical, and are ignorant of man as God’s image or reflection and of man’s eternal incorporeal existence.” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures)

Christian Science makes it clear that mankind’s misunderstanding of the reality of being, of what God is and of what man really is, handicaps our life experience thus far.

This article by Kay Stroud was orginially published on her blog site.  Kay is a health writer focussing on the leading edge of consciousness, spirituality and health. Contact her to learn more about it, including Christian Science, via www.health4thinkers.com.

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