Tag: Christian Science

Effective Path to Natural Healing


Rich Evans, former Committee on Publication for Arizona

Why are so many people reaching out for more natural forms of healing today?

For instance, a young mother recently expressed her delight in having her second child born naturally, instead of by cesarean delivery, experienced in her first childbirth. A close acquaintance is keen on natural oils, herbs, and supplements to augment her family’s health. A naturopath friend diligently seeks to cure his patients by re­balancing the normal physical elements found in the human body, in order to exclude more invasive measures. The Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona strives to discover complementary or alternative means to standard medical approaches, broadening the possibilities for healing.

Perhaps these are all evidences of seekers wanting something better than to be classified as merely a chemical compound, and to work from the premise that each individual is a whole person, and therefore responsible for their own health.

Such an expansive aspiration can attract the criticism of those at ease with the more conventional model of healthcare.

Natural healing, for example, is described, in part, by Wikipedia as pseudoscience. Naturopaths and others in this field, devoting their life to natural healing modalities, understandably don’t take well to the “pseudo” prefix, synonymous with “fake, false, feigned.” Who would? This narrow point of view, perhaps, stems from the habit of considering health as just a limited, matter­based experience without more.

This “more” is not just alternative matter ­ such as oils, herbs, and supplements ­ but a different idea of substance itself. I’ve found that the idea of what’s “natural” is truly expanded when we cease tying it to matter as the “must have” cause and effect. By definition, matter is a limitation because it excludes all that is spiritual. The magnificence and universality of divine Love’s impulse to all mankind is missing — an un-healing limit to place on one’s health.

Ancient and current examples of natural, spiritual healing by divine Love exist. The master Christian, Jesus, healed the servant of a Roman Centurion in response to the soldier’s confidence such healing could transpire without physical intervention and with no diagnosis of matter (Matt. 8:5-­13).

A more recent healing is one of my own. I was freed from a blistered eye, which had become blurry and painful. The situation was alarming. But with persistent prayer to understand the presence of this universal healing Love, and how it is naturally accessible to all ­ as it was to Jesus, to the Centurion, and to many others ­ the condition on my eye cleared. I was healed.

After a decade, there has been no remnant of that experience – no lingering worry of a recurrence. Where did I get my confidence in this divine Science (capitalized to express this God­-based healing system)? It grew from my study of such statements as this: “The physical healing of Christian Science results now, as in Jesus’ time, from the operation of divine Principle [a term for God], before which sin and disease lose their reality in human consciousness and disappear as naturally and as necessarily as darkness gives place to light and sin to reformation. Now, as then, these mighty works are not supernatural, but supremely natural. ” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, p. xi: 9-­15)

Perhaps it is this spiritual thought, available to all, that is the most effective path to natural healing – healing not dependent on matter, but recognizing that God is indeed forever with us, and, as a result, harmony, health, and healing are present and natural, now as always.

This article was published by The Arizona Silver Belt, July 8, 2015.

iOS 8.0* Iconic Health

Rich Evans, former Committee on Publication for Arizona

Major change. For those who use iPhones* and iPads*, Apple just launched a thorough update of their operating system for its customers. Without requesting it, a new icon appears when this software is downloaded. It is the “Health” icon. I didn’t ask for it. It just appeared.

The “Health” icon provides the user with a dashboard of health data about themselves. It also allows one to source other medical applications and to list critical personal medical information for emergencies.

When this appeared on my iPhone desktop, I looked for ways that I could incorporate my health data and its sources — files of spiritual inspiration and evidences of God’s love for man — under that desktop icon along with exercise regimen. For me the important sources are passages of inspired Scripture and learnings of a spiritual nature, many of which are from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, written by an early researcher in health, Mary Baker Eddy.  The iPhone program appears to assume that “health” and “medicine” coupled with exercise, are synonymous. But is that a sufficiently inclusive view of one’s health?

To many people, health, or wholeness, is far more than medical data and the tracking of cardio routines reported to the user. Those could be helpful but do not constitute a complete system for health. Others have found an effective operating system detailed in the book mentioned above, Science and Health: “Divine metaphysics is now reduced to a system, to a form comprehensible by and adapted to the thought of the age in which we live. This system enables the learner to demonstrate the divine Principle, upon which Jesus’ healing was based, and the sacred rules for its present application to the cure of disease.”

A system is a set of related parts that form a whole. So, wouldn’t we want our “Health” icon to cover all of the related parts that constitute our wholeness. Prevention of ill health is certainly part of that, which could include proper exercise. But prevention that includes a prayerful and meditative attitude maintains a peaceful and calm consciousness and can result in healing.

Healing, therefore, should also be part of the upgrade for the operating system of life. Over time, one could learn that a universal and divine sense of love, God as Love, according to the book of I John in the Bible, heals. It reaches what medicine can’t in relationships, life direction, motives for our actions, and, yes, physical restoration.

While doing a normal exercise on the floor of my room, I felt a great pain in my hip and couldn’t move from the position on my back. The Old Testament healing of Jacob and his dislocated hip came to my thought and I knew at once that there would be a solution. Instead of fear, expectation of freedom from this pain and immobility calmed my thought. In a few days, I was moving normally by adhering to this idea and others like it.

The new icon on my iPhone is a wonderful reminder to broaden my sense of health to include more than medical data, maintaining a more holy view of health and wholeness. That’s a real operating system upgrade.

*Names are intellectual property of Apple, Inc.

Metamedicine or Metaphysics: Which Path to Immediate Health?

Rich Evans, former Committee on Publication for Arizona

I arrived in Korea. I was to lead a meeting in the morning. The night resulted in intense stomach pain. Even if the language issues could be overcome, I couldn’t imagine postponing the plans for the day. I needed to be well quickly. Where to turn?

Probably food poisoning would have been diagnosed by a physician, and a generally accepted compound or pill prescribed. It was not my inclination to do this, and if it had, would it have been that simple?

There is a developing trend in medical health…metamedicine…which does not leave doctors with the surety of the past. Metamedicine is the emergence of a second tier of medical diagnosis and judgment that physicians must meet for obtaining approval for payment from insurance companies or government programs. In short, doctors are being second-guessed by a technocratic layer of qualifiers, controlling what is and what is not proper treatment for payment. This can be a problem for timely diagnosis and treatment.

Here is one physician’s concern:

“Knowing what to do when faced with a sick patient is relatively straightforward…But in today’s practice of medicine, that’s not enough. Physicians, PAs and NPs all live in two parallel universes these days, the world of medicine and the world of metamedicine. The world of medicine was created through understanding of life itself. It is vast and complex, and growing exponentially…The world of metamedicine was created by humans with limited understanding of life, but with vast experience in actuarial calculations and bookkeeping. It is growing faster than medicine itself.” http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2014/07/welcome-world-metamedicine.html

It appears that metamedicine isn’t treatment above general medicine to improve and accelerate its good results but, rather, poses an internal, double hurdle in medical judgment between practicing physicians and their approvers, which can lead to inconsistency of diagnosis and delay in treatment.

My decision in that moment in the hotel in Korea removed this dilemma for me. How?

Divine metaphysics is immediately available to anyone, anywhere. The author of an original book on divine metaphysics and healing, Mary Baker Eddy, says this, “Divine metaphysics is now reduced to a system, to a form comprehensible by and adapted to the thought of the age in which we live. This system enables the learner to demonstrate the divine Principle, upon which Jesus’ healing was based, and the sacred rules for its present application to the cure of disease.” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures)

Half-way around the world from home, the calming and healing ideas of the loving presence and power of God, changing my view of myself from an acutely ill international traveler to the comforted person I needed to be in that moment, were immediately present and inspiring. I was free of pain that morning and able to conduct the work I had come to do.

Spiritual metaphysics enables one to resolve problems quickly, without conflicting physical diagnosis and its attendant complexities and challenges. Perhaps it can help reduce the problem noted by our physician friend in the same article.

My own experience suggests that the conscious awareness of un-conflicted ideas of health, available from a universal and divine source, a loving God, the same source one finds in Scriptural healing, can provide the most immediate and certain relief from illness to normal health.

Cloak of Compassion

Rich Evans, former Committee on Publication for Arizona

She couldn’t care for herself. There was no family. There were loving friends but they didn’t have the skill. The need was apparent. Fear was pervasive.

Not far away was a hospice. After a call, two competent, quiet, non-judgmental individuals arrived to clean and redress the wounds of the ill patient. A bit of joy emerged. They assured the patient that they would return to help as needed, in a manner respectful of her beliefs and expectations.

There is no price to place on these instances of timely care — of loving, practical support present at the moment of greatest need. There was no lecturing, no analyzing of worthiness — no technology to separate heart meeting heart. Their efforts were remarkably kind.

A perfect model of palliative-care can be seen in the biblical parable of the Good Samaritan, who, finding a wounded man left unattended by others, approached this stranger, bandaged him, placed him on his burro, took him to an inn, and provided funds for his care by the innkeeper.

Fittingly, November is national hospice/palliative care month and there is reason to be immensely grateful for the commitment of those who do this work.

Several years ago in Arizona, there was a conference for end-of-life professionals. They had asked eight faiths to share their views on this subject. The purpose was to broaden the understanding of these care-givers so they could better meet the needs of patients, in a manner respectful of the individual patient’s beliefs…a most admirable pursuit.

While all can and should appreciate the care that hospice and palliative-care professionals provide the uncomforted, the assumed certainty of near-term death may be unnecessary. This assumption seems to be shifting currently.

Palliative (from the Latin palliare, meaning “to cloak”) has been defined as “care for the terminally ill and their families.” Yet, there is a distinction between hospice care and palliative care. Hospice care is offered at home or in facilities tending to the terminally ill. Palliative-care is multi-disciplinary, including spiritual care, which is not restricted to end-of-life prognoses. Palliative care continues expanding into traditional medical environments. As a recent report notes, “The focus on a patient’s quality of life has increased greatly during the past 20 years. In the United States today, 55 percent of hospitals with more than 100 beds offer a palliative-care program, and nearly one-fifth of community hospitals have palliative-care programs.”

In a recent article by the Mayo Clinic staff, this distinction was re-emphasized, stating that palliative-care is not tied to termination of life but to the need for comfort during times that would otherwise be more painful.

It doesn’t appear that the Good Samaritan expected the stranger, whom he had helped, to die at the inn. He had offered to return and pay for additional provisions for the injured traveler. He was expecting the man to continue his life.

As the hospice concept and the palliative-care concept further develop and overlap in purpose, all care can become less disease and end-of-life focused. The compassion witnessed in both approaches will take the lead in how to treat the uncomforted, with the added expectation of wholeness and health. No longer will hospice and palliative-care be simply a cloak to cover the acceptance of decline and termination. The great good that the hospice and palliative care workers do today may find yet greater good in the projection of life, not death, with the role of compassion progressing beyond the cloaking of pain.

Many have found comfort in this excerpt from an interpretation of the 23rd Psalm by the health seeker, religious leader, and author of “Science and Health,” Mary Baker Eddy, where the term “Love” is used for the Divine: “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for [Love] is with me; [Love’s] rod and [Love’s] staff they comfort me.”  As a human expression of the divine Love, the compassion given by hospice and palliative-care workers can help patients walk on through the valley of death, not merely come to final rest there.

— Rich Evans of Scottsdale is the spokesman for the Christian Science Committee on Publication for Arizona.

Published: November 18, 2013 at 9:15 am, as guest opinion in the Arizona Capitol Times
Read more: http://azcapitoltimes.com/news/2013/11/18/cloak-of-compassion/#ixzz2lg49cabV

Who’s Responsible For My Health?

 

 

Health care solutions multiply as we learn to take responsibility for our own health.

 

This is true even in the face of exigencies such as those reported in the September 11th edition of the Arizona Daily Star entitled, “Aging US faces cancer-care crisis, report finds”, by Lauran Neergaard of the Associated Press.  A panel under the auspices of the Institute of Medicine reported that a crisis looms as a result of the expected increase in cancer related cases.  The demographics regarding aging in the US, the complexity of treatments, and the shortage of specialized medical professionals raise a serious concern.  The forecast is that cancer cases could increase from 1.6 million per year to 2.3 million per year in 2030.

 

The article mentions, “too often, decisions about cancer treatments aren’t based on good evidence, and patients may not understand their choices and what to expect”.  For example, “two-thirds or more of patients with poor prognoses incorrectly believe the treatments they receive could cure them”.  It goes on to advise, “Topping the list of recommendations is finding ways to help patients make more informed decisions, with easy-to-understand information on the pros, cons and costs of different treatments”.

 

Shifting the responsibility to an informed patient is apparently gaining traction.  A book, released in 2011, entitled, The New Health Age, The Future of Health Care in America, by David Houle and Jonathan Fleece, says “…it is time for all American citizens to accept greater responsibility for their own health”.

 

These writings, along with certain aspects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, indicate a clear trend to engage the individual in health care choices and to make each of us more responsible for our health, both preventative and curative.

 

Underneath all of this is an assumption that individuals know where to obtain the information for making wise decisions about their health.  Both the news article and the book, however, are based on a modern surgery and drug utilization model of health and, by definition, assume that model as the scope of understanding needed to make informed decisions.  But health and how to achieve it begs broader consideration.

 

The history of health is not tantamount to the history of medicine.  The latter in its modern form has only been around for the last two centuries, according to Houle and Fleece.  Whereas, maintaining one’s health has always been a concern of mankind.  Methods of care and healing have evolved and have been embraced in different ways.  They include physical, mental, and spiritual approaches to health.  For example, those who find that they are faced with a prognosis of incurability in one dimension can appeal to another, which may provide the path of health.  Taking greater responsibility for one’s health may also involve shifting one’s view of what health is, and how to achieve it.

 

An acquaintance of mine had been diagnosed with Meniere’s Syndrome, for which the caring physicians could offer no cure.  So, my friend began to study more earnestly how a mental and spiritually prayerful approach could help.  Her search led her to see herself as more than a physical organism and to recognize the possibilities coming from a spiritual concept of health.  She was healed.

 

While to some this may seem highly unusual, changing one’s basis of thinking about life and health from an entirely physical point of view to a more mentally conscious or metaphysical one, is becoming increasingly common.  The work and writings of physicians like Larry Dossey or institutions like the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, are leading more and more patients and physicians to broader considerations.

 

The idea that health is more than what goes on with the body, and that it is important for each of us to take charge of our health, is not necessarily new.  Certainly, Mary Baker Eddy, a seeker of health and a religious leader of the late 1800’s, experienced this in her recovery from a near fatal accident.  The attending physician had lost hope.  She took responsibility and turned to a spiritual source with which she was familiar, Christian healing in the Bible.  Soon she found herself healed of the injuries from the accident, increasingly able to establish her own wellbeing, to help heal others, and to teach them to replicate this healing approach.

 

Accepting responsibility as individuals expands rather than diminishes our health care solutions.  This is a propitious time.

 

 

 

Grandmothers’ Wisdom and Integrative Medicine

I was listening to a brief video  chat with Dr. Tieraona Low Dog, M.D. who is Director of the Fellowship program at the Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona.  She is also the author of the book,  Life is Your Best Medicine.   While targeted at women’s health, both her video chat and her book have some useful insights for all (http://www.drlowdog.com/omm-medicine-road.html).

The one that caught my attention was the statement made by her grandmother, that when we are born “we’re set upon a path and that path is our medicine, and that everything we do in our life, from the food that we eat to the thoughts that we think, it affects us”.  She calls this our “medicine road”.  Dr. Low Dog goes on to say in part that “so much of the diseases that we see…really have their roots in the way we live our lives.”

That encounter caused me to ask, “What is my medicine road?”  Well, it has been and is a spiritual one.  Why?  Because it is the path exemplified by Christ Jesus, whose “medicine road” many seek to follow and whose “food” was the “bread of heaven” and whose thoughts were always in touch with God, with the divine sense of existence.  The evidence-based outcomes of his medicine were healing, redemption, and unending life.

There are sensible, practical suggestions of care for oneself given by Dr. Low Dog.  These include meditation, conscious breathing, wholesome foods, herbs, etc.  But a path must lead somewhere.  Should it be a path that ends in plants or physique?  Or, might our path be more enlightened if it leads to grace, to love of man and the universe in which we find ourselves?

One of the thoughts that I feed myself fairly regularly in the path of life is this statement from Mary Baker Eddy, a theologian who traveled a unique “medicine road” to found Christian Science.  Her statement in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures is this, “What we most need is the prayer of fervent desire for growth in grace, expressed in patience, meekness, love, and good deeds”.  That is the most practical and healthiest “medicine road” I know…one my grandmothers left to me.

AGE, VIRTUAL AGE, OR ETERNAL

Last week at the gym, my wife noticed another woman vigorously working out with weights and fitness machines.  Given the level of her exertion, my wife asked why the exceptional effort.  She said she was working on her “virtual age”.  She had taken a physical examination that indicated she had achieved a virtual age ten years younger than her chronological age. She was very proud of this and wanted to maintain it. She believed it to be the result of keeping fit and working out at a level commensurate with her virtual age.  The measure of her success to her trainer or physician would be her physique.  The measure to my wife was her sense of dominion and drive, mental qualities.

February is National Senior Independence Month, and it goes without question that many “Seniors” are very active and work to keep themselves fit and independent.  Who wouldn’t work to keep themselves active and alert, exemplifying health and freedom from limitations associated with aging?  Sensible diet and exercise are norms today.

The Arizona retirement system provides a program called “Silver Sneakers”, which allows “Seniors” to belong to a gym without charge.  The State asserts that providing this benefit is a savings to health care costs.  Again, the focus may be on maintaining one’s physique but the impetus starts with the motivation to expand one’s life. Maybe it is driven in part by fear of aging and its various claims of decline and disease, but those that I encounter appear to be just as driven by friendships and a sense of community…a gathering youthfulness.

All of this coming together and exercising or engaging in other vigorous activity on the slopes or the bike trail, speak to the individual’s desire to maintain dominion over his or her life, which includes thought and body.  For me, these two things are really one…dominion over my thought results in dominion over my body.  Could the friend I speak of in the first paragraph be exhibiting a life ten years younger than chronological data, if she didn’t first have the thought of pursuing such a goal?  And would she maintain such a regimen if she didn’t find freedom, dominion, and a sense of joy increasing as a result?

If this kind of thought and action brings a change from chronological to virtual age, what kind of change would we begin to see in our life if we moved our thinking from virtual age to agelessness, to a more eternal sense of being.  Where could one begin?  Here is a thought from a book I turn to regularly for inspiration, Science and Health, by Mary Baker Eddy, which states, “Let us…shape our views of existence into loveliness, freshness, and continuity, rather than into age and blight” (p.246).  This sentiment is not new, of course.  There are many Biblical examples of “Seniors” staying fit and expressing the continuity of life.  Abraham and Sarah began a family in their later years (Genesis 18).  Jesus proved life to be eternal and he stated his presence was for us to realize that we could have life more abundantly (John 10:10).

These thoughts crack open the way to move from submitting to chronological age, to understanding that age is governed by our thought, which, with right activity, can progress to virtual age and, ultimately, to a realization that we can live a life of “freshness and continuity”, independent from age generally and the decline with which it is associated.  Go virtual, and then go eternal.