Tag: healing

Spiritual Health in the Face of Dementia

Rich Evans, former Committee on Publication for Arizona

Have you ever ridden into a box canyon? It is difficult to see the way out and the walls threaten to cut one off from all that is normal.

Caring for a loved one challenged with dementia can feel like that. It is wearing. For those who cannot afford help it can be exhausting and frightening. All who provide care in these circumstances, paid or unpaid, need aid themselves.

Dementia is not a specific disease, according to Mayo Clinic. Rather, it “describes a group of symptoms affecting memory, thinking and social abilities severely enough to interfere with daily functioning”. The caregivers in such a situation become the providers of necessary daily functioning for those who seem unable.

The Mayo Clinic Staff continues with advice to caregivers in such circumstances: “Providing for a person with dementia is physically and emotionally demanding. Often the primary caregiver is a spouse or other family member. Feelings of anger and guilt, frustration and discouragement, worry, grief, and social isolation are common. If you’re a caregiver for someone with dementia: 1) Ask friends or other family members for help when you need it; 2) Take care of your physical, emotional and spiritual health”.

Perhaps focusing on this last point, spiritual health, would help in great measure to meet the physical and emotional needs of anyone caring for those exhibiting dementia. But how does one achieve “spiritual health”?

For me, it includes addressing fears by gaining a sense of God’s infinite love for us.

Unaddressed, fear can block our recognition of needed answers in giving care, it can overwhelm us in apprehension for our own safety, and plummet one into a sense of depression.

But when fear is spiritually overcome the practical impact can be liberating. The perfect example of this was when Christ Jesus, whose fearlessness consistently brought healing, encountered a tragically insane Gadarene man called Legion. Despite this man’s miscreant reputation, self-destructive tendencies, and social isolation, Jesus spoke with him normally and showed his Christly love for one who’d probably never received such restorative attention. That fearless care not only calmed him but cured him permanently.

Could this be possible today? Yes. Even the Mayo report allows, “Some causes of dementia may be reversible”. So, why shouldn’t a caregiver, expressing sufficient spiritual love, not only overcome his or her own fear but extend this sense of God’s love to the one being cared for such that the condition may abate? Over many years in the periodicals of my church there are accounts of various forms of dementia, including Alzheimer’s, being reversed through a spiritual understanding of God’s healing love.

Many in the business of extending care to humanity have found strength in a more divine motivation for doing their work. I find this statement from a seminal writing on the relationship between spirituality and health encouraging: “It is proverbial that Florence Nightingale and other philanthropists engaged in humane labors have been able to undergo without sinking fatigues and exposures which ordinary people could not endure. The explanation lies in the support which they derived from the divine law, rising above the human. The spiritual demand, quelling the material, supplies energy and endurance surpassing all other aids, and forestalls the penalty which our beliefs would attach to our best deeds.” (S cience and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, p. 385)

Filled with love for God and mankind, divine inspiration can lead us out of the box canyon of apprehension, lifting our thoughts above the shadowy dimensions of caregiving, and brightening the way of those in our charge.

This article was published in the Arizona Silver Belt Newspaper, August 5, 2015.

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.

Health: Dependence or Independence?*

Rich Evans, former Committee on Publication for Arizona

Dependence is certainly not what a toddler wants after learning to walk, or a teen after getting a driver’s license. They don’t seek to return to dependence on that which they have outgrown. They are overjoyed at the progress they have made in taking charge of their life and asserting their independence.

But is regression from independence a risk in regard to our health? Are there aspects of typical, modern health care that foster dependence? Can our attitude and thoughtfulness help avoid this dependence.

A young adult friend was in a serious automobile accident and consequently immobilized because of broken bones. A skilled and attentive surgeon set the bones and prescribed rest and low level activity that would aid recovery. Medications were included to control pain and address other precautions. This was normal protocol. The young adult adhered to the regimen initially, but unwelcome side effects accompanied procedures, and he wanted to diminish or cease the usage of the medications. He respected medical opinion, but he did not hesitate rethinking the nature, duration and intensity of these prescriptions as an independent thinker.

Expecting healing, rather than perpetuation of chemical assistance, helped him diminish the dosages until half way through the expected program there was no need for pain medication because there was no pain. Why? Because, in part, this young man was not perpetuating the thought of the accident. He held no ill will toward the drunk driver who T-boned him. He felt and showed much gratitude toward the emergency room personnel, asking on departure to go back to thank one of the nurses for the special care he had received when he was first brought in. He turned the physical challenges into a lesson of patience. In short, he had refused to depend upon the stereotypical victim conduct of anger, pity, or self-absorption. The result was a quicker recovery, both emotionally and physically, and freedom from continuing chemical dependence.

Good outcomes from maintaining an independent and open thought on the path to health have been evident for centuries. One finds Biblical precedent in the woman who, having spent her wealth on seeking medical help for her chronic bleeding without relief, reached out to the spiritual representative of health at that time, Christ Jesus, and was healed through reclaiming her own spiritual independence from the matter-based norm that had not helped her.

Like this woman and the young man mentioned above, we can be grateful for the caring received from skilled and well-motivated professionals without slipping into dependence. We can search out the spiritual qualities like graciousness, gratitude, humility and forgiveness, which bring confidence in the inevitability of good health and strengthen one’s conscious independence toward life-affirming decisions.

*Published December 10, 2014 in  the Arizona Silver Belt newspaper in Globe, Arizona.

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.

Positive Thinking or Spiritual Power

Rich Evans, former Committee on Publication for Arizona

With ten kids, I find positive reinforcement indispensible. They gain confidence from honest recognition of the good work that they do.  Positive thinking certainly seems more helpful than negative thinking.  But it falls short of real help at times and, as some note, it can feed off delusion rather than inspired understanding.  Not ideal.

In a recent article by Bob Carden, “How positive thinking can trip into costly delusion”, published in the Arizona Daily Star (special to the Washington Post)*, “positivity” is readily panned.  His basis is the duping that occurs when unreasoned positive expectations spur financial ruin…the kinds of ruin we have seen from the frenzy around economic bubbles or “get rich” scams.

Carden interestingly attributes the founding of positive thinking to the 19th century spiritualist, Phineas Quimby.   Quimby sought to heal physical maladies from a positive energy, albeit through physical touching and a belief in some transference of magnetism through water thought to cure.  His method wasn’t particularly spiritual, and certainly did not attribute any healing to a divine influence or power.  This left his patients in a personally dependent position.  That seems more downside than upside.

Whether one thinks negatively or positively, being dependent on the mind of any person, even oneself, is risky.  My kids rightly don’t make decisions based merely on what I say to them, but rather on what they know to be a wise choice from all they have experienced.  Also, I don’t think they want to rest merely on their own limited opinions and inexperience.  So, when in a negative thought pattern, to whom or what does one appeal?  Even when in a positive thought pattern, where is the foundation that removes the risk of reversal?

I was raised with plenty of positive support and good friends to “be there” when I needed a boost.  But after college in the Peace Corps, far away from parents and friends, I needed healing of malaria and, instinctive for me, I turned to prayer or affirmation of a source of support beyond human opinions… let’s call it a sense of drawing on universal love and spiritual law that I know as God.

When I returned suddenly from the Peace Corps, after a complete recovery from malaria entirely through reliance on prayer (not mere positive thinking) and a growing understanding of the universal, regenerative power of divine Love, I faced the prospect of applying to law school out of cycle.  It was April.  Most law school admissions were closed for the following fall.  I hadn’t taken the LSATs.  I hadn’t been awake for an entire day for over a month.  I arrived in country for temporary quarantine on Tuesday.  The last test for late admissions was Saturday.  I was in San Francisco; the testing center that would take me on an exception basis was Northwestern Law School in Chicago.   I flew in Friday night, packed a bag lunch and left at dawn to arrive early and take care of the unusual, untimely registration for the all-day exam.

Positive thought is certainly more helpful than pessimism, or I might never have tried to pull this off.  But there needed to be more. There was no cheering section, no magnetic head rubbing to make it through this experience.  I had learned in the healing of malaria to depend on a spiritual and divine sense of calm and power, the stillness of prayer, to overcome whatever doubts I had and whatever physical challenges might come along to defeat completing the day successfully.  That deep turning to prayer in advance of the exam resulted in a successful day in every way.

Being positive is useful, so long as we aren’t being gullible.  But stepping up to a sense of divine law that governs us all, like the law of aerodynamics governs all that flies, we find a source outside of ourselves that is much more than positive thinking…it is universally present and powerful and brings results without the risk of delusion.

*The Arizona Daily Star, Sunday, April 13, 2014

Published by the Arizona Silver Belt newspaper April 30, 2014

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