Tag: Jesus

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.

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.

What’s In A Name?

Names are powerful.  Lincoln, Mount Everest, the Yankees, bring forth strong associations for each of us, depending upon what we have learned and accepted from the opinions of others and from our own experiences.

On July 29th, in The New York Times, Tara Parker-Pope reported on a rather courageous research report by medical scientists recommending changes in the approach to detection and treatment of cancer, including “eliminating the word cancer entirely from some common diagnoses”.  A significant point in the report was that too often the “cancer” label led the patient to an assumptive conclusion: if the word cancer was mentioned in the patient’s diagnosis, then the probability of death was assumed.  As a result, often more drastic procedures were undergone than were necessary.

A telling statement in the article was, “The advent of highly sensitive screening technology in recent years has increased the likelihood of…findings detected during medical scans that most likely would never cause a problem”.  However, once doctors and patients find an early symptom they feel compelled to conduct a biopsy, and treat and remove it, “often at great physical and psychological pain and risk to the patient…The issue is often referred to as overdiagnosis, and the resulting unnecessary procedures to which patients are subjected are called overtreatment.”

While much of humanity would find there are useful medical interventions that save the health of patients or, at least, forestall more severe consequences, this report explains how a name of a disease, fraught with terminal overtones, can create exaggerated fear and lead to wrong actions and, perhaps, actually foster more severe illness and harmful procedures.

This doesn’t surprise me.  After college I served in the US Peace Corps in a rural part of the southwestern Philippines. We volunteers had been told about the possibility of malaria in ways that made that “name” fairly alarming. It was as if someone had planted a terminal seed.  Within a few months I became ill and was extremely dizzy and incoherent at times.

I had always relied on prayer for my well-being, prayer that is the conscious affirmation of man’s, my, divinely natural health, as Christ Jesus taught and proved.  Healing in this way soon came about and I was free of this condition in a couple of weeks.

The Peace Corps physician was required to conduct a physical examination of me and the diagnosis was blackwater fever, an acute and often fatal form of malaria, which had regressed and become non-threatening.  I don’t think knowing those names beforehand would have been helpful to my healing, as they would have implanted greater fear and more obstacles to overcome.  Patterns of consequences would have been predicted by my physician friend out of concern for my survival, inadvertently germinating and watering the seed of fear.  Instead, without the labeling, I was less burdened in my spiritual work and able to return to my normal life and move on.  There has never been a recurrence of any symptoms.  For me, that name holds no power.

The lesson here is that the name of a disease is not the truth about anyone.  It is a point of view, the accuracy and consequences of which can vary considerably.  It is bold for this report to break from historical labeling patterns.  The direction of the report is encouraging in the elimination of unnecessary fear and treatment and in its acknowledgement that perhaps mitigation of disease starts by avoiding names that alarm, for what we hold in consciousness about disease may play a large role in outcomes.

Donate Life

April is National Donate Life Month.  That set me to thinking, …”let me count the ways.”

There are many thoughtful folks who sign up to be organ donors.  You can see it on their marquee license plates or on a card in their wallet.  They have made the decision to give parts of their body to others at their death or during their lives, for the benefit of those in apparent need.  No doubt, this is an unselfish act and shows, in one way, love for one’s neighbor.

Others choose to give to blood banks.  During my service in the US Peace Corps, I had a friend who became ill and the medical staff in this Manila hospital felt that a transfusion was needed for my friend to survive.  The blood type was rare but a donor was found.  Without the donor and patient knowing it, the donor turned out to be the Director of the Peace Corps in that country and the recipient, one of his volunteers.  They had no idea of their relationship, but the supply and the need matched through a sense of generosity…giving unselfishly.  The volunteer was enormously grateful, of course, as was the Director.

What other ways might we “donate life”?  More broadly, aren’t we donating life to others when we coach kids in a way that includes sportsmanship, gender equality, honest play, vigor and self-discipline?  What about when we raise our children to be ethical, productive and caring?  Consider those who visit the homebound and bring joy and vivacity to their bedside.  Certainly, we have all had the opportunity to share a word of encouragement to a stranger in need.

I believe the sense of life was lifted above the physical aspect in the Biblical statement regarding Christ Jesus when it states, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly”*.  That abundance is not measured by anatomy or money, but arises from the spirit of unselfish love that was lived by the master Christian as an example to us all.

So whether or not I choose to be an organ or blood donor, I can donate abundantly to life. Each of us can and probably does do just that each day, in great measure.   There is no limit to our resources in making such donations.

*John 10:10

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.

Taking or Giving One’s Life

 

 

It was a rare, poignant moment.  A few days ago we were having lunch with our college senior son when he carefully dropped the word that his older brother could use some support.   He had just lost his friend to suicide.  Not only a friend, but he was the keyboardist in their indie band and a neighbor in the same apartment complex.  What made it more difficult was the fact that our older son was the first to discover him and needed to make the report to the authorities.

Among family, friends and the community of local musicians there has been an outpouring of comfort to all affected by this tragic incident.  It isn’t easy dealing with such events, but it would be devastating without the stabilizing encouragement and humanity of others.

This is not the only case of this nature that I have personally experienced this past month.  And, fortunately, there are many people working to counter such occurrences.

It is international Suicide Prevention Week and this past Monday was world Suicide Prevention Day.  The United Nations’ World Health Organization and the International Association for Suicide Prevention (founded in Austria) were both established more than a half-century ago.

According to these organizations,

“Suicide is an international problem and a major public health concern.  Suicide claims approximately 1 million lives worldwide each year, resulting in one suicide every 40 seconds.  There is an estimated 10 to 20 suicide attempts per each completed suicide, resulting in several million suicide attempts each year. Suicide and suicidal behavior affects individuals of all ages, genders, races and religions across the planet.”

“Risk factors remain essentially the same from country to country.  Mental illness, substance abuse, previous suicide attempts, hopelessness, access to lethal means, recent loss of loved ones, unemployment and vulnerability to self-harm are just few examples of risk factors. Protective factors are also the same in all corners of the world.  High self-esteem, social connectedness, problem-solving skills, supportive family and friends are all examples of factors that buffer against suicide and suicidal behaviors.” *

So, it appears that we know many of the human causes of suicide and we know many of the interventions that would protect individuals from taking their own  lives. Certainly those who reach out to the apparently depressed, or lonely, or addicted to support and care for them, value them, provide strategies to solve what disturbs their thought, are ways of countering the “risk factors”.   But can we advance the “protective factors” one step further to a healing factor?

I find strength in dealing with these situations from a case where a man, a miscreant and outcast from society, who dwelt in a graveyard and was found to be suicidal and uncontrollable, was completely healed of his “risk factors”, “voices”, mental disturbance.  One individual made the difference in his life by approaching him without fear, by not accepting his apparent condition as unsolvable, by giving him a sense of identity that did not include the negative societal labels, by providing hope and spiritual purpose.  The man healed was Legion, and the individual who gave him a better sense of life was Christ Jesus.

I’m grateful for all those around the world who give their lives to diminish this difficult challenge of preventing the elements that seem to engender suicide.  And I am deeply encouraged by the loving example of the master Christian that helps us see through the illusive nature of the suicidal condition to grasp the solid, stable idea of man given to life, right where a life might have been taken.

* http://www.suicidology.org/c/document_library/get_file?folderId=231&name=DLFE-608.pdf