Beyond a Clinical View of Health

Beyond a Clinical View of Health

© GLOW IMAGES
Model used for illustrative purposes

by Don Ingwerson

This post was originally posted July 16, 2012.

You hear a lot about living a healthy lifestyle, but what does that mean?

Meditation and love are very much a part of healthy lifestyles, according to columnist Mark Bittman, who stated in a New York Times Opinionator article, “For the first time in history, lifestyle diseases…kill more people than communicable ones…But they are preventable, and you prevent them the same way you cause them, lifestyle…diet, along with exercise, meditation and intangibles like love prevent and even reverse disease.”

I find it interesting that he didn’t list meditation under intangibles. Yet I think meditation and love, as well as prayer, should be included in this category. The Meditation Society of America gives the distinction between meditation and prayer by saying “that during prayer, we ask God for something, and during meditation, God speaks to us.” But for me, my prayers are directed to a God who is always present and available. Since God is as close as my thought, I am able to affirm qualities like health to be a vital element of a Christian lifestyle.

The intangibles of prayer and meditation are so important that Dr. Andrew Weil mentions these qualities in every book he has written since his first in 1972. In Spontaneous Happiness, he suggests that the use of these intangibles is a “powerful way to open thought to new, more spiritual ideas.”

I get the same sense of power and purpose from an early 20th century Christian writer who “withdrew from the world to meditate, to pray, to search the Scriptures.” When asked about this time in her life, Mary Baker Eddy writes that “it answered my questions as to the process by which I was restored to health.” (Pulpit and Press)

Improving or restoring health is a core goal in maintaining a spiritual lifestyle. Spiritual lifestyle experts Keith and Sharmai Amber suggest that an ongoing effective lifestyle needs to include something beyond diet and exercise – a spiritual life, which would not include What do I want? Instead it would include What am I supposed to learn from the conditions and circumstances in my life? Acting on the answers to this question leads to self-mastery, enlightenment, service, compassion, balance, and wisdom being chosen as the alternate behavior.

I have found a healthy lifestyle comes from the qualities inherent in Christian meditation, prayer, and love. These elements can give purpose to maintaining the regimens of proper exercising and eating. Without inner meaning from the intangibles, the daily schedule of diet and exercise would become burdensome. So each day I quench my hunger and thirst first thing with a diet of scriptural study and prayer. This quiet time has helped me filter out many counterproductive thoughts; then appropriate physical activities fall into place resulting in a healthy lifestyle.

What have you found that helps you lead a healthier life?

Article first published in Blogcritics.

About the author

Don Ingwerson Don regularly blogs on health and spirituality and lives in Laguna Beach with his wife - both Christian Science practitioners. He brings his years serving the public in education to his work as a liaison of Christian Science, where he maintains contacts with the media and legislative offices.

Comments

  1. Kendall says

    Thanks, Don. It’s the last two sentences that I find most important! That “appropriate physical activities” naturally follow from scriptural study and prayer – and starting your day that way. This is something that we all can do and expect good results from!

  2. Pamela says

    Thanks Don, I love the two questions you asked. What do I want is never the best question because it leaves out what we should be doing versus we want to be doing. What we want and what is best for us is usually never the same thing. In my prayerful time I try to follow the Lord’s Prayer because not once does it include I or me. Instead is talks about “Thy will be done” not mine, and I find that when I am following God’s will my days go much smoother with fewer mistakes.

  3. says

    After working in an HMO (Health Maintenance Organization) for many years and being diseased in a few ways, I read Science & Health by MB Eddy and began to lose all that was physically and emotionally chronic and acute. To live a healthy life-style is wonderful as is prayer (listening to God, the one Mind), but to know and understand God and eternal life and my unity with God and all beings is the BEST and REAL.

  4. Anne says

    Great blog. I love the statement, “I quench my hunger and thirst first thing with a diet of scriptural study and prayer.” It’s practical spirituality made tangible in daily life. Perfect!

    I also loved Pamela’s thoughts on working with the Lord’s Prayer where there’s no “I or me.”

    St. Paul’s remark, “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord,” has always been helpful to me. It takes thought in a higher direction and away from just being concerned about appearance or fearful of sickness and disease.

    It stands to reason that a mental condition free from worry and stress makes for a healthy lifestyle.

  5. Don Ingwerson says

    Your comments made the article. thank you for sharing them with the readers and me.

  6. Sue says

    This article put together the ideas that will help many people to see the importance of a spiritual sense– a spiritual life– making our daily life better– more healthful, more free from stress and unhealthy ideas. “…an ongoing effective lifestyle needs to include something beyond diet and exercise – a spiritual life, which would not include What do I want? Instead it would include What am I supposed to learn from the conditions and circumstances in my life? Acting on the answers to this question leads to self-mastery, enlightenment, service, compassion, balance, and wisdom being chosen as the alternate behavior.

    Learning and acting on the answers to the 2 questions posed above give a fuller, happier life experience to ourselves and therefore to all we come into contact with each day. Learning something new each day, growing spiritually each day makes our days brighter, healtier and adds to the general good of our communities and world. Let us press onward and upward!

  7. George says

    Thanks for sharing your views on this subject. As with so many people, I’ve found that a healthier life really begins with putting God first. . .prayer,meditation etc.. . .gives one a sense of priority and balance. it has also been joy to take some time each day to be active. . to run, hike, play tennis or just get outside and appreciate the beauty of nature. the most important points I would recommend though, are to follow the Christian example of Christ Jesus who basically said to love the Lord with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself. The result is a healthier lifestyle!!

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