It seems to me that attitudes are changing as there’s a realization of the need for health goals to be achieved through interrelationships and world connectedness. People are finding that personal health goals like losing weight, eating better, exercising, and quitting smoking, while very important to the individual, also need to be considered in the context of world health issues.
For example, if an individual quits smoking, those who had been breathing second-hand smoke are now benefited by that individual’s choice. This example shows how an individual and the members of society are interrelated. Improving these relationships improves the climate of health. The requires a willingness to go beyond self-interest by shifting from experiencing health from the view of the world serving an individual’s needs to viewing the individual as being in service to the world.
Recent studies have shown that health includes a spiritual aspect, so development of a spiritual component to community health may be the key to reverse the downward trends in world health conditions. Elliot Dacher, M.D., author of Integral Health, the Path to Human Flourishing, found that integral health and healing was in psychospiritual development – the awakening and development of consciousness. He stated “As I could slowly see the glimmer of the gem of human flourishing, I knew it was possible for everyone. And I also knew it was time to … help others see the truth, goodness, and beauty of life, much as I had been helped to see it for myself. I knew it was time to practice medicine again, but this time, an inner and outer whole medicine.”
The importance of resisting the temptation to isolate yourself from the effects of the world or the influence of your community is best described in Sri Aurobindo’s observations found in his work, Integral Healing: “The mind/body/community relationship is like the relationship of water and wetness. You cannot put water on one side of the room and wetness on the other side”
Mary Baker Eddy, 19th -century health researcher on the link between spirituality and health and the author of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, further clarifies the thought about this relationship in this statement: “Infinite Mind [God] creates and governs all, from the mental molecule to infinity.”
The link between man’s unity with his fellow man and his whole being – spirit-mind-body is not a new concept. It is recorded in the Bible, especially in the New Testament, when Jesus and others routinely demonstrated a revolutionary “new” approach to well being to counteract the health concerns of the times. Interestingly, the teaching included everyone, not just those who followed him, pointing to the current trend to see our inter-connectedness.
Is it possible that the development and use of spirituality to obtain individual and community health goals will build on the evolving ideas shared by Eddy and others, thus leading to healthier individuals and societies?