by Don Ingwerson
Despite the billions spent on medical research, some health conditions and diseases still appear insurmountable.
Take Alzheimer’s disease. When I first heard about this terrible, seemingly untreatable condition, I saw how David must have felt when he first saw the towering figure of Goliath.
To everyone else with him at the time, the gauntlet Goliath was throwing down seemed insurmountable, but not to David. He changed his thinking about Goliath to a deeper, divine confidence in the ability of good to prevail over evil, and in so doing was able to defeat him.
In regard to the evil of Alzheimer’s, so far, no drug has been developed to slow or heal it. But new research suggests that both physical and psychological stress, when left untreated, may cause this disease. The ability to handle stress may also decrease as a person ages. So it is encouraging that meditation is being explored as a way to mitigate the effects of Alzheimer’s. Even though meditation has been practiced for over 5,000 years, scientific research on its healing effects is just beginning.
In looking for low-cost lifestyle choices that create conditions conducive to good cognitive health, researchers are looking not only at meditation and mindfulness, but also at prayer. Research indicates that lifestyle choices can make a difference when it comes to the prevention of Alzheimer’s. Choices that involve compassion, gratitude, and a balanced lifestyle create joy, purpose, and harmony and limit thoughts of fear, tension, and stress.
Over many years, I have consistently found that a higher sense of spirituality is the lifestyle choice that best helps me to accomplish these health-giving qualities of thought. It alleviates fear with the knowledge that the infinite can address stress. I’ve found that when fear is spiritually overcome, the effect is liberating.
A fantastic example of this is how Jesus dealt with a man who said his name was Legion, who traumatized his community with his violent outbursts. Everyone was fearful of this man, but Jesus’ spiritual perception of the disturbed individual as a child of God enabled him to deal with that fear and transform him. The Bible says he was then found “clothed and in his right mind.”
What kind of prayer was it that could make such a difference to someone’s mental wellbeing? Mary Baker Eddy, author of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, discussing this concept, wrote: “Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. In this perfect man the Saviour saw God’s own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick.” This “Science” – or the divine laws of creation – actually governs each of us. Changing thought to recognize this spiritual fact, just as David was able to change his thinking and see Goliath’s weakness, is a way to prayerfully uphold mental health.
There are chinks in the armor of Alzheimer’s. Deeper prayer, greater compassion, and expressions of gratitude, sincerity, and happiness are all part of that “low-cost lifestyle” researchers are on the hunt for – and just may be a key to defeating the Goliath of Alzheimer’s.