Finding Your Way Up and Out of Stress

Finding Your Way Up and Out of Stress

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by Don Ingwerson

Years ago, I had my office and car windows shot out because of community resistance to a school that I was closing. This created a fearful condition for me and for my family. As I tried to resolve this stressful situation, a painful and unbearable thumping in my head developed. I was able to handle it, as I’ll explain in a minute.Continue Reading

Can Spirituality Help Create a Better Body?

Can Spirituality Help Create a Better Body?

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by Don Ingwerson

I came to the Southern California area in the late 50’s from the Midwest to begin a teaching career. I loved the youthful spirit I found and the encouragement of that “can do” mentality. Today I still feel the winds of that freshness, where people tend to support what they created and they understand that many times progress calls for an innovative approach.Continue Reading

Original Metaphysics Integral to Current Mind-Body Work

Original Metaphysics Integral to Current Mind-Body Work

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by Don Ingwerson

Spirituality and a connection to the Divine are being explored by more and more of the public in the pursuit of health. What I find interesting is that Mary Baker Eddy’s work that shares these healing ideas with the public is being recognized as one of the most important components of current findings in mind-body-spirit work.Continue Reading

Thinking Outside the Brain About Health Care

Thinking Outside the Brain About Health Care

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by Don Ingwerson

Is it important to focus entirely on the body in order to know how to maintain your health? Is health exclusively dependent on material things (blood, bones, etc.), as has been generally accepted over time? Or does the fact that the body is comprised of energy suggest that health is affected and controlled by something else?

An article in the Huffington Post, “Thinking Outside the (Skull) Box,” really got me thinking about the quantum physics view of what makes up existence. In this article, the five authors discuss the universe and man’s relationship to it. Their view bonds man and the universe in a mental construct that weaves all together. The authors note: “Once physicality ends at the Planck scale, something must hold the universe together, and this something can’t be in time or space, nor can it be made of physical ‘stuff.’ …this something sounds an awful lot like God.”

An early 19th-century health researcher and theologian, Mary Baker Eddy, thought a lot about that “something” that might be holding the universe together. She saw the creation of man and the universe as one when she wrote: “There is but one creator, who created all. Whatever seems to be a new creation, is but the discovery of some distant idea of Truth;” A few years later, physicist Erwin Schrödinger declared, “To divide or multiply consciousness is something meaningless. In other words, consciousness is one. It only appears to be divided up into billions of human minds. In short, either consciousness is unbounded or you haven’t looked deep enough.”

Though Schrodinger wrote this some decades ago, today efforts in quantum physics are underway to break through the accepted ideas of explaining the nature of mind and its relationship to the brain, which is usually equated with our body. However, mainstream science is reluctant to move forward when faced with the notion of mind outside the brain. In other words, scientists have spent as much time training their minds about the nature of the physical as, let’s say, world-class athletes have spent training their bodies for the Olympics. Once one is committed to a belief, it’s hard for any of us to change our thinking.

So, where do the mind and identity reside? In the brain or across the wider landscape of the brain-body complex?

For some people, the answer to this question lies in recognizing a larger consciousness that constitutes all identities. If the nature of our bodies is actually an outcome of the nature of the human mind and its relation to Divine Consciousness, health takes on a different outlook.

A relative of mine found this to be true when he “reframed” his view of the nature of existence. He was having difficulty seeing and he went to an optometrist to have his eyes examined. The doctor told him that he would be blind in a few months unless the condition was corrected through surgery. My relative immediately turned his thought to Divine Consciousness through prayer. In a few months, he returned to the optometrist for a recheck and was told that the former condition no longer was a threat to his vision. That condition never returned. And, my relative never saw himself – his existence – the same way again.

The idea that consciousness is not in the brain and the positive impact spirituality can have on health are both gaining ground. It’s the subject of Dr. Larry Dossey’s, one of the world’s foremost mind-body medicine experts, current research, book, and talks. And as these ideas have gained ground, hospitals are increasingly required to attend to the spiritual attitudes of their patients to be accredited and most medical schools now feature material on how to incorporate spiritual care in their curricula.

So what focus will health care take as we continue to expand our understanding of brain, consciousness, and the Divine?

Article first published in Blogcritics.

Empower Yourself to be Healthy

Empower Yourself to be Healthy

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A guest post written by Wendy Margolese, Christian Science media representative for Ontario and legislative liaison for Canada

Have you ever thought about whether you can influence your own health?

According to Dr. Nancy Abram, MD, you can.  Here is an edited excerpt of my conversation with this thoughtful and intuitive physician who, after three decades, retired from her medical practice in Southern Ontario to focus on mind-body medicine.

What brought about your transition from conventional medicine to examining the mind-body relationship in the process of healing and wellbeing?

Dr. Abram: “In my practice as a family physician, I started to realize over and over again, that when I’d write prescriptions, patients needed a higher dose and were subject to side effects.  But people really weren’t dealing with their core issues.  I’m not against medications, but they are a bit of a blanket, particularly when you are dealing with mental health issues like anxiety and depression.

And so, I have felt for many years that the core issues are demonstrated through the body.  The body doesn’t lie.  So if the body’s in pain, there’s an emotion behind that pain – what you exhibit physically is tied to your thinking.

However, at some point if you don’t fix the disrupted way of thinking – the forms of thought that get you into a pattern – then as a patient, you will probably keep returning.

I did some extra training in a kind of energy psychology – one form was the Emotional Freedom Technique.  I received the designation of ‘GP – Psychotherapy’, recognized by OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance Plan).  I started using this approach on a few of my patients in the clinic and realized that this was the practice I wanted to do.  So I retired from the clinic.

I now see clients on a referral basis and they know I am going to approach things differently – they have tried drugs and when that hasn’t worked, they are willing to try my therapy. This doesn’t mean I don’t prescribe medication, but more often it means I have been able to get people off their medication.

How do you empower your patients to find health and wellness?

Dr. Abram: “It is about personal responsibility.  It can be frustrating for a lot of physicians because they will tell the patient to eat properly, exercise, etc., but the patient returns with the same symptoms – sometimes even worse.  They are handing their personal power to somebody else.  And it’s all about taking back your own personal power. Say you are feeling the emotion of insecurity, but your inner being, your higher self doesn’t agree with that. So I help you get connected with your inner being  – get back to that understanding that you don’t need to waste your time with negative emotions.

I teach my patients that there is a higher power they can tap into, a resource to help them discover happiness.  It’s helping people connect with who they really are, which is more than what they think.

There are probably more physicians who are of this thought than you realize, but they are on this allopathic road where you have to think of concrete things – diagnose and treat.  Treat usually means a prescription or a referral. This is the patient’s expectation.

Do you know who is ahead of this shift in medical practice? I would say the nurses.  Nurses are trained in a different approach to a patient. Doctors are trained to diagnose and treat; nurses are trained to look more at the whole person – what other factors may be impacting their health.

Do you have any final thoughts to share?

Dr. Abram: ‘We are all energy – quantum physics has taught us that.  Finding your health would be allowing the energy that is part of who you are, to flow without resistance.  If you look at consciousness as a vibrational energy and allow it to flow – health would really be who you really are, loving yourself. Most people do not love themselves.  There is the ‘kingdom of heaven within’ – so you have to acknowledge your own greatness, your own magnificence.

Dr. Abram may be just beginning her practice in mind-body medicine, but her years of experience have led her to see the connection between our thinking, – the “kingdom” – and our health.  If the ‘kingdom of heaven’ she refers to is the Divine – working within us, we can all discover an unlimited source on which to draw for our health and wellbeing.

Link to Wendy Margolese’s blog

Health Potential Takes Flight

Health Potential Takes Flight

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by Don Ingwerson

I have a family of gulls (two adults and three chicks) nesting on my chimney, going about their business built on their own instincts and traditions. They are of course ignoring my family below. Because of these new guests – their eating, exercising, and family interactions – compared to human’s health habits – I got to thinking about health from the perspective of how beliefs of tradition can limit the acceptance of new health habits.

This idea, which for seagulls is portrayed so vividly in the book Jonathan Livingston Seagull, wasn’t initially well received. But today the book is listed as a spiritual classic by Tom Butler-Bowdon, who noted that “it is easy now, thirty five years on, to overlook the originality of the book’s concept, and though some find it rather naive, in fact it expresses timeless ideas about human potential.”

Human potential is the underlying thread in so many achievements and pursuits, and I really think Dr. Elliott S. Dacher’s introduction to Aware, Awake, Alive defines this potential perfectly: “…joining together in a profound journey of learning and transformation that can take us toward an extraordinary state of well-being, one largely unknown in modern times. It is the crowning achievement of human development. It is a deeply satisfying way to live. It is a state of peace, wisdom, happiness, freedom, and love as we have never known them.”

This idea is not new. Historically, there are biblical accounts of Jesus not only seeing the unlimited potential of man but also recognizing man’s connection to the divine to heal those individuals who suffered from disease and other maladies.

Cultivating this human potential and tying it to spiritual factors promotes health. University of Maryland Medical Center has been researching the link between spirituality and health and found, “The health benefits of religion and spirituality do not stem solely from healthy lifestyles… Qualities like faith, hope, and forgiveness, and the use of social support and prayer seem to have a noticeable effect on health and healing.”

Dacher further builds on his idea of the link between human potential and health when he says, “the emphasis is on mind and spirit, on the quality of life rather than the biologic aspects of life…medical science is capable of extending life, it cannot guarantee that life is happy, peaceful, meaningful, or prosperous.”

So where is this idea of human potential and its tie with spirituality taking us? Dr. Mimi Guarneri, author of The Heart Speaks: A Cardiologist Reveals the Secret Language of Healing, in an interview with Spirituality and Health, was asked, “If you had to pick one alternative practice for this entire country what would it be?” She answers, “Meditation. Because I firmly believe when people have peace inside, when they go in and they feel connected to something larger than themselves. …They start to have healthier behaviors. I have really changed from looking from a physical outside-in to a spiritual inside-out.”

Just like the main character in Jonathan Livingston Seagull, each of us has the ability to strive for our potential. “You’ve got to understand that a seagull is an unlimited idea of freedom, an image of the Great Gull… You have the freedom to be yourself, your true self, here and now, and nothing can stand in your way.”

I can see this understanding of our higher human potential taking flight in many ways throughout the medical community and in individual people’s lives. Let’s watch it soar!

Is There a Silver Bullet for Good Health?

Is There a Silver Bullet for Good Health?

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by Don Ingwerson

Americans with all their good intentions have a tendency to want instant everything. It seems we are always looking for that proverbial “silver bullet” solution. That’s true for many things including our health.

What is the best way to develop and maintain excellent health? From every front, we are advised that the path to health is through rigorous attention to our physical needs such as the food we eat, the exercise program we pursue, and the regular check ups? Yet, these efforts, as well intentioned as they may be, do not always provide good outcomes for the short- and long-term health needs of our nation.

Looking at these issues and seeking answers to these questions, many may ask why is it that sometimes those who practice the best eating and exercising habits do not have good health, and those who pay little if any attention to these habits are well and happy? Lisa Rankin, MD, may have found at least one reason when she says that whether someone becomes sick or stays healthy “might have more to do with everything else that’s going on in their lives than with any specific health standard they abide by.”

After Rankin started working in integrative medicine, she found that good nutrition, exercise, and sleep weren’t enough for many of her patients. So she dug deeper, by asking questions – for instance: “What do you love about yourself? What’s missing from your life?” She concluded that in order for these patients to be healthy, they needed to address non-physical issues in their lives, like relationships, stress, or money. In order to address these concerns she says that it’s important to care for the mind, heart, and soul. Rankin suggests you tap into the deeper true part of you – your spiritual identity.

Author and founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy wrote and taught about the spiritual identity and the mental nature of disease in the 19th century. She proved that a Mind-based view of health and life leads to cures in both mind and body. Her book, Science and Health, points out some of the states of thought that might precipitate disease, such as hatred, envy, dishonesty, and fear.

If this is the case, that all conditions of health could be tied to our mental environment, are we responsible for making ourselves healthy? Rankin’s comment of needing to address the non-physical issues along with the physical suggests one must consider the effect of his thought.

Kathryn Thomas in the article, “How Quantum Physics Can Bring You Wealth, Better Health, and More Fulfilling Relationships” wrote: “Focus, with gratitude, on what is right about your health. Visualize your good health now, and the more good health you want. Avoid focusing on what is wrong with your health. For example, if you need to reduce pain, don’t think about how the pain hurts and how you want relief. Instead, think about the joy of being able to move every which way freely and easily.”

If, in fact, thinking impacts the material things around it, then it makes perfect sense that prayer can be helpful to our health. Prayer is a word that can have many meanings, but if such contemplative moments help bring a spiritualized perspective – based less in limiting paradigms, fads, or fears and proceeding more from an awareness of the whole-person – the state of our bodies will reflect that harmony.

Apparently there is no single silver bullet, but a series of ongoing key decisions that must work in harmony with one another if excellent health is to be achieved and maintained.

Article first published in Blogcritics

The Brain: Is it the Source of Health?

The Brain: Is it the Source of Health?

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by Don Ingwerson

President Obama has pledged $100,000,000 in his 2014 budget for new brain research according to the New York Times Editorial Board.  The ultimate aim is to learn how the brain generates thoughts, dreams, memories, perceptions, and other mental images.  Is it possible to measure something that may not reside in the brain but in a form of consciousness outside the material substance called the brain? To look at that question, I am reposting an article originally posted 12/10/12:

As a life-long educator, I get excited when new discoveries are made that show how to maintain health and be freer from physical and mental limitations. My most recent encouragement came from the new book Super Brain, which supports the idea that the brain is important to our health in a number of newly discovered ways.

These new research findings, about how the brain functions under stressful situations that affect health, are almost surreal. They show that the mind has great power to maximize health, happiness, and spiritual wellbeing. The use of these findings could go a long way towards preventing illnesses that have plagued humans for centuries – such as aging, Alzheimer’s, and memory loss – and they point to something many researchers have been saying for some time: that the mind-body connection is more than theory.

What authors Deepak Chopra and Rudolph E. Tanzi do in Super Brain is take the data of mind-body connections to another level. Through scientific evidence they show how the brain functions and how this functioning affects health. In contrast to the “baseline brain” that fulfills the tasks of everyday life, they suggest that through increased self–awareness the brain can be taught to reach far beyond its present limitations. Beliefs about the brain that tend to be limiting can be overcome by combining cutting-edge research with spiritual insights.

One reason scientists continue to search for the source of consciousness, or this higher brain function, is that qualities of thought like forgiveness, humor, and love have a positive impact on the body. Yet to date the search to find the material source for these healing qualities has been unsuccessful. Limiting consciousness research to laboratory analysis of brain tissue (where measurements are more quantifiable) could be inhibiting a full exploration and understanding of consciousness.

But many top scientists continue to search for answers about consciousness. Australian researcher David J. Chalmers, in a video called The Conscious Mind, asks, “How does the water of the brain turn into the wine of consciousness? How is it that all of this matter adds up to something as complex, as interesting, and as unique as consciousness?” And evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins was asked, “What is the one question you most want to see answered?” He replied, “How does subjective consciousness work? How does it evolve?”

Is it possible there’s value in looking in a different direction than biomedical and body-based research to areas that are more subjective and metaphysical?

“In the areas of health and wellbeing, research shows that how we express ourselves spiritually definitely matters. Whom we affiliate with…whether we make time for regular devotion, what we believe, the strength of our faith…these things contribute to whether we become ill or stay well,” claims Jeff Levin in God, Faith and Health: Exploring the Spirituality-Healing Connection.

This idea that spiritual thought affects health was shown recently when a friend of mine, who was suffering from terror dreams, decided to use prayer as his alternative medicine. The biblical statement, “Preserve me, O God: for in thee do I put my trust” (Psalms 16:1) was very meaningful and helpful. This spiritual thought, along with, “The divine Mind that made man maintains His own image and likeness,” expressed in the book, Science & Health with Key to the Scriptures, gave him the prayerful strength to overcome this mental suffering. He was healed from the condition overnight and hasn’t had a relapse. Of course, there are many who would say that the correlation between his healing and prayer is too subjective. How can we be sure how he got better? But many, including Chopra, Tanzi, and my friend, are convinced that there is a link to a source – my friend would call it God, others might call it consciousness – that produces positive healing results.

Many individuals are turning to alternative and complementary medicines in their own search for healing. They, like researchers and others, may not be able to identify the source of their healings, but they tend to know when they are physically and mentally well. Maybe researchers will find proof that consciousness is more than matter, evolved from a higher source, and Dawkins’ question will be answered.

Step by step, physicians and material scientists such as Chopra and Tanzi, as shown in Super Brain, have been prodding us to ask what constitutes the qualities we deem healthy by demonstrating that qualities of thought have a positive impact on bodily wellbeing. But if faith in matter is a barrier to the kind of thinking that heals, could that suggest why solely a search of matter for consciousness keeps coming up short?

Article first published in Blogcritics