Healing Addiction by Filling the Spiritual Vacuum

Healing Addiction by Filling the Spiritual VacuumA guest post written by Robert Moran from Goleta, California

For the past several years I have had the opportunity to work with troubled college students as a part-time counselor. Being an active Christian Scientist for nearly forty years, I have come to understand how spiritual principles supersede all other healing methods – including in the field of addiction.Continue Reading

If It Heals You Does It Need to Be Measured?

© GLOW IMAGES

© GLOW IMAGES

In his Huffington Post piece my colleague and health writer Tony Lobl ponders an interesting point – If you cannot measure it, does it exist – and considers important “immeasurables” like spiritual healing experiences. He begins with what Dr. Brené Brown has to say.

“If you cannot measure it, it doesn’t exist,” Brené Brown was told by a research professor when still an aspiring PhD student.Continue Reading

Healing Addiction by Filling the Spiritual Vacuum

Healing Addiction by Filling the Spiritual Vacuum

© GLOW IMAGES Models used for illustrative purposes

A guest post written by Robert Moran from Goleta, California

For the past several years I have had the opportunity to work with troubled college students as a part-time counselor. Being an active Christian Scientist for nearly forty years, I have come to understand how spiritual principles supersede all other healing methods – including in the field of addiction. Most of the students I work with have been cited for being a minor in possession. As a first-offense diversionary tactic they have been sentenced to examine their relationship with drugs and alcohol by attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

Students sentenced to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings for these minor law infractions are usually told that they need to admit they are powerless over alcohol and/or drugs if they are to get any help from AA. They also must come to understand that addiction is an incurable illness, which will haunt them their entire lives.

But recently I read a wonderful article by Tony Lobl that clearly gave a higher view of man as untouched by addiction. Like Tony, I have learned through experience that an individual’s addiction is merely a symptom of an underlying spiritual vacuum. But someone can only perceive a seeming spiritual vacuum if s/he hasn’t gained a deeper understanding of man’s relationship to God as taught in Christian Science. Luckily AA readily admits on pg. 164 (the last page of their textbook) that they know only a little and that God will disclose more to them if their relationship to God is right. Mary Baker Eddy teaches us that God is all-powerful and that there can be no disease when we understand our relationship to the Divine. Each Christian Scientist would do the field of addiction a huge push forward if we support this idea in relation to addiction. Let us keep any perceived spiritual vacuum filled with the knowledge and understanding of God’s powerful healing ideas.

Restoring the Heart to Healthcare

Restoring the Heart to Healthcare

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Model used for illustrative purposes

by Don Ingwerson

This blog was originally published April 8, 2013, but I wanted to take another look at the importance of “heart” in healthcare after I read the July 8, 2013 Christian Science Sentinel article titled, “A Perfect Heart.” What struck me about that article is the mention that the word heart appears more than 700 times in the KJV Bible, but it almost never references a physical organ! Clearly heart is important as a spiritual concept.

“Mindfulness Meeting This Way” proclaimed a small sign at the entrance of one of the many medical buildings on the UCLA Campus – and suddenly I felt invigorated. I was not there to attend a mindfulness meeting, but to interview the GWish (George Washington Institute for Spirituality and Health) project director, Dr. Margaret Stuber, about a Templeton-funded study to promote spirituality and health in medicine and healthcare.

I was so encouraged by my first interview with Dr. Stuber over a year ago as the project was just getting under way, and we discussed prayer, shared decision-making, and accountability in patient-centered healthcare. Dr. Stuber had told me that the medical students were the hardest to convince that they were not the only decision-makers in caring for patients. So you can understand why I was so energized upon seeing the sign in this medical facility about mindfulness!

Spirituality and Health is a relatively new field in medicine and healthcare. “Historically,” says GWish project director Dr. Christina Puchalski, “healthcare in the United States was founded on spiritual values… Over the last 60 years medicine and healthcare have been challenged by the tremendous explosion of technological advances and by the reality of increasing costs. These challenges have overshadowed the primary mission of medicine and healthcare – to serve the whole person with care and compassion.” With this in mind, Dr. Puchalski feels the mission of GWish is to foster a more compassionate and caring healthcare system and restore the heart and humanity to healthcare.

While my questions to Dr. Stuber primarily focused on prayer, shared decision-making, and accountability, ideas we had discussed previously, Dr. Stuber preferred to integrate these elements into a focus on prevention and how to provide more economical and efficient healthcare. She also focused on lesser-used complementary and alternative therapies such as massage, diets, yoga, etc.

She stressed that this is the time for change in healthcare, with prevention as a major element in primary care treatment – and this effort would include elements of mindfulness. As these changes take place, she indicated that more accountability will also be included, with overall quality of patient health affecting the amount of remuneration that those who deliver services receive.

Just as the mindfulness meeting sign was the first thing I saw in the medical facility, I see spirituality included in much of the thinking of those creating new medical and healthcare curricula. As I left the interview and looked at the mindfulness meeting sign again, I was reminded that Mary Baker Eddy, 19th century health researcher and author of Science and Health, gave new meaning to spiritual needs in the area of health by advocating the use of prayer to address the needs of individuals – stressing mind, body, and spirit.

A colleague of mine in England observed, “When we stop seeing ourselves primarily as machines in need of fixing, a more holistic approach is emerging – one that celebrates a patient’s often overlooked understanding of their own needs and the best way to meet them.” If this is what mindfulness leads to, I know I will continue to feel excited and invigorated.

Article first published in Blogcritics.

Restoring the Heart to Healthcare

Restoring the Heart to Healthcare

© GLOW IMAGES
Model used for illustrative purposes

by Don Ingwerson

“Mindfulness Meeting This Way” proclaimed a small sign at the entrance of one of the many medical buildings on the UCLA Campus – and suddenly I felt invigorated. I was not there to attend a mindfulness meeting, but to interview the GWish (George Washington Institute for Spirituality and Health) project director, Dr. Margaret Stuber, about a Templeton-funded study to promote spirituality and health in medicine and healthcare.

I was so encouraged by my first interview with Dr. Stuber over a year ago as the project was just getting under way, and we discussed prayer, shared decision-making, and accountability in patient-centered healthcare. Dr. Stuber had told me that the medical students were the hardest to convince that they were not the only decision-makers in caring for patients. So you can understand why I was so energized upon seeing the sign in this medical facility about mindfulness!

Spirituality and Health is a relatively new field in medicine and healthcare. “Historically,” says GWish project director Dr. Christina Puchalski, “healthcare in the United States was founded on spiritual values… Over the last 60 years medicine and healthcare have been challenged by the tremendous explosion of technological advances and by the reality of increasing costs. These challenges have overshadowed the primary mission of medicine and healthcare – to serve the whole person with care and compassion.” With this in mind, Dr. Puchalski feels the mission of GWish is to foster a more compassionate and caring healthcare system and restore the heart and humanity to healthcare.

While my questions to Dr. Stuber primarily focused on prayer, shared decision-making, and accountability, ideas we had discussed previously, Dr. Stuber preferred to integrate these elements into a focus on prevention and how to provide more economical and efficient healthcare. She also focused on lesser-used complementary and alternative therapies such as massage, diets, yoga, etc.

She stressed that this is the time for change in healthcare, with prevention as a major element in primary care treatment – and this effort would include elements of mindfulness. As these changes take place, she indicated that more accountability will also be included, with overall quality of patient health affecting the amount of remuneration that those who deliver services receive.

Just as the mindfulness meeting sign was the first thing I saw in the medical facility, I see spirituality included in much of the thinking of those creating new medical and healthcare curricula. As I left the interview and looked at the mindfulness meeting sign again, I was reminded that Mary Baker Eddy, 19th century health researcher and author of Science and Health, gave new meaning to spiritual needs in the area of health by advocating the use of prayer to address the needs of individuals – stressing mind, body, and spirit.

A colleague of mine in England observed, “When we stop seeing ourselves primarily as machines in need of fixing, a more holistic approach is emerging – one that celebrates a patient’s often overlooked understanding of their own needs and the best way to meet them.” If this is what mindfulness leads to, I know I will continue to feel excited and invigorated.

Article first published in Blogcritics.

6 Ways to Build a Healthy Resolve

 

6 Ways to Build a Healthy Resolve

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Resolving to make changes for the better is a good idea any time of the year…but each New Year helpfully reminds us of that fact! Tony Lobl’s Huffington Post UK blog “Keeping on Track With Those ‘New Year’ Resolutions – 6 Ways t0 Build a Healthy Resolve” was posted last year, but its message is still a good place to start.

Resolve is a key quality in character reform.

But taking it out of the airing cupboard one day a year isn’t necessarily a great recipe for success. In order to turn around an unwanted character trait it can help to develop our resolve through a more consistent spiritual practice.

Here are six things that can help that happen.

1. Watching for will-power. That is, watching out for it. Why? Well, think of those lemmings! Will-power says “If I want it, I can get it”. Spirituality takes a step back to examine whether the desired goal is a healthy one to be harbouring in the first place. Is it just for one’s own benefit or will it be of value to others too? Maintaining resolve is a whole lot easier when it is applied to something we intuitively feel will also serve a greater good.

2. Listening for “a still, small voice”. That is how the Bible beautifully articulates the idea of perceiving and embracing a broader, wiser perspective that is always whispering within. We hear it as we are willing to set aside our own plans and lean on the divine to point out a better direction. This builds a solid foundation for resolve, because when it works from the outset it gives us a basis for confidence we can stay the course, knowing at every step of the way we will have access to that same intuitive resource.

3. Embrace change. What if change is like a patient visitor repeatedly knocking on the door of our thought, waiting to be welcomed in? Did Michelangelo catch a glimpse of this when he said of the stone he sculpted: “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free”? Couldn’t the very desire to change suggest we each have an inner “sculpture” just waiting to be seen – an individuality including all life’s best qualities, such as love, joy, intelligence, creativity, freedom and kindness. Having that in mind as a model demanding to take form reinforces the conviction we are empowered to reach our goal – one that is not so much a New Year’s resolution as a “new you” resolution at any time of the year.

4. Go easy on yourself. I’ve found self-forgiveness is a powerful ally of resolve, and often opens the way to achieving our aims. I once overslept through an important appointment and was mentally condemning myself until I glimpsed a need to be less self-critical. I felt inspired to take a walk in Kew Gardens, which I hadn’t visited for years, and promptly bumped into the very person I was meant to have met that morning. We conducted and concluded our business then and there. What if we are tempted to feel we’ve “slept through” countless opportunities to improve our lot? Rather than thinking we are prisoners of the past we can acknowledge our freedom to see the unwavering possibilities of the present.

5. Patience is more than just a virtue. It is actually a force for good when the going gets tough, as it probably will. Our unwanted character traits sometimes seem to have a voice of their own, persistently arguing their corner. We have to be as patient with ourselves as a parent would be in encouraging a child to reach its full potential. It is love that drives the patience in both cases. We value ourselves enough to stick with the process until we are free.

6. A “new you” is a healthier you. Character reform and health reform go hand in hand. In many ways this is taken for granted. For instance, it is accepted that moderating a drinking habit is going to improve health. But the links between character and well-being go much deeper than just effecting a change in our actions. Changing thought can be pivotal. Researchers have found traits like bitterness, bad temper and resentment can undermine health, while their opposites promote it. So becoming more forgiving, patient and persistent to bring about change doesn’t just remove a single undesirable characteristic at the end of a process of transformation. It also exercises a wealth of prescription-free, health-giving qualities throughout the process. And by evidencing a link between our thoughts and our well-being we might just be probing whether “healthy and free” is what we are divinely “sculpted” to be.

Change for change’s sake is not desirable. But change which is desirable for the sake of our own happiness and that of others is attainable.

Whether it is something in our characters or something about our health that needs improving, we don’t have to pay homage to the status quo. We are equipped with the resolve we need to ring in the changes.

Follow Tony Lobl on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@tonylobl

Steps to a Healthier Christmas

Steps to a Healthier Christmas

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by Don Ingwerson

I shared “12 Spiritual Steps to a Healthier Christmas,” written by Tony Lobl (UK Committee on Publication), last year, but I thought it was definitely worth sharing again because Thanksgiving is just a couple of days away and then we will be into the Christmas season. Also, check out the comments at the end of Tony’s article, especially Bob Eklund’s haiku! He’s the assistant committee for the Inglewood-Westchester church.

Click here to read Tony’s article: 12 Spiritual Steps to a Healthier Christmas