By KEITH WOMMACK — Why not consider utilizing spiritual practices the next time you face frightening challenges. Researchers are finding this exercise can yield beneficial rewards.
Mark Hyman, MD, in Calm Your Mind, Heal Your Body, writes “What is this critical factor that determines so much about how healthy or how sick you are? It is your attitude, your social life, your community, and your spiritual beliefs.”
Hyman also states, “…the most powerful pharmacy in the world … is right between your ears!”
Healthier lifestyles might be found, not only in what’s between your ears, but, most importantly, in what’s between you and your God.
Richard Schiffman, in a Huffington Post article, wrote, “Research at Dartmouth Medical School found that patients with strong religious beliefs who underwent elective heart surgery were three times more likely to recover than those who were less religious. A 2011 study of inner city youth with asthma by researchers at the University of Cincinnati indicates that those who practiced prayer and meditation experienced fewer and less severe symptoms than those who had not. Other studies show that prayer boosts the immune system and helps to lessen the severity and frequency of a wide range of illnesses.”
Schiffman also states, “A recent survey reported in the Journal of Gerontology of 4,000 senior citizens in Durham, NC, found that people who prayed or meditated coped better with illness and lived longer than those who did not.”
Does prayer always work?
I’ve never seen a single healer, whether a MD or spiritual health care provider, claim 100 percent success rates in their practices. But I do believe that as each patient and healer expresses more divine characteristics and prays frequently, better consistent care will be experienced.
And what are divine characteristics? Compassion, joy, humility, and forgiveness, to name a few, could be considered identifying features of a spiritual consciousness – a divine attitude. These characteristics don’t emanate from brains because they are not matter-based. They must start from God and be expressed.
So, what’s the next step? Practice and experience.
I had the privilege of meeting Richard Krummel, MDiv, PhD, several weeks ago. We discussed prayer and spiritual practices. Krummel gave me copy of his new book, Fear, Control, and Letting Go – How Psychological Principles and Spiritual Faith Can Help Us Recover From Our Fears.
I especially appreciate the last chapter of the book. There, Krummel shares 91 specific spiritual exercises. A few examples:
Saying Thank You. A wonderful priest I knew said that when he went to bed, he repeated “thank you,” sometimes for up to five minutes, as a way to put himself more in touch with the spiritual. He would then, sometimes for another five minutes, repeat “help me” as a way to acknowledge that he was not in charge of the universe.
Ego Check. Each time you look at your watch, ask yourself if your ego is getting in the way. Do you have something you believe you need to protect that is bigger than your connection with God? Do you want people and things to be the way you want them?
Bible meditation. Pick a Bible verse and meditate on it. Sometimes all you need is to open the Bible and begin to read. A verse will seem to jump out at you. Meditate on that one. Ask yourself what the verse might mean for your life.
Active listening. God is calling you always. God is crazy about you, His creation. Practice active listening to God’s messages and learn to say, as Samuel did in the Old Testament, “Here I am, Lord.” Listen; you are not alone.
Writing Yourself a Letter as if It Were From God. Write a letter to yourself, in the first person, that explains why God loves you. For example, “I love you because I created you. You are wonderful. I gave you many talents. I am always with you.” Put the letter and envelope, address it to yourself, put a stamp on it, and mail it. Take a few quiet minutes to open it and read it when it arrives back at your house.
Yes, the next step in healthier lifestyles might be found, not only in what’s between your ears, but, most importantly, in what’s between you and your God.
Of course, self-centered, devilish thoughts are cruel and often quite disruptive. That’s why selfless motives and spiritual maturity are necessary when it comes to wellbeing. They root out self-absorbed fears that can cause ill-health.
Each small transformation of character allows more of the divine attitude to govern your mental and physical care. Prayer is so important in this regard. It primes the pump in your spiritual growth. It enables you to discover that everything about you starts with God.
A change of attitude can change everything for the better.
– Keith Wommack is a Syndicated Columnist, Christian Science practitioner and teacher, husband, and step-dad. He has been described as a spiritual spur (since every horse needs a little nudge now and then). Keith’s columns originate at: KeithWommack.com