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healthy th(ink)ing by KeithWommack
Keith Wommack
Mar 28, 2012 | 5713 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

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My secret to a healthy body
by KeithWommack
May 27, 2014 | 3322 views | 0 0 comments | 212 212 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
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When in high school, I experimented, not with drugs, but with something quite different. My interest was not the norm. I wanted to see how long I could focus on divine concepts throughout the day.

Why?

I had become intrigued with the idea that spiritual thinking could have a direct impact on health.

My experiment took place several decades ago before published studies revealed the positive mental and physical effects attributed to prayer and spiritual living.

Here’s a brief description of my results:

Day 1:  Got out of bed - ate a bowl of cereal - all the while, thinking about divine ideas. However, as soon as my brothers and I piled into our old ‘55 Chevy to head to school, I forgot all about the experiment.

Day 2:  Got out of bed - ate a bowl of cereal - all the while, thinking about divine ideas. Continued prayerful reasoning all the way to school. Unfortunately, as soon as the Chevy pulled into the parking lot, pondering anything close to being considered spiritual went out the window.

Yes, progress was slow. But, each day brought improvement.

Day 24:  I was aware of the metaphysical nature of life from the moment I lifted my head off the pillow in the morning until I laid my head back on the pillow at night.

Conclusion: It was possible to be active and yet be mindful of a divine presence and power throughout the day.

By-product of the experiment: The more I contemplated and reasoned through the spiritual significance behind everything in my life, the more I was to able to expect, demand, and witness health in others and experience it myself.

Today, years later, I consistently try to be mindful of the divine nature of things. However, I don’t beat myself up if I’m unable to be spiritually aware the whole day. I’m just grateful that I can quickly “plug in” and utilize divine power when it is needed.

The Apostle Paul, taking cues from Jesus, healed physical problems because of his acquired spiritual sense. Then he encouraged others to “pray without ceasing.” To be unceasing calls for effort. But, as I’ve found, the effort brings results.

Since my high school experiment, I’ve learned:

When it comes to helping yourself, Jesus counseled, “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will put on.”

Of course, you should never neglect human needs; Jesus fed himself, his students, and thousands who followed him. His point: What you focus on will impact your health, for better or worse. Spiritual wisdom helps you choose the better.

Rather than a fearful fixation and expectation of pain and suffering based on material laws, objects, and sensations, it may be more beneficial to learn and cherish that you are a divine being and subject to spiritual laws. The more you consider yourself as divinely created and maintained, the more the body becomes subordinate to your growing spiritual understanding.

Now, it’s your turn: Go ahead, grab breakfast, jump into an old ‘55 Chevy, and even when distractions come, never stop contemplating what benefits you the most.

Whether it’s Day 24 or 104, you too can “pray without ceasing.”

– 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

@KeithWommack

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Want a healthy body? Learn to listen
by KeithWommack
Apr 29, 2014 | 1910 views | 0 0 comments | 30 30 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
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Admit it. You’re a lousy listener.

Don’t fret. I used to be one, but I’ve been fine-tuning my skill, and you can too.

I believe, you’ll want to improve your listening because good listeners have fulfilling relationships and are more apt to experience good health.

Regarding relationships, as you look to improve your listening ability, there are destructive behavioral habits you’ll need to be aware of and abandon. (Several habits detailed in Are you really listening?: Keys to Successful Communication – Donoghue & Siegel)

Rude - Do you interrupt others while they speak? If you make the moment about you, you’re not listening, not considering another’s thoughts and feelings, and you’re certainly not being courteous. Rudeness is an unhealthy behavior for a relationship.

Savior - Do you give others undivided attention because you believe you’re the one to solve their problems? When you think of yourself as a savior, you can’t hear the real need or come up with sound solutions. You merely add to their challenges.

Target - Do you stop listening when you perceive another’s words to be critical of you? Low self-esteem flows from a victim-mentality and this self-centeredness takes offense at everything said, turning it inward. When you’re a target, you miss the point of conversations. It’s hard to listen when you’re defensive.

Waiter - You don’t interrupt, but you don’t listen either. You just wait. You don’t really care what others say. You just want them to stop talking so you can begin. It’s all about you.

Recognizing these habits to be wrong enables you to challenge and replace them with the building blocks that nourish relationships: love and respect.

So, how can improved listening skills benefit your health? Perhaps, a link between spirituality and health provides the answer.

The University of Michigan Health System recently reported, “Scientific researchers and clergy alike believe in the positive relationship between spirituality and health. Regardless of the religion, evidence points to a connection between the two.”

The building blocks of love and respect are vital to relationships because they are spiritual qualities. You express them because you are spiritual, whether you know it or not. Just as love and respect are spiritual qualities, health, as well, is being considered more as a spiritual quality or spiritual state of being rather than a material condition.

This is why your mental state affects your physical state, and, as well, why good health requires good listening. The more you listen to the divine as you pray, the more your body will express divine order and harmony.

If you are a poor listener to family and friends, most likely, you’re also closed-minded to the inspirations from Spirit. This listening deficiency is harmful because only in the stillness of prayer do you receive the spiritual ideas and power that produce healing.

Again, consider abandoning hurtful behavioral habits in order to improve your health.

Rude - Do you interrupt the divine? If you make every moment about your problems and wants, you’re not listening, not considering how spiritually loved and cared for you are, right now. Studies show that those who pray (really listen) are happier and healthier.

Savior - When you believe you’re a savior, you usually don’t hear the real need or find the right solution. Even Jesus said, “I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.” He demonstrated that humility and selflessness lead to a spiritual mastery of mind and body.

Target - Do you stop listening because you’re convinced the divine doesn’t approve of you or has lost sight of you? You are Spirit’s image and likeness. You’re consistently loved and adored. As you begin to listen, you’ll learn how special you are, and improvements will follow.

Waiter – Perhaps, you don’t interrupt the Supreme Being, but you also don’t listen. You just wait. It’s time to consider that nothing happens in a waiting room. Everything happens at the moment when divine inspiration is heard. Stop looking to impress Spirit with your sorrows. Your remedy rests in what Spirit is saying about life and health.

Since good health requires good listening, I find this quote helpful: “In order to pray aright, we must enter into the closet and shut the door. We must close the lips and silence the material senses. In the quiet sanctuary of earnest longings, we must deny sin and plead God’s allness. … The Master’s injunction is, that we pray in secret and let our lives attest our sincerity. Self-forgetfulness, purity, and affection are constant prayers.” (Mary Baker Eddy – Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures)

As important as listening is to building fulfilling relationships, even more so, listening is critical when it comes to gaining and maintaining physical health. Good health requires good listening. Why not begin right now?

– 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

@KeithWommack

 

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Top Apps Heal Mind and Body
by KeithWommack
Apr 07, 2014 | 1944 views | 0 0 comments | 54 54 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
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Do you want to control your own health care? If so, you’re not alone. A societal shift to a more patient-centered, empowered care is taking place.

Influential game changers in this adjustment, allowing people to play a more active role in their health care, are computer tablets and smart phones, as health apps are being downloaded daily.

Health apps can count your steps, carbohydrates, and calories. They can track your diet and heart rate, as well as log your nutrition. One app even attempts to shame you with a snarky voice when you gain weight instead of lose it.

However, if you really desire added control over your health, you might consider a few Bible apps.

Yes, Bible apps. Studies show prayer and spirituality benefit both mind and body.

Whether you utilize spirituality when medical treatment cannot reach you quickly or as a first choice for health care, Bible apps are invaluable.

I’ve found 5 Bible apps helpful:

  • Bible Gateway -- Offers the choice of scriptural texts in 34 different translations, as well as the ability listen to the Bible.
  • GoVerse – Includes inspirational quotes from the Bible and Mary Baker Eddy's writings under everyday topics such as: Body, Confidence, Crisis, Depression, Health, Relationships, Success. You can share quotes by text, email, Twitter, and Facebook. (Mary Baker Eddy is the author of the best-selling spiritual guidebook Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures)
  • Bible  -- This Olive Tree app enables you to build a robust reference library of Bible versions, dictionaries, and commentaries.
  • Glo Bible – Provides five main lenses to learn about the Bible: Bible texts, an atlas, a timeline, biblical pictorials, and topical studies.

The experiences of many show these apps to be beneficial as Bible verses can be pain-busters and healers.

For example: One evening, a woman called me. Earlier that day, she’d swept up pieces of glass from a broken window. Without knowing, tiny glass fragments had blown into her eyes. Hours later, she was in extreme pain.

She wanted my help. I opened the Bible and read the Beatitudes to her. Jesus opened the Sermon on the Mount with these guiding principles.

As I read, I could hear moaning. However, when I reached the end of the verses, the woman’s pain had lessened.

Then I started over. Reading through them a second time, I felt a sense of peace and a deep certainty that health was present. Through experience, I’ve learned that these are mental signs of healing taking place.

When I finished the second reading, her pain was completely gone. The woman was free.

Scriptural verses quiet thought and reduce stress. They empower the reader to let go of fear and pain. Perhaps, this is the ultimate of patient-centered care, patients in control of their health.

Yes, there are apps that enable you to take a more active role in your health care. Give them a try. You might be pleasantly surprised.

 -- 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

@KeithWommack

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Ridiculously small steps lead to a healthier lifestyle
by KeithWommack
Mar 18, 2014 | 1967 views | 0 0 comments | 70 70 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
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Today, living a healthier lifestyle is at the top of many wish lists.

The good news is that eating fresh foods, getting off the couch and exercising more, and making time to pray and read scripture contribute to better minds and bodies. And, perhaps, the spiritual activities could be the most beneficial for your long-term health.

Unfortunately, the bad news is that most people have trouble following through with any program of healthy activities.

Why?

Because even though we can be motivated, this motivation carries us only so far. Utilizing willpower, as well, causes us to fall short.

Why do these fail us when they bring hope in the beginning?

Motivation and willpower fail us because they are not strong enough to override the bad habits we unconsciously continue in.

The apostle Paul ran into a similar problem. He recognized, “The good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.”

When frustration and discouragement set in, a new approach is needed.

This is why I was intrigued while reading Surprisingly Unstuck: The Power of Small Healthy Habits, In a World Addicted to Instant Results. In Unstuck, Maria Brilaki talks about the limits of motivation and willpower, and the might of small steps.

Apparently, when Brilaki, the founder of Fitness Reloaded, refers to small steps, she means “ridiculously small steps

An example of creating a habit, as Brilaki states in her book, could be the simple steps of  “just marching in front of your TV for 30 [seconds] every day. The easier a task is, the faster you will make it a habit (plus the fewer repetitions you are going to need). Marching in front of your TV could be a habit in 1-2 weeks.”

If you want to apply the same concept to spiritual growth, a ridiculously small step could be: Every time you think about food (from carrot cake to carrot sticks), you could ponder the significance of the line in the Lord’s Prayer, “Give us this day our daily bread.” You could even reflect on, for added measure, a spiritual sense of the line written by Mary Baker Eddy, “Give us grace for today; feed the famished affections.” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures)

You’d be utilizing the thought of food to spiritually nourish yourself and others.

Why just 30 seconds and two spiritual sentences? Because, according to Brilaki, “ridiculously small steps” create unconscious habits which lead to a healthier lifestyle. 

Notice how these steps were tied to triggers – watching TV and a thought of food.

Tying the ridiculously small steps to deeds done throughout the day allow healthy actions to become part of your daily routine, without even thinking about them. Building healthy habits brings longer lasting results. Brilaki writes, “Even though most people think they need more motivation, [what] they actually need are easier tasks and more triggers to do the right activities.”

Brilaki also explains the importance of preparation. “Note that any healthy endeavor is never as easy as it seems at first. There are always implicit tasks that need to be taken care of.”

Whether its buying, washing, slicing, and placing fruit where it can easily be seen and eaten, placing running shoes by the door where they will grab your attention when you arrive home from work, or attaching sticky notes containing inspiring quotes to your bathroom mirror, each task prepares you for success.

In the Forward to Unstuck, Maria Brilaki writes, “This book is about transformation.” Although Brilaki’s book is chiefly confined to physical outcomes, her strategies can also be used to attain spiritual transformations. And this is what intrigues me the most.

Why?

Because spirituality is the power that directs thought patterns that are mentally and physically beneficial. Spirituality, rather than motivation and willpower, takes us all the way and causes us to succeed. And spiritual wisdom leads society to the proper balance of activity and nutriment.   

If you want a healthier lifestyle, prepare and then take action. Perhaps, “ridiculously small steps” are how we “surprisingly” find ourselves “unstuck” and become aware of how we are meant to live.

 -- 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

@KeithWommack

 

 

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What stops you from being healthy?
by KeithWommack
Feb 10, 2014 | 1595 views | 0 0 comments | 42 42 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
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Will World-class competition and the medaling of champions keep you watching the 2014 Winter Olympics? Or will you watch in anticipation of barriers and limitations being shattered?

When it comes to breakthroughs and victories, though, you don’t just have to witness Shaun White pull off a Double McTwist 1260 (a snowboarding feat), you too can be an achiever, a champion.

Yes, your victories may start out smaller than Sochi gold, but in the long run, they may actually be more beneficial to you.

While practicing the guitar and learning languages, I’ve noticed a phenomenon that might help explain how you can shatter limiting expectations.

In order to master a guitar riff or learn a phrase, I sometimes struggle for days or weeks with no progress. Then, out of the blue, I experience a breakthrough. One minute I can’t, and then the next, I can. What couldn’t be done before now seems natural, as if I’d always had the know-how.

How does this happen? Well, I’m learning that each of us has conscious control over our experience; I was simply failing to recognize and use it.

I’m convinced that this shows, in a small way, the mental nature of things, and your and my untapped, dynamic individualities. It tells me that if we refuse to yield to discouragement, persistence will be rewarded. The real barrier to progress is a belief. And we can take control and exchange believing I can’t for understanding I can.

Each Olympic athlete certainly puts resolve into action and destroys the fears and doubts that would keep them sidelined. As well, when I can’t yields to I can, you are able to achieve too.

Fortunately, and possibly more importantly, the phenomenon of sudden breakthroughs is not confined to languages, music, and sports. It also takes place in health care. I believe it is the mental as well as the spiritual nature of life and health that enables similar progress.

For example: Cory, a sophomore pitcher with The University of Texas varsity baseball squad was a student in my Christian Science Sunday School class. I had the opportunity to watch Cory pitch several times.

During a game, after delivering a pitch, the ball was batted directly back at him. Cory caught the line drive, however, not with his glove, but with his bare hand. The next day the hand was swollen and he couldn’t grip a ball. An x-ray revealed a fracture.

Cory was to pitch again in four days. And, although a doctor and his coach felt that his taking the mound for this next scheduled appearance was impossible, Cory knew from experience that prayer was a silent, mental force that could help.

Cory had planned to take a seven-hour trip to his girlfriend’s cottage. Despite the injury, he followed through with his plans. While he travelled, he prayed – affirming that he was a spiritual being and lived to express divine soundness and action. He refused to accept that he could be sidelined.

Through years of reading the Bible and applying spiritual ideas in his life, Cory had learned that it was possible to correct physical difficulties with a thought-shift. He had conscious control over his own experience, and could use it. Breakthroughs took place not with a human “mind over matter” approach, but by acknowledging a divine influence present in consciousness that generated betterment.

Just as I can’t yields to I can, inspired perseverance helps erode the seeming solidity of an I am hurt belief. And when I am hurt yields to I am well, you are well. It’s as if you were being reminded that you have always been sound.

As Cory prayerfully reasoned, he felt a change take place. When he arrived at the cottage, he knew the healing was complete. He went swimming and fishing, and wrestled with his girlfriend’s brothers.

When he returned, to satisfy his coach, the hand was x-rayed again. The doctor said he’d never seen anything like it. The hand was healed. And when Cory pitched again a few days later, he struck out seven of the eight batters he faced.

Perhaps for you, the end of an unyielding difficulty seems impossible or far away. However, in regard to health, just as in music, languages, and sports, -- the beliefs/barriers that would stop you from being healthy can be erased. What before seemed obstinate no longer has to remain formidable. There is a divine reason for confidence and conscious control.

Yes, for the Olympic athletes, each transition from I can’t to I can is impressive and gratifying to witness. So, consider allowing their accomplishments to motivate you to achieve your own victories.

 -- 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

@KeithWommack

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Happiness - Healthy Body and Spirit
by KeithWommack
Feb 03, 2014 | 1687 views | 0 0 comments | 47 47 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
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While Bob and I were waiting for an elevator at the VA Hospital in West Los Angeles, Bob began chatting with someone walking by. While the two of them were deep in conversation, a retired general stepped up and asked, “Are you with Bob?”

I said, “Yes, I’m his son-in-law.”

The general looked me in the eye, as possibly only generals can do, reached out, took hold of my shirtsleeve, and said, “That man makes life worth living.” He meant it.

A few minutes later, I helped Bob onto a bus for a ride over to another VA building. Once he was seated, the bus driver came over, started shaking his head, as possibly only bus drivers who have seen-it-all can do, and said, “He is the greatest. He always brightens my day.” He also meant it.

Robert Milne Yates, or Bob as most everyone knew him, was a walking dispensary of joy. Everywhere he went he touched lives. Perhaps, we could say that he was a healer, of sorts.

In making the case for considering Bob a healer, perhaps I should toss the findings of researchers into the mix. The physical health benefits of laughter have been reported as boosting immunity, lowering stress hormones, decreasing pain, relaxing muscles, and preventing heart disease.

Additionally, studies have shown the mental health benefits of laughter to be increased zest for life, easing of anxiety and fear, relief from stress, improved mood, and enhanced resilience.

When I think of all the people impacted by Bob’s jovial nature, it is hard for me to calculate the positive mental and physical health outcomes he may have brought about.

Bob’s affect on others raises questions about how happiness can have such an impact on health. Is happiness beneficial because happiness is a conscious spiritual state? And if happiness is spiritual, does happiness allow health to be recognized as a spiritually sound and predictable experience or condition?

Bob played drums with various orchestras before World War II. Therefore, during the war, in addition to his weapon, he carried a set of drumsticks as he and the First Armored Division Band entertained fellow soldiers in Ireland, England, North Africa, and Italy.

However, while in North Africa, Bob was injured while diving into a foxhole to avoid enemy fire. But this never stopped him from remaining active and putting smiles on other’s faces.

It was as if he innately understood that happiness is not tied to circumstances, and that we are driven to seek happiness and health, not from a material, but from a spiritual sense of life.

If health is ultimately a spiritual condition, why can’t a supreme Spirit maintain it? Spirit inspired the prophet Jeremiah to write, I will restore you to health. I will heal your wounds." Apparently, Spirit meant it.

I realize no governing body will ever throw a posthumous doctoral degree Bob’s way. However, if you can touch the heart of a general and the soul of a bus driver, you have done some good.

Like Bob, can’t you and I spread happiness? Can’t we have a kind word for everyone and take a genuine interest in the lives of those we meet? If we care enough to express the happiness that shows life to be worth living, perhaps, we too will be healers.

– 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

@KeithWommack

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Twin Research - Stop surrendering to genetics - Start controlling bodily health
by KeithWommack
Jan 27, 2014 | 1214 views | 0 0 comments | 34 34 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
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Are you an identical twin?

If so, perhaps, you know what I mean when I say that at times, the twin thing can get ridiculous. For example: A woman once asked if my identical twin and I were brothers. We told her, “We’re twins.” Then she inquired, “How long have you been twins?”

As well, my brother’s senior-class picture was not included in our high school yearbook. The editor of the book assumed he was viewing two pictures of me and deleted one. Our mother was not pleased.

Despite the weirdness that surrounds twins at times, researchers believe that there are important answers to health questions being learned from the genetic study of twins.

What interests me about twin studies, besides being a twin myself, is that some encourage a deeper look into what allows you and me to control our own wellbeing.

Genetics portrays existence as shaped into preordained patterns and limits by the chromosomal linkups initiated at conception. But are dominant and recessive genes really the authority when it comes to determining health?

If yes, why do those who forgive, initiate kindness, and expect goodness have better health, as so many studies now confirm? Is it better genes or is it improved moral integrity and spiritual understanding that make for the best health?

Liz Banks-Anderson in an article for The Age writes about a recent forum: Twins - changing the future of genetics. Banks-Anderson states, “Despite possessing shared genes twins can and do have significantly different health and identities.”

She also writes that the forum’s Keynote speaker Professor Tim Spector, a UK expert from London’s Kings College, told attendees that twins show us that we are not captive to our genes.

Spector stated, “Many of the subtle differences between us appear now to be due to chance or fate, but as science rapidly evolves and explains current mysteries we will be able to become more active participants in this human moulding process.”

Being a twin (all my life!), it’s been natural for me to feel comfortable and connected with another. When it comes to my relationship with my brother, and as we were growing up, I always thought in terms of one, not two.

For example: Until my brother got married, he and I shared one bank account. We never kept track of who made deposits or withdrawals. The concept of separateness was foreign to us.

This type of subordination of self, I feel, helped me to be receptive of my unity with a higher intelligence and power. And because of this, I’m learning that the way you and I are shaped is more divine oriented than we may have imagined.

Learning that you can play a major role in your own health care by recognizing and embracing that you have been created spiritually, as a reflection of the divine rather than genetically constructed, may seem foreign. But by doing this, you can liberate yourself from the preordained limits, illnesses, and defects that genetics would impose.

Of course, you don’t have to be a twin to have a keen sense of your closeness with the divine. Twin or not, you can stop regarding yourself as doomed by a programmed combination of chromosomes and start relaxing in the knowledge that you are a healthy spiritual being.

Jesus, I believe, healed genetic difficulties utilizing this method, as did his disciples. This type of practice continues even today.

When my brother and I were teenagers, his girlfriend at the time gave him a belt as a present. Since we shared just about everything, I began wearing it. She got mad. This is when we learned that others often have a hard time comprehending how twins interact.

Just as twin behavior is often misinterpreted, it may be difficult to understand and accept that a spiritual sense of life enables you to control bodily health. But, since twin research is revealing that you are not captive to genes, couldn’t this be the perfect opportunity to discover an even greater and more dynamic concept of life and wellbeing?

– 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

Twitter: @KeithWommack

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Beat illness – Build a healthy body – like Chuck Norris
by KeithWommack
Jan 13, 2014 | 1262 views | 0 0 comments | 37 37 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
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Chuck Norris pummels his enemies and opponents. When it comes to martial arts and his acting roles in television and films (Walker, Texas Ranger/Delta Force), Norris knows how to take care of business.

You may have seen him act and, perhaps, talk about exercise (Total Gym), but did you know that Norris also speaks about spirituality walloping pain and disease?

In a recent syndicated column, Norris answered the question: “Last week, you cited a Stanford University Professor (Tanya Marie Luhrmann), who proposed that going to church was good for one’s health. You never mentioned why. So, why?”

Norris’ reply shows he’s convinced that spirituality packs a punch. He wrote, “Dr. Luhrmann …explained in The New York Times: ‘Religious attendance … boosts the immune system and decreases blood pressure. It may add as much as two to three years to your life. … Increasingly, … studies bear out this observation that the capacity to imagine a loving God vividly leads to better health.”

Asking and answering the question, “Does spirituality and church produce healthier people or do healthy people merely attend church?” Norris shared that a study by Dr. William Strawbridge “proved for the first time that churches, synagogues, mosques or Buddhist monasteries helped create good health behavior, rather than simply attracting people who already took better care of themselves.”

Norris may be the picture of material strength and power but from what I can tell, he recognizes the importance of identifying with his spiritual nature to achieve ultimate health and longevity.

What makes church so medicinal is that it’s not really a building made of walls, windows, and doors. Church is a manifestation of the love that is alive in the hearts of those who care for their neighbors. Church is helpful because each member’s love is an individual expression of the divine Love.

Again, church cannot be confined to a building. This spiritual sense of “church,” along with its beneficial influence, blesses you no matter where you are or what you are doing. However, a healing church must be comprised of people who love enough to make God’s government and His love available to those who need them the most.

Like Chuck Norris, you can flex your spiritual muscles. As you pray and support a church for the benefit of others, you’ll be taking care of business, for spirituality packs a powerful punch.

– 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

Twitter: @KeithWommack

 
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Carlos Santana – Music heals and charisma screams
by KeithWommack
Dec 23, 2013 | 1309 views | 0 0 comments | 37 37 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
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Music is an integral part of our lives. It’s as if we yearn to be surrounded and inspired by rhythm and melody. One man who certainly knows how to help satisfy this yearning through his Afro-Latin-blues-rock fusion sound is Carlos Santana.

On Sunday, December 29, CBS will air the 2013 Kennedy Center Honors that were recorded last month. Santana is one of five honorees who will receive lifetime achievement accolades. The other accomplished recipients are: singer/songwriter Billy Joel, jazz pianist Herbie Hancock, actress Shirley MacLaine, and opera soprano Martina Arroyo.

The Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame’s website, states, “[Hall member] Guitarist Carlos Santana is one of rock’s true virtuosos and guiding lights.” His band has sold over 100 million records and earned 10 Grammy Awards, but, as well, Santana, himself, is a humanitarian and, maybe, most importantly, a spiritual thinker.

In a recent PBS NewsHour interview, Santana was asked, “You talk about spirituality. Is it your sense that music is a kind of spirituality?” Santana responded, “It's not kind. It’s 150 percent. Music was given to tame the beast, as they say in the Bible. You know, … fear and anger.”

The Bible describes how David, a shepherd and future king of Israel, had a real gift when it came to music. When King Saul was distressed, the king’s fear and anger were erased each time David performed on his harp.

Was it the music, by itself, that benefited Saul's mind and body or was there something else that animated David's healing melodies?

Yes, although David had a real gift when it came to music, his most significant talent, it might be considered, was his spiritual sense. David’s receptivity to the divine enabled him to perform soothing songs that healed.

Today, clinical studies reveal the same results David achieved. They show that music can be used as a therapy in treating depression, schizophrenia, autism, dementia, and substance abuse. Creating or listening to music can alleviate symptoms of mental illness and ease pain.

Santana also stated in his PBS interview, “Music is to glorify the light in you.”

Music doesn’t present a vague or general sense of harmony, but a specific divine expression, tangible to you, right now. The reason you react to a song’s beat and melody is because, first and foremost, you are spiritual. The beauty and energy expressed in music can remind you of the “light in you,” your radiant spiritual selfhood.

In the interview, Santana also stated, “I remember my dad playing violin.” Responding to the question of what he remembered about this, Santana replied, “It's a sound of screaming charisma.”

“Just the way he put his chin on the violin; just that alone, you are like, ah. And then when he would bow that note -- he taught me how to carry a melody.”

Long sustained guitar notes distinguish Santana’s World music sound. Such ability is as if the divine were giving us an extended taste of the harmony within us.

Instead of charisma being a selfish, personal sense that says, “Look at me!” it can be a divinely conferred and honed talent that, when individually expressed, blesses others.

Christian author and spiritual healer, Mary Baker Eddy, characterized the distinction appropriately, when she explained, “Music is divine. …and if the divine tone be lacking, the human tone has no melody for me. …Music is the harmony of being; but the music of Soul affords the only strains that thrill the chords of feeling and awaken the heart’s harpstrings.”

Will you watch this Sunday as Carlos Santana is honored? Certainly, his talent has blessed and will continue to bless many.

– 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

 

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Your health care provider desperately needs help
by KeithWommack
Dec 16, 2013 | 1402 views | 0 0 comments | 46 46 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
GLOW IMAGES - Model used for illustrative purposes
GLOW IMAGES - Model used for illustrative purposes
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Recently, Kenneth Pargament, PhD, shared troubling facts about the lives of health care providers:

  • 45.8 percent of physicians report at least one symptom of burnout; highest rate among those involved in frontline care (Shanafelt, 2012)
  • Physicians have twice the risk of suicide of general population
  • Each year, it would take the equivalent of 1 to 2 average size graduating classes of medical school to replace the number of physicians who kill themselves (Miller & McGowen, 2000)

As mentioned in my last column, the 22nd Annual Psychotherapy and Faith Conference was hosted by the Institute of Spirituality and Health at The Texas Medical Center in Houston.

Dr. Pargament, a professor of psychology at Bowling Green State University, was one of the conference speakers. His talk was titled Conversations with Eeyore: Spirituality and the Generation of Hope among Mental Health Providers.

Pargament explained that health care providers can be traumatized by what they see in their client’s lives. But, even though they may be traumatized, the sacred dimension (spirituality) of a client can lift them up. Attending to the spiritual aspects of clients can actually jumpstart both the lives of the client and the care provider. Pargament also stated that spirituality fosters the sense that something runs beneath what we see.

In my own healing practice, I’ve noticed that the human capacity for change and growth stem directly from spirituality. Why? Because a spiritual sense of existence enables us to focus on and demand order, balance, strength, and health rather than the limitations and fears of a material-based outlook.

What would happen to health care in general if a majority of providers discovered that they were consistently connected with and empowered by something divine? Would this spiritual advantage prompt a reduction in trauma, depression, and suicide among physicians and society as a whole?

The Wall Street Journal recently reported, “Nearly 70% of community hospitals surveyed in 2011 provided chaplaincy services, up from 62% in 2003, according to the American Hospital Association.”

If spiritual care is being offered to patients because of its recognized benefits, why aren’t providers requesting and receiving some form of spiritual care? Perhaps, it is because, until recently, voicing the words spirituality and health in the same sentence was taboo.

In 1977, Dr. Pargament gave his maiden talk about the relationship of religion and mental health to a university’s psychology department. Afterwards, the distinguished chairman of the department whispered to him, “I’m Catholic.”

Pargament describes what happened next, “Being trained as a clinical psychologist, I knew what to say. So, I leaned toward him and whispered back, “Oh.”

Then Pargament softly asked, “Why are we whispering?” The chairman said, “Well, you know, psychology, being Catholic, they don’t exactly mix.”

The chairman’s response was a sign of the times. In the 70’s, if you were in psychology or medicine, people whispered about spirituality and religion. Now, Pargament believes, “I can talk in full voice, which is a real gift.”

Today, the power of spirituality to improve lives is more recognized than ever. However, mountain ranges of ignorance, prejudice, and misconception still remain.

While writing about a wholly spiritual, prayer-based method of healing, Robert Peel, an American historian, and writer on religious and ecumenical topics, caught the essence of the resistance that those in psychology and medicine also have felt when mentioning, researching, and utilizing spirituality and its benefits.

Peel has written, “A determined skeptic is not likely to be convinced by any particular healing attributed solely to prayer. He or she may dismiss it on hypothetical grounds of coincidence, a misdiagnosis, spontaneous remission, the placebo effect, careless reporting on the facts, and so on. But what has happened to the heart and mind and spirit of the individual healed, and what the practitioner on the case may have seen and understood and felt while praying – these are experiential data quite beyond the cynic’s comprehension or calibration.”

During his conference presentation, Pargament quoted authors P. S. O’Grady and K. A. Richards, “I feel there is a mystical quality to the therapeutic process. In that I am referring to a third force. There’s the client, the therapist, and something else present.” (O’Grady & Richards, 2010, p.61)

Is it possible that Jesus’ care for both mental and physical difficulties set a precedent for effective spiritual treatment? Inspired reasoning reveals that your spiritual selfhood is progressively demonstrable in your human experience. The beneficial influence that the divine has on the human condition could be referred to as the Christ, -- “the third force.” This force is God’s curative power that Jesus utilized to heal others.

Pargament mentioned during the conference that it is better for providers to view clients as human beings rather than as objects. And, if I may move the bar a bit further, I feel it is preferable for providers to view themselves and their clients as spiritual beings. This allows both provider and client the freedom to view one another as a part of something vitally real and most importantly, sacred.

Pargament concluded his talk by sharing the importance of possible sacred moments in the healing relationship between providers and clients, as well as the consequences of these moments. He explained:

  • Sacred moments are not uncommon
  • Sacred moments are part of healing relationships
  • Sacred moments may be vital not only to clients but to healers

Consequences:

  • Stronger working alliance with provider
  • Reports of personal growth, transformation
  • Reports of greater self-efficacy
  • Reports of improvement to health
  • Greater sense of spiritual well-being
  • Reports of less depression

The aim of a health care provider is to improve each client’s life as much as possible. I believe, because of this high goal, each provider can feel the strength and peace of “the third force.”

Therefore, if the occasion arises, it may be helpful for you to share these statements with your provider:

  • It is the Christ in action when you feel relaxed and confident in the middle of an emergency.
  • It is the Christ-power that motivates your correcting words and authoritative tone as you speak to those needing guidance and moral direction.
  • It is the tender Christ that reveals to you the realness of spiritual being right where fear, pain, and disease describe your clients.
  • It is the Christ within you that enables everyone who meets you to be healthier and holier for having met you.

If you’re able to share with a full voice, instead of a whisper, you just might be helping your health care provider.

– 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

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