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healthy th(ink)ing by KeithWommack
Keith Wommack
Mar 28, 2012 | 3581 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

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Ridiculously small steps lead to a healthier lifestyle
by KeithWommack
Mar 18, 2014 | 1486 views | 0 0 comments | 66 66 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 | 1155 views | 0 0 comments | 38 38 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 | 1210 views | 0 0 comments | 43 43 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 | 849 views | 0 0 comments | 30 30 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 | 901 views | 0 0 comments | 33 33 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 | 939 views | 0 0 comments | 33 33 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 | 984 views | 0 0 comments | 42 42 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
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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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“Spirituality and depression are one journey” - Dr. Lisa Miller
by KeithWommack
Nov 25, 2013 | 1083 views | 0 0 comments | 57 57 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
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Adult depression is a significant problem, a problem that is being widely acknowledged. Adolescent depression is also being studied closely, as more and more children appear to show signs of despair.

Although parents may not be able to determine whether a child is merely going through a short-term behavioral phase or whether the child is experiencing depression, there is a consensus that children should be helped, and quickly.

The National Institute of Mental Health is educating the public. The Institute’s website explains, “The depressed child may pretend to be sick, refuse to go to school, cling to a parent, or worry that the parent may die. Older children may sulk, get into trouble at school, be negative, grouchy, and feel misunderstood.”

Beneficial studies show that, perhaps, a surprising correlation exists that can be helpful to those suffering.

On November 16, The Spirituality of Hope and Healing: Seeking the Sacred in the Midst of Despair was the theme for the 22nd Annual Psychotherapy and Faith Conference hosted by the Institute of Spirituality and Health at the Texas Medical Center in Houston.

One of the speakers, Lisa Miller, PhD, presented her talk Spirituality Protects Against Recurrence of Depression: Science at Multiple Levels of Analysis.

Dr. Miller is Professor and Director of Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College, where she founded and directs the Spirituality Mind Body Institute. She is also the Associate Editor of Psychology of Religion and Spirituality and Co-Founder and Co-Editor-in-Chief of the new journal Spirituality in Clinical Practice.

During her presentation, Miller shared that a ten-year study on religiosity and major depression revealed that despair was often correlated with spiritual awakening. She mentioned that those on spiritual quests sound very similar to those suffering with depression.

“Suffering,” Miller said, “is a direct porthole to spiritual awakening. Spirituality and depression are essentially one journey. And those who experience spiritual awakenings are ninety percent less likely to suffer depression again.”

Dr. Miller spoke in Houston of the neuro-correlates of spirituality. She mentioned studies that showed how spirituality improved brain functions. She also shared that the brain patterns of study participants who had symptoms of depression showed similar activity between those given Prozac and those utilizing forms of spirituality.

Miller also explained that girls’ outward signs of puberty grew in sync with their becoming more aware of the sacred. Spirituality and depression co-emerged.

Miller then asked conference attendees how they could help adolescents with developmental depression. And she answered for them, “We must support their spiritual emergence. Their quest must be taken seriously.”

During the presentation, Dr. Miller explained that an adolescent’s spirituality emerges first with close relationships.

Miller explained the importance of adolescents having a spiritual guide, someone to help them through the coming of age process. The child turns to a guide to form a map, the meaning of life.

Whether the guide is a parent or not, the crucial element in this help is love. Miller shared, “The taste of love is more powerful than anything said. Encouragement, not measurement; love instead of judgment is needed.”

Again, Miller told attendees that an adolescent’s spirituality emerges first with a close relationship. These relationships may be formed with another person, with nature, or directly with their Deity.

I have always felt that children yearn for a close relationship with the divine. They do so because they are, first and foremost, spiritual beings. And the divine source of love reveals itself to each child in ways that the child can feel and understand.

Dr. Miller provided several case-study writings by adolescents.

19 year-old Lamar, wrote, “I love about my moms, no matter what, she always wanted to help me. Wow. She be bustin’ her butt, working night shift…come home, and she still take care of me, even though practically I’m a grown man. But I’m still with my moms, and still under her roof, respecting her, and abiding by her rules. But she always wanted to help me. Always. That’s great. Always.”

Perhaps, it could be said that Lamar’s spiritual experience and unity with the divine was expressed as the love and dedication of his mother’s selfless giving.

Another teenager wrote, “I get up at 5am to go surfing. Watch the sun rise. I feel of the water and stuff like the power of the waves. And knowing that you’re somewhat taming the waves when you’re like riding it and it wasn’t meant…I don’t know if it was…but like it wasn’t purposely…you riding the waves. And…you have to get in the flow of the wave and it’s like fluidity and rhythm and stuff like that, which is fun. It makes you like you’re a part of the wave. It’s a natural flow.”

Lamar’s relationship with the divine was through his mother. This teenager’s connection was through his appreciation of nature. His feeling of oneness through the power, rhythm, and flow of the waves, possibly, awakened within him a larger sense of existence than what mortality could present.

Dr. Miller’s presentation prompted me to ask myself, “Why do those on spiritual quests sound similar to those suffering with depression?”

Perhaps, pain causes the sufferer to try to burst from a mortal sense of things. It causes the depressed to stop identifying with human restrictions that lead only to further fear, unfulfilled desires, and more pain.

Those in despair and those on a quest are alike. Both struggle to shed limitations. Each is frustrated by an inability to experience what they innately, although, subconsciously, feel is their unconfined being.

There is a divine influence that speaks to the suffering, the abandoned, to heal and empower them. It is inside them, yet limitless in nature. For many, this capacity to have an effect on the development and behavior of mind and body is known as the Christ. However, it’s health benefits help every member of society, not just those who consider themselves to be Christian.

The spiritual naturally want to be spiritually healthy and free. And spirituality is the real essence of each one’s being.

– 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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Thoughts that harm your body need to be arrested
by KeithWommack
Nov 13, 2013 | 1043 views | 0 0 comments | 52 52 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
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The capture was made while<b> </b>I was, of all things, playing a board game at a friend’s house.

I was ten years old, and my friend was taking too long to make his next chess move. As I stared out the window, I saw my twin brother and another friend running between two houses towards the street.

The second they reached asphalt, police cars surrounded them. Both of them looked frightened as officers jumped out of their vehicles. My brother and his friend were handcuffed, placed in the cars, and driven away.

Stunned, I ran home, flung open the door, and yelled, “Kevin’s been arrested!”

Later, I learned that vandals had caused damage to a vacant house. Kevin and several other boys, foolishly, wandered into the house through a broken sliding glass door to examine the mess. Seeing activity at the house, a neighbor called the police, believing that the offenders were back.

The neighbor's call was perfectly understandable. He wanted the vandalism stopped. However, because of the call, my brother was mistakenly identified, temporarily, as a juvenile delinquent.

How does my brother’s experience relate to your health?

Have you ever been rightly or wrongly blamed and then felt miserable? Wasn’t the pain you experienced the result of your disturbed thought?

If you’re having trouble recognizing that your thoughts and physical health are correlated, consider a take away from a report by <a href="http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/inside-the-mind/human-brain/how-stress-works1.htm" target="_blank">Dr. Betty Burrows</a>.

Burrows states, “Medical research suggests that up to 90 percent of all illness and disease is stress-related, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

Since your mental condition can control your physical condition, it’s important to learn how to arrest harmful thoughts.

There are coping methods for managing stress and other harmful mental states that utilize the human mind’s reasoning powers. But when considering physical health, is it wise to employ the same human mind to heal that essentially caused the problem in the first place?

Perhaps, it would be advisable to bring aid to the human mind by allowing it to be influenced by the divine.

Most likely, we’ve all, at times, been falsely accused or identified ourselves in harmful ways – afraid, not good enough, unloved, a victim. Possibly, a first step in stopping harmful thoughts could be to discover what it means to be a spiritual being who is deeply worthy and appreciated.

Taking her cues from the Bible, especially the healing work of Jesus, author and Christian healer, <a href="http://www.marybakereddylibrary.org/mary-baker-eddy/life" target="_blank">Mary Baker Eddy</a>, wrote, “[Your] only course is to take antagonistic grounds against all that is opposed to the health, holiness, and harmony of man, God’s image.”

Without spiritual reasoning, life often appears stressful and cruel. But, many around the world are practicing the type of prayerful spiritual logic that allows them to gauge life in a more positive way. This helps them to experience greater peace, improved self-esteem, and consistent physical health.

If you’re struggling, it may be comforting to learn that the pain is not your fault. And although the pain is not your fault, it might be an opportunity. This may be your moment to mentally rise and express spiritual might.

“Stand porter at the door of thought,” Eddy encourages the readers of her book, <i>Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures</i>. “Admitting only such conclusions as you wish realized in bodily results, you will control yourself harmoniously. When the condition is present which you say induces disease, whether it be air, exercise, heredity, contagion, or accident, then perform your office as porter and shut out these unhealthy thoughts and fears.”

If you are falsely accused, instead of acquiescing at being captured and driven away, you can begin to take control. You can arrest wrong thoughts, the offenders, before they have a chance to manifest themselves.

Go ahead, arrest thoughts harming your body. Your ability to control thought may help you manage your health.

<em>– 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: <a href="http://keithwommack.com/">KeithWommack.com</a></em>

Twitter: <a href="https://twitter.com/KeithWommack" target="_blank">@KeithWommack </a>

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Do you have a healthy attitude?
by KeithWommack
Sep 17, 2013 | 460 views | 0 0 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
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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

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