“What Is True Healing? 5 Practices That Can Help Us Heal Body, Mind, and Spirit”
Dr. Norman Shealy writes that people often may choose habits and lifestyles that create imbalance, disharmony, and dis-ease. What are some better choices for our well-being? Tune in as we learn about practices that can help us heal in mind, body, and spirit.
Speaker: Rev. Chris Kell
When available, a revised transcript of this week’s talk is provided below for the deaf and hard of hearing.
Prayers, readings, and songs from this week’s service are also provided below.
Community Circles – Are you left with questions after a talk, or did an idea so resonate with you that you want to explore it further? In our Community Circles, we build relationships with others, share ideas and insights, and support each other as we apply these principles in our daily lives.
Wednesday September 1, 7:00 – 8:30 pm ET. Community Circle Zoom Meeting/Discussion. Board President and congregant Tim Rainey works at Lake Lanier and will be presenting a talk about Lake Lanier, GA. Lake Lanier is well known for its recreational opportunities and it is the source of water for metropolitan Atlanta. But what else does it do? How do you “manage” a lake? Isn’t it just water flowing into a big hole? Learn about the multiple purposes for Lake Lanier and the intricate, complex, and sometimes delicate factors, considerations, and processes that go into “managing” a lake. Learn about the benefits it provides, not only locally, but regionally and nationally. And finally, learn why it is not really a “lake”.
Please join us on the Zoom link below. I look forward to seeing you!
See you at 7!
We, who need help, pray for the healing of our physical, emotional, and spiritual pains and difficulties.
Source of blessings and power, heal us, empower us, and bless us. We realize that we can’t do it alone, and we ask for blessings from all those who have the power to help, elevate, and heal.
We ask for help from the sacred that is above us.
We ask for the support of those around us, our friends, families, and communities.
We pray for the wisdom to find ways to help ourselves.
We ask for guidance to help us ease our way and heal our hearts.
May we open ourselves to the mystery that is beyond us, the source from which we are never apart.
May we be happy and whole.
May energy pour through us for the benefit on one and all.
May we dance and lift up our hands and our hearts in praise and rejoicing.
And so it is, and so we say, Amen
~ Lama Surya Das
“What Is True Healing? 5 Practices That Can Help Us Heal Body, Mind, and Spirit”
Good morning. It’s good to be with you all again. The weather here in Minneapolis is just about perfect as we’re getting some much needed rain to relieve the same drought conditions all of Minnesota is experiencing to some degree. I hope the weather where you are is just as perfect, no matter where you are.
Today is the last Sunday to talk about our theme of How We Heal. I’ve talked a lot about Spiritual Healing this month from the perspective of the healer. But what about the person asking for healing? How do we go about healing the Self (capital S) as well as the self (small S)?
Five ways we can encourage and enhance healing.
Spiritual healing is about working with illness, dis-ease, and dis-harmony from multiple perspectives. When using spiritual healing to address illness, we focus on bringing harmony back to reinforce a person’s total health: body, heart, mind, and soul. And today, I want to briefly present five ways we can encourage and enhance healing.
Please note: it is not my intention to provide personal medical advice; if you are ill or suffering from disease or any other medical conditions, please consult the medical practitioner of your choice. The comments I offer here are suggestions to enhance your medical care, not to take the place of professional advice.
People very often choose habits and lifestyles that create imbalance, disharmony, and dis-ease/
People very often choose habits and lifestyles that create imbalance, disharmony, and dis-ease (Shealy). Unfortunately, many of us do not know how to help ourselves when it comes to healing, depending instead primarily, or even exclusively, on medical science and its practitioners to do the work for us. We have been conditioned over centuries to rely on outside experts for advice and guidance at the expense of listening to our body’s own intuitive inner guidance for discerning the causes of our ailments and the knowledge of how to heal them.
Allopathic medicine is designed to treat the physical signs of illness and disease, the aches and pains and debilitating symptoms of the wide variety of conditions that can surface in the human body. Spiritual healing, on the other hand, addresses the root causes of the condition itself –– not just how it presents itself in the body, but why it is showing up here and now. In other words, allopathic healing treats the small ‘s’ self, while spiritual healing treats the Self, with a large ‘S’. Both methods of healing are important, but while we are quick to go see the doctor when we feel bad, often we don’t even think of visiting our inner doctor –– our intuition and spiritual insight –– to discern the source of our discomfort and how to eliminate it.
Only 20% of healing comes from the external treatments used by medical professionals.
According to Dr. Wayne Jonas, a distinguished and well-respected medical doctor and research scientist, only 20% of healing comes from the external treatments used by medical professionals. Ideally, the other 80% comes from constructing a meaningful treatment response, unique to you, the patient, that is internal and highly personal, using simple principles and methods. He also says that we should be able to activate our own inherent healing processes and get our physicians and other medical practitioners on board to create a healing program that will accelerate our healing journey, making the whole process safer, more effective, and less expensive.
Good reason to at least be open to spiritual healing practices, yet unfortunately modern medical science still ignores holistic healing methods for the most part.
When we get sick, spiritual healers tell us that it is because we have fallen away from or forgotten our divine heritage and purpose. Spiritual healing, including many holistic practices as well as healing prayer, help bring both mind and body back into alignment with our divinity.
In treating any condition, but especially when treating serious illness and chronic disease, using an integrative process, that is, employing a combination of conventional, complementary, and lifestyle medicines, is necessary for attaining and maintaining good health. Lifestyle medicine is described by Dr. Jonas as the merger of conventional medicine and behavioral lifestyles in the form of self-care such as nutrition, exercise, and stress management. I would add another dimension to his definition, that is, the spiritual dimension.
Five practices or characteristics, that can help body, mind, and spirit in the healing process.
So today, I would like to briefly talk about five practices or characteristics, in no particular order of importance, that take advantage of all three medical systems and can help body, mind, and spirit in the healing process.
The first one is obvious: self-care. The term self-care covers a broad spectrum of practices, and of course, includes all three areas of care I just mentioned: allopathic, holistic, and lifestyle.
While it is imperative to be pro-active in a program that includes professional care, exercise, and proper nutrition, it also is important to be attentive to the little things in life that bring you simple joy.
This means you might include personal indulgences like reading, taking a long, quiet bath, spending time in nature, maybe enjoying a spa day. Try energy movements you can do yourself like breathing exercises, yoga, Qi gong and Tai Chi. If you need a new interest or hobby, try learning about an energy healing practice you may not be familiar with, or working with crystals, flower essences, pendulums, pyramids –– anything that piques your interest and provides satisfaction and pleasure.
Getting out of yourself and into working with others can lift you mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
Journaling about your story, joining a support group, playing a musical instrument, dancing, and painting may be other good options. Volunteer work is another way of gaining personal satisfaction, both from the actual activity and the opportunity to be of service to others. Getting out of yourself and into working with others can lift you mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, as well as relieve both your stress level and any isolation and loneliness you may be experiencing.
Studies indicate that spending time in nature will also help to lower stress and regulate the nervous system, bringing it into a state of calm equilibrium. But even without studies, we know that nature awakens a sense of wonder and connection within us, making it easier for the spirit to recognize itself as a part of everything.
Another aspect of self-care is to not be too afraid, or too proud, to ask for help.
Another aspect of self-care is to not be too afraid, or too proud, to ask for help, both human and divine. As Asha talked about a couple of weeks ago, our path to healing is one of vulnerability, courage, and compassion for ourselves. Asking for help, whether physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual, is not a sign of weakness; it is simply one step on the path to wholeness.
The next practice involves the breath. Lama Surya Das tells us that, “the Holy Spirit or inner light can be understood as the Breath.” He says:
“. . . the word breath in many ancient languages also refers to spirit . . . No wonder that to be with breath is to be in the spirit and heal the spirit. . . . The practice of being fully with one’s breath is to get embodied and in the present moment. In this way, there’s no pushing away from what is unwanted in your body, there’s no rejection of where you’re at. Let yourself find a natural rhythm of breath[ing] . . . letting yourself be present with each breath. Breathe, relax, focus, center, and smile.
We take over 17,000 breaths a day.
We take over 17,000 breaths a day. Inside the breath you just took, there are more molecules of air than there are grains of sand on all the world’s beaches. We each inhale and exhale some 30 pounds of these molecules every day — far more than what we eat or drink.
Developing the practice of deep breathing can generate the self-healing powers of our body and result in positive physiological changes. Our breath can relax the body and leave us feeling more energized. It can help our mind focus, stop a negative thought from occurring or minimize its effect, and alter our emotional state to reduce the impact of stress.
Ordinary breathing becomes a powerful spiritual practice when we add conscious intention.
Master breathwork therapist Dan Brulé teaches that ordinary breathing becomes a powerful spiritual practice when we add conscious intention to it. The spirit of breath is always with us, ready and willing to support us with real and powerful physical forces. We can use deep breathing to intentionally create an environment favorable to healing.
The spirit of breath is flowing through you right now. All you have to do is consciously turn to it, focus on it, and put it to work on your behalf. You can use conscious breathing to strengthen your resolve or re-ignite your passion. You can use spiritual breathing to bring in energy from a higher source, and you can use conscious breathing to release physical, psychological, or emotional blocks.
The next practice I want to talk about is forgiveness. While forgiveness means different things to different people, according to the Mayo Clinic it generally involves a decision to let go of resentment, blame, grudges, and thoughts of revenge. Forgiveness can lessen the grip of an offending hurt or act, and help free you from the control of the person who harmed you. Forgiveness can even lead to feelings of understanding, empathy, and compassion for the one who hurt you.
Forgiveness doesn’t require forgetting or excusing the harm done to us or making up with the person who caused the harm, although that may happen. Rather, it brings a kind of peace that helps us go on with life.
It’s something we do for our own benefit; it has nothing to do with the other person’s feelings of remorse or lack of remorse. It takes place within our own mind –– creating an escape route for the negative energy that is circulating due to pain and hurt.
The act of forgiveness and letting go of grudges and bitterness can reap huge rewards for your health . . .
Research has found that the act of forgiveness and letting go of grudges and bitterness can reap huge rewards for your health, lowering the risk of heart attack; improving cholesterol levels; improving sleep; reducing pain and blood pressure; lowering levels of anxiety, depression, hostility, and stress; reduced substance abuse; higher self-esteem; healthier relationships, and greater life satisfaction.
Mahatma Gandhi said: “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is an attribute of the strong.”
Forgiveness takes great strength, compassion and understanding, and can benefit us on all levels. It calms us and enables us to let go of unhealthy anger. Moreover, deliberate replacement of negative feelings with positive emotions can become a form of personal transformation that can lead to emotional healing along with improved physical health.
The Dalai Lama reminds us that the practice of forgiveness cultivates an “acceptance of harm and injuries inflicted by others” and is a form of patience and tolerance. Forgiveness can neutralize anger and resentment, which may then encourage compassion and the practice of loving-kindness as well as foster inner feelings of resilience, courage, and endurance –– all inner attitudes that assist us in the healing process.
Self-forgiveness is also an important step in our healing that involves releasing negative emotions directed towards the self and nurturing positive emotions such as compassion, generosity, and love of self. Empathy, or sharing the emotions of others, is another possible positive outcome of self-forgiveness, as we come to understand the other’s anger, pain, and woundedness by understanding and forgiving our own.
And now we come to attitude. An attitude offorgiveness is one powerful attribute in the healing process, one of a huge list of helpful attitudes that is practically unending, so I’ll mention just a few more I feel are paramount in the healing process.
Research studies have shown that for many people, an attitude of gratitude improved overall life satisfaction and increased feelings of optimism about the future. Practicing gratitude was consistently linked to greater wellbeing as measured by mood, coping behaviors, health behaviors, and physical symptoms. Myrtle Fillmore, founder of Unity, believed that we must express gratitude for our bodies regularly. In her words, “Our first duty then is to bless our body . . . to praise its wonderful work, to learn what its needs are, and to supply them.”
Next, being able to feel gratitude for any affliction or problem is an act of humility in the spiritual sense, an attitude through which we appreciate the self we have received from the Divine, and the awesomeness of who we are and what we can achieve. Through the attitude of humility, we recognize Divine authority and the concept of “not my will but Thine be done.” With humility comes the willingness to accept our situation. However, it does not mean we simply resign and give up, but rather the opposite: an understanding that whatever the outcome, it will be in our highest and best good. And with that understanding comes the will to work with Spirit to achieve the desired result.
Faith and Trust
Along with humility comes the attitudes of faith and trust. As I talked about earlier this month, I believe faith and trust are the foundation for spiritual healing, and a requisite for the healer. So then, in acting as the healer in our own self-care process, it is incumbent upon us to adhere to an unshakeable faith and trust in an all-loving, all-powerful universal Presence, however named.
Myrtle Fillmore was in the end stage of tuberculosis when she attended a lecture by metaphysician Dr. E.B. Weeks in 1886 and learned of her innate potential for divine healing through the use of affirmative prayer. In her words,
“The light of God revealed to us . . . that life was of God, that we were inseparably one with the Source, and that we inherited from the divine and perfect Father. . . . I began to claim my birthright and to act as though I believed myself the child of God, filled with His life.
It took Myrtle’s body two years to finally eradicate all signs of her tuberculosis and after that, she was never sick with any illness again in her life.
The practice of positive self-talk is another powerful motivator. Start by following one simple rule: Don’t say anything to yourself that you wouldn’t say to anyone else. People who have positive attitudes are healthier. A positive attitude also allows for constructive thinking. It enables you to think about solutions and believe that you can find them. It means being active about solving problems, and that means taking an active part in your self-care. It is not enough to just believe that things will turn out okay – you also need to be actively thinking about constructive solutions and executing them.
The stressful experience of chronic pain can lead to people being unable to live their lives unencumbered and becoming isolated, which in turn will lead to the emotional pain of loneliness in addition to their physical pain. An attitude of compassion and sympathy for others can help everyone move forward. We can support our friends and family by encouraging them to be open to a renewed meaning in life, to feel pride in their accomplishments, and to be aware of the joy and forgiveness they can still experience. They need to know they are loved. In this way we support ourselves as well.
Edgar Cayce referred to the essentials of spirituality more often than perhaps any other concept in his almost 15,000 intuitive readings. He emphasized that people should reach for the ideal, often stating that physical illnesses were the result of unsatisfactory attitudes while pointing out that love, kindness, and patience –– what he called the fruits of the spirit –– were essential spiritual ideals. “Hate, malice, and jealousy only create poisons within the minds, souls, and bodies of people” (Reading 3312-1). (Shealy, p. 63-65, 106-107).
Disease implications of negative attitudes . . .
And talking about the disease implications of negative attitudes, Dr. Norman Shealy tells us that:
We cannot afford the luxury of fear, anxiety, anger, guilt, depression, prejudice, dislike, hatred, resentment, greed, or ignorance, no matter what the cause! (Shealy p.xxi, 125).
In his opinion, the antidotes are
“joy, laughter, happiness, serenity, peacefulness, optimism, forgiveness, patience, tolerance, compassion and love.”
Prayer, Meditation, and Mindfulness
The last practice I want to include is the practice of Prayer, Meditation, and Mindfulness.
Prayer takes many forms, requires no religion, and can happen anytime, anywhere. Think of prayer as a moment of intense, well-directed thought or conversation with something greater than yourself. It’s turning inward to find your deepest inner strength and your greatest place of comfort.
Prayer can be an expression of gratitude, a plea for help, a moment of reflection, or really whatever you want it to be. Prayer is the simplest form of self-care and has been found to be the most common complementary medical intervention used in the United States. There is increasing evidence to suggest that prayer may reduce stress, alleviate pain, and ease the symptoms of some chronic health conditions. Contemplative prayer in particular has been shown to have a powerful effect on stress and anxiety, lowering heart rate, and improving mood.
According to the meditation gurus on GAIAM website, people struggling with chronic pain or other medical conditions can use healing meditation to feel better in body and spirit, relieve anxiety, and to encourage and empower the healing process. Healing meditation often incorporates visualization techniques, and some people report dramatic results while others simply appreciate the reduction in stress that comes from sitting quietly and focusing the mind on healing imagery.
Mindfulness is a form of self-awareness described as ‘a state of being in the present moment and accepting things for what they are without judgement.’ When you are mindful, your attention is in the current moment. You become keenly aware of yourself and your surroundings, but you simply observe these things as they are. Mindfulness can be practiced right in the middle of stressful situations. While being mindful you can still remain alert and respond appropriately to the situation at hand, but without resorting to automatic knee-jerk reactions.
Combining prayer, meditation, and mindfulness with affirmative self-care lifestyle choices such as a healthy diet, regular exercise, and good sleep all enhance the positive effects of these practices. Spending time in nature, breathing exercises, the practice of forgiveness, spending time with loved ones, and trying to maintain a good attitude should also improve your results.
Our minds can affect how healthy our bodies are.
Our thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and attitudes can positively or negatively affect our biological functioning. In other words, our minds can affect how healthy our bodies are.
On the other hand, what we do with our physical body (what we eat, how much we exercise, even our posture) can impact our mental state (again positively or negatively). This results in a complex interrelationship between our minds and bodies.
There is an inherent healing capacity within us all . . .
Myrtle Fillmore recognized these truths. She taught that God is inside each person:
“Sometimes we pray to a God outside of ourselves. It is the God in the midst of us that frees and heals. … You need to think of God, the all-powerful Healer, as being already within you, in every part of your mind, heart, and body.”
Dr. Jonas has discovered that same truth, and he tells us that,
“there is an inherent healing capacity within us all that, when properly released, can produce remarkable recovery, health, and happiness.”
What is needed now, he says, is a willingness to bring healing back into health care. And that means it is up to us, the 80%, to be responsible for our own care using all the tools available to us to create our own unique paths to healing.
Thank you, and good health to all.
About Rev. Christine Kell
Rev. Chris Kell is an Interfaith/Interspiritual Minister, an ordained graduate of One Spirit Interfaith Seminary, a graduate of the Priestess Emergence Process, and a Certified Life Success Consultant. She has a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies, with concentrations in Women’s Studies and Small Group Communication, and post-graduate studies in Feminine Spirituality. Rev. Chris has a deep appreciation for the aspirations of the human spirit. She has been fortunate in discovering how nurturing and supportive a positive environment can be, how it encourages spiritual strength and expands the possibilities for living a good life. Her goal is to be a catalyst for others in envisioning and discovering for themselves a spiritually enriched life. She can be reached at Rev.ChristineKell@gmail.com.
Today’s reading is taken from the Introduction by His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Prayers for Healing edited by Maggie Oman and read by Tim Rainey.
When people are overwhelmed by illness, we must give them physical relief, but it is equally important to encourage the spirit through a constant show of love and compassion. It is shameful how often we fail to see that what other people desperately require is human affection. Deprived of human warmth and a sense of value, other forms of treatment prove less effective. Real care of the sick does not begin with costly procedures, but with the simple gift of affection and love.
This service aired on August 29, 2021