|PRAYING TO HEAL THE SOUL|
A prominent integrative practitioner, Andrew Weil, M.D., states, "You are body, mind, and spirit. Health necessarily involves all of these components and any program intended to improve health must address all of them." Dr. Weil further states, "Many people consider spirit to be in the province of religion, but I insist on making a clear distinction between spirituality and religion. Spirituality has to do with the nonphysical aspects of your being - the part of you that existed before and will exist after the disintegration of your body."
Spirituality has many facets, including awareness of the world that surrounds you; a sense of wonder, love, and gratitude; a practice of loving-kindness towards yourself and others; listening to your intuition and trusting your heart. Spiritual health is evidenced by people demonstrating the ability to be authentic, face their fears, let go of the past, and develop insight, forgiveness, peace, compassion, and love.
A sampling of what enhances spiritual health includes meditation, yoga, music and art therapy, breathwork, laughter, and martial arts. Regardless of your personal definition of spirituality, you can explore these and other options in a vast realm of modalities and processes that exist for the purpose of developing your spirituality and adapting it to your everyday life; and thus to having a healthy body, mind, and spirit.
Do you pay attention to your thoughts and what you are "saying" to yourself? What you truly believe at the core of your being has great power over what you are creating in your life.
One well-known, practical process to enhance healing is to focus on these internal messages. Many people use affirmations (positive statements) to do this. Repeated often, affirmations can influence your core belief system, which may then bring about change in your physical, emotional, and mental states. It is very important to use affirmations that are positive statements in the present tense. For example, a very basic statement that affirms the value of self is: "(Your Name), I love you and accept you exactly the way you are." Another example of an "affirmation" statement would be: "I am whole." When repeating this affirmation, really picture yourself as whole. This shuts out concentration on any illness or health problems you may be facing, and the resulting disconnection of the body/mind/spirit. Regular practice of this affirmation leads to the core belief that you are truly whole, in spite of any physical evidence that might suggest otherwise.
|READING THE BIBLE TO INSPIRE YOU|
Author Barbara Hoberman Levine wisely reminds us that the aim of almost all spiritual work is to "...unify your Body/Mind/Spirit and reconnect your seemingly separate parts. By doing this you expand your ability to choose freely and to ensure yourself of clearer Body/Mind/Spirit communication. You will know yourself better. You will begin to recognize and accept your emotions, uncover harmful beliefs and seedthoughts, and begin to change them through the power of creative thinking. Joyfully accept it! An attitude of gratitude is the primary ingredient for a happy, healthy, peaceful fulfilled life."
Specific Benefits of Developing Your Spirituality
Security and Safety
Through developing a connection with God, you gain security through the conviction that you are not all alone in the universe, even at those times when you feel temporarily separated from other people. You feel increasingly safe as you come to believe that there is a source you can always turn to in times of difficulty. As the twenty third psalm says, "God is my shepherd," he will take care of me and won’t let me get into trouble if I trust him. There is much security to be gained through the understanding that there is no problem or difficulty that cannot be resolved through the help of God.
Peace of Mind
Peace of mind is the result of feeling a deep, abiding sense of security and safety. The more reliance and trust you develop in God, the easier it becomes to deal without fear or worry with the inevitable challenges life brings. It is not that you give up your self or your will to such a power; rather you simply learn that you can "let go" and turn to God when you feel stuck with a problem in living and don't know how to proceed. Learning how to let go when solutions to problems aren't immediately apparent can go a long way toward reducing worry and anxiety in your life. Peace of mind is what develops in the absence of such anxiety.
As you develop a relationship with God, you come to realize that he has created you and hence he has found something good in you. You are part of the universe. You're good, lovable, and worthy of respect just by virtue of the fact that you're God’s creation. This realization can improve the way you look at yourself and will help you to improve your ego and what you think of yourself. You are still inherently good and worthwhile. Your own judgments of yourself, however negative, do not ultimately count if you are a creation of the universe as much as everything else. As one person put it: "God doesn't make junk."
The Capacity To Give and Receive Unconditional Love
The most fundamental characteristic of God is that it offers you an experience of unconditional love. This is a kind of love which differs from romantic love or even ordinary friendship. It entails an absolute caring for the welfare of another without any preconditions. That is, no matter how another person appears or acts, you have compassion and care for them without judgment. As you develop a deeper connection with God, you come to experience greater degrees of unconditional love in your life. You feel your heart opening more easily to people and their concerns. You feel freer of judgment toward them or of making comparisons among them. Unconditional love shows up both in your increased capacity to give love to others and to experience more of it coming into your life. You begin to experience less fear and more joy in your life and help to inspire others to experience their own capacity for unconditional love. This kind of love also manifests itself through the experience of having everything you need in your life to get on with what you want to do.
Developing a relationship with God will provide you with guidance for making decisions and solving problems. God has a universal wisdom that goes beyond what you can accomplish through your own intellect. In traditional religions this has been referred to as the "divine intelligence." Through connecting with God, you can draw upon this greater wisdom to help you resolve all kinds of difficulties. By learning to ask God for guidance, you'll be surprised to find that every sincere request sooner or later is answered. And the quality of that answer generally exceeds what you could have figured out through your own conscious intellect or will. Here, God is like your co-pilot. God is always available in the instant of need to those who have made a habit of waiting quietly before Him for insight and guidance.
Follow these guidelines for an effective relationship with God:
- Be quiet, patient, and open before God
- Be confident that he will communicate his wishes and help you execute them.
- Do not tempt God or make terms with Him. Gandhi said, "Not until we have reduced ourselves to nothingness, can we conquer the evil in us. God demands nothing less than complete self-surrender as the price for the only real freedom that is worth having. And when a man thus loses himself, he immediately finds himself in the service of all that lives. It becomes his delight and his recreation."
- Be willing to accept what God provides. He knows best. "Thy will, not mine, be done." Have full trust in the wisdom of God.
- Ask for God’s help. Do not instruct him on what to do.
- Let God speak to you through his Word. Read spiritual and religious books such as the Bible and learn about the rules of victorious living.