If you’re from anywhere in the British Commonwealth, it’s fairly certain that the XX Commonwealth Games are in your thoughts right now as competitors line up with some of the best in the world in Glasgow.
With over 400 athletes hailing from Australia and a swag of medals already in the bag we are again asserting a claim to being the Number One sporting nation in the British Commonwealth.
One of our greatest Commonwealth and Olympic Games swimmers, breaking 400m, 800m, and 1500m freestyle world records, was Kieren Perkins, O.A.M.
When asked how he achieved such feats he answered, “Being your best is not so much about overcoming the barriers other people place in front of you as it is about overcoming the barriers we place in front of ourselves”.
As personal bests are beaten and world records fall, many thoughtful people admit that health, like sporting success, is about overcoming the barriers we believe — not just about what’s going on physically but what’s happening mentally.
“Muscles are not self-acting. If mind does not move them, they are motionless,” wrote 19th Century mind-body researcher and spiritual visionary, Mary Baker Eddy, and demonstrated the idea in physical healing.
In the same fashion, Perkins demonstrated that a humble emphasis on personal best rather than competition harvested great rewards for him.
He must have also replaced the limiting mental weights of genetic imperfection and physicality, negativity, ugly competitiveness, self-criticism and censure by others, and frustration at the repetitive nature of his sport with trust in his ability, as well as joy in his discipline.
Eddy’s Mind science might explain his success this way: “Mind, joyous in strength, dwells in the realm of Mind. Mind’s infinite ideas run and disport themselves. In humility they climb the heights of holiness.” And by Mind, she meant the Divine.
Eddy became an advocate for a mental and spiritual approach to life, including career, relationships and healthcare. Her Biblically-based healing and empowering system underscores the reasons for success or failure in athletics or other life spheres.
Sports medicine researcher, Brian Udermann, points to strong scientific evidence suggesting that individuals who regularly participate in spiritual activities and who feel strongly that spirituality or the presence of a higher power are sources of strength and comfort are healthier and possess greater healing capabilities. He goes so far as to suggest that incorporating spirituality into training could be crucial to providing the highest quality care possible for athletes (The Effect of Spirituality on Health and Healing: A Critical Review of Athletic Trainers, Journal of Athletic Training, 2000).
There are a growing number of health professionals who support these ideas by pointing out that obsessions with fitness and weight loss have limited success for most of us, while we overlook a yearning for meaning in life.
In my own experience, although I’ve never considered swimming for mile upon mile in competition, I’ve found that concentration, focus, and training are quite necessary for health and success.
For me that includes taking time out each day to affirm my divine capacities while also celebrating others’ examples of spiritual intelligence, or how they utilize spirituality to elevate their lives.
As you cheer on these athletes in the spirit of Commonwealth togetherness, take time to also celebrate their spiritual nature and the God-like qualities they are expressing because these qualities are also yours to enjoy.
This article was published on BuzzFeed, and with the alternate title of “In the spirit of Commonwealth togetherness and success” on Mackay Daily Mercury, Whitsunday Times, Surat Basin Online and Logan Reporter news sites.