Why don’t you hear more about the revolutionary healthcare options and treatments that take into account the mind-body-spirit connection from your local doctor or hospital?
Here’s one explanation. In Dr Craig Hassed’s keynote address at the 20th Annual International Integrative Medicine Conference in Sydney last week he referred to Thomas Kuhn’s philosophy of the Structure of Scientific Revolutions.
Apparently Kuhn’s hypothesis goes something like this: accepted scientific paradigms are influenced more by common consent than evidence; and when new evidence conflicts with the accepted paradigm it is at first seen as a mistake. However, if there is sufficient evidence then a crisis or revolution is reached, before eventually the old data is subsumed into a new paradigm.
One recent example comes to mind. The new science of epigenetics shows that genes and DNA are not static and do not control our biology, but are controlled by signals from outside the cell, including our positive and negative thoughts. Molecules don’t trigger events in our cells; mind does!
Medicine may still be at a crisis point as to how to accommodate epigenetics because its emphasis is so much on how the mind (cause) needs to be treated primarily, rather than the body (effect).
Numerous scientific trials into the effects of love, compassion, forgiveness, gratitude and contemplative practices, show that loving, supportive people and a kind environment reduce stress and disease; that patient-centred care that treats the individual’s lifestyle and beliefs brings quicker healing; that happy, energetic people who eat well and are cared for are healthier; that contemplative practices like mindfulness meditation and affirming prayer help to heal, repair and prevent depression and may slow ageing.
Talking of paradigms, two thousand years ago Jesus Christ introduced a new scientific paradigm, the understanding of which had barely dawned on human thought until now; that our health can’t be separated from the quality of our thoughts. One of his followers instructed that we need to “have a new mind and heart” (Ephesians 4:23) for greater health and wellbeing; and this was Paul’s expectation for those he healed.
Nonetheless, as the world stands in the early years of the 21st Century in its expanding understanding of the gold standard of medicine that Jesus and his followers practised, the field of mind-body medicine is a small step in the right direction.
This week a new film called The Connection had its world premiere in Melbourne on Monday evening, to be followed by a screening in Sydney this Friday 5 September before its US and London screenings later in the month.
As co-author of the popular book Mindfulness for Life, Hassed is among other scientists, researchers, writers and doctors like Jon Kabat-Zinn, Herbert Benson, Dean Ornish and George Jelinek (from Australia) who share their research and introduce people with remarkable true stories who have recovered from severe back pain, heart disease, infertility, cancer and multiple sclerosis using these practices, including Aussie carpenter, Scott Stephens.
The Connection is a film about how frontier research is proving that there is a direct connection between your mind and your health. The promo asserts, “It’s a film for people who have tried everything.”
A young man who had “tried everything” that even integrative medicine could provide decided to take a completely different approach to healing – an entirely spiritual approach.
Edwin de Leon was diagnosed with a muscular skeletal condition a few years ago. Having relied on medications and painkillers constantly for some time, as well as other therapies to manage the problem which he was told would continue for the rest of his life, he decided to revert to the spiritual practice he’d grown up with but had left behind – the “divine Science of Mind-healing”, as Mary Baker Eddy once described it. Here’s his story.
This practice relies on an increased understanding of the divine Mind, rather than the human mind and is based on the contemplative practice of prayer that seeks a change of perception from a material sense of identity, to a higher view of being created “in the image and likeness” of the Divine, as the Bible puts it.
Within about three or four months he found he didn’t need the painkillers any more. He says the experience was “almost like having a light being shined on my thought” and as it turned out “this wasn’t just a physical healing … it changed my whole attitude and outlook on life.”
How long it will be until traditional and integrative medicine can accept this new-old paradigm based on true consciousness – the spiritual sense of being and of our true connection to the Divine – is unknown. Kuhn’s hypothesis explains why current medicine is still conflicted by it.
While a growing number of medical practitioners are certain of the need today for the integration of mind-body practices with useful treatments from the traditional medical paradigm, if Kuhn’s hypothesis stands true they will one day accept this new-old spiritual paradigm, which offers the gold standard of medicine.
This article was first published on Online Opinion.