A couple of weeks ago, thousands of people attended the Mind Body Spirit Festival in Brisbane. I made my way there through the gloomy weather on Sunday, to find a really ‘happening’ event, a lot like the Health Harmony and Soul Expo held on the Gold Coast earlier in the year.
There were a surprising number of Millennials and Gen Ys amongst the Baby Boomers and Gen Xs in attendance, as ready to explore the ideas of philosophy and religion, as they were to try out the organic tea or get their ‘reading’.
I got the impression that there was general agreement between those on stands and within their vibrant audience that health is about very much more than treating a body.
Quite a few I spoke to had pondered the mental nature of health, had heard about the medical research into the effects of spiritual and religious sentiments such as forgiveness and gratitude.
Dozens were eager to add their contribution to the ‘gratitude tree’ by writing down what they were grateful for … and pinning it on the murraya bush in the Christian Science Reading Room stand.
Don’t get me wrong. The majority of these people harboured a healthy scepticism of anything nonsensical or obviously geared to a purely money-making concern.
The astounding thing is that these were your average Aussie ‘blokes’ and ‘sheilas’. Just like the lady I met today. While her job was in real estate, she confided when I mentioned that I was a health blogger, that she’d investigated kinesiology and other alternative therapies and knew how important her thoughts were to her wellbeing.
It’s not surprising to learn that two-thirds of Australians use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), and many of these recognise the interconnectedness of our thoughts with our health.
A medico who turned from Western medical treatments when they failed to help her, took matters into her own hands. Through her research, Dr Lissa Rankin discovered that traditional health care was missing a couple of crucial insights:
taking responsibility for your own wellbeing is essential; and that we need to care for the whole package – our mind, heart and soul.
Rankin’s book Mind Over Medicine advances understanding of the great conundrum of the past 150 years – how our mind, bodies and spirit interconnect.
She found that thoughts, feelings and beliefs can alter the body’s physiology, discerned that loneliness, pessimism, depression, fear and anxiety damage the body, while intimate relationships, gratitude, meditation and creativity turn on the body’s self-healing processes.
Theologian, author, and founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy wrote and taught about the mental nature of disease way back in the 19th century.
She proved that a Mind-based (or God-based) view of health and life leads to cures in both mind and body.
Eddy described some of the states of thought that might generate disease in her book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, which endorses what many people like Rankin recognise as harmful to health today.
She wrote, “Hatred, envy, dishonesty, fear, and so forth, make a man sick, and neither material medicine nor Mind can help him permanently, even in body, unless it makes him better mentally, and so delivers him from his destroyers.”
For me, it’s imperative to recognise my spiritual identity, which Jesus exemplified and explained so well, and can be nurtured and discovered through daily prayer and meditation. I find that this also keeps the body healthy, as well as repairing and healing.
It looks like many are now ‘on the same page’, sharing the profound knowledge that happiness and health are dependent on a healthy mind, body and spirit.