Live Longer And Healthier
MANY desire to live long. All desire to be healthy. The general expectation of the human race however is that health declines and active faculties wane as man advances in age. To reduce or arrest this, theories are propounded recommending the right balance of nutrition, appropriate type of exercise to engage in, medical checkups to undertake, supplements to swallow, etc. Scientific and medical research attempt to forestall new diseases or seek effective antidotes and cures to known ones; governments legislate laws to ensure safety and so on. These efforts and initiatives are useful in improving the lot of mankind and the quality of human existence but they all have the limitations that necessarily attend material systems.
A statement by spiritual thinker and author, Mary Baker Eddy, in Science and Health with key to the Scriptures hints at how to get beyond material limitations. Eddy says, ‘In the material world, thought has brought to light, with great rapidity many useful wonders’. This profound statement implies that the wonderful advances witnessed or being witnessed in human, material systems, were first conceived and birthed in thought. Since this is the case, obviously, wisdom cautions that close attention be paid to what is entertained in thought; peradventure the quality of thought may be found directly impacting on longevity and health. This begs the following questions: Can spiritually based thought, which Eddy says, gives ‘impulse to inquiry’, actually improve the state of health? Can it actually also result in longevity?
Medicine has this to say in response to these questions. Research carried out by medical doctor, David Spiegel, at Stanford University School of Medicine USA, concluded from a 1989 study, that thought has an influence on health, longevity and quality of life. The clinical study analysed two groups of women, all of whom were suffering from the last stages of a medically diagnosed terminal disease. They found that the group which received weekly support sessions in addition to standard medical care, lived twice as long as those who only received standard care. The support received by the patients in this study was not especially spiritual, but it did focus on ensuring a better mental state. Medical doctors, as well as other specialists in the fields of psychiatry, psychology, nursing, even dentistry, are beginning to pay closer attention to the effect thought has on a case – the thought of the patient, the support group and even the medical personnel in attendance.
Spirituality has this to say in response to the questions posed. Spiritualising thought, starting from the premise of perfect God and spiritually perfect man, improves the quality of human thought. It also heals. Indeed Eddy says further, that disease must first be thought, either consciously or unconsciously, before it is manifested. Medicine is realising that this statement is well worth investigating. It takes discipline to constantly watch what is taken into thought, but practice can make it become habitual. Such discipline is worth it if the fruits are longevity, better quality of life and sounder health.