The spring weather was strangely symbolic of the current crosswinds representing two very different approaches to health and wellbeing.
I had just spent the last few days in nearby sessions at the annual Association of Healthcare Journalists, surrounded by writers and editors who bring us our health care news every day, primarily through a conventional, biomedical lens.
Now I joined a large crowd of mostly women listening to speakers share how to achieve health and wellbeing from a spiritual and mindful perspective. As a Christian Science practitioner, I was interested in how this conversation coincided with my own spiritual practice.
Dr. Lissa Rankin's talk was the first I attended. It wasn't just her words, but the warmth with which she delivered them that convinced me of her authenticity. As a physician on a quest to find real healing answers and author of Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself, she sounded like she genuinely cares.
I believe true health involves a thorough mental and spiritual approach to caring for one's wellbeing -- an approach I've found very effective in my life. Lissa's message included both of these elements that are so often left out of doctors' assessments.
Here's my take on the six points she shared:
1. Address limiting beliefs
This is something I do daily in my prayer practice. Rather than pinning health issues on genetics or predispositions, we should allow ourselves hope and space for healing rather than feeling helpless. Current studies on epigenetics support these ideas, and our own personal triumphs can make them practical for us. Lissa challenged the audience to question beliefs such as: "Heart disease runs in my family," "My disease is incurable," or "I've always been sickly."
2. Find the right support
A white coat doesn't have to be at the center of our healing culture. At the top of my support system are those who nurture and encourage a spiritually-focused way of life -- those who see and acknowledge the benefits of prayer and aren't afraid to challenge commonly accepted models of health. A loving God is at the head of my round table and everything flows from there.
3. Tap into your "inner healer"
We each have this voice within -- a voice that knows what would help us and is intuitive. It's been described in the Scriptures as "the still small voice" whose messages have only our best interests in mind.
4. Diagnose the root cause of your illness
So often the root cause is mental and has nothing to do with the "surface story" our body is telling us. To me, uncovering the root cause begins with defying any approach that defines you as purely material -- that only considers physical causes and leaves out your spiritual, untouchable and pure nature.
5. Write your own prescription
Instead of relinquishing responsibility and simply popping a pill, how about feeling empowered to aid the healing process from within? Many times over the years I've listened for that still, small voice of divine wisdom, which has given me the precise prescription I needed for healing. That's powerful medicine.
This last point reminded me of the scriptural passage: "Surrender to God! Resist the devil, and he will run from you" (James 4: 7). To me, "the devil" takes the form of thoughts and beliefs that put us down, deny our freedom, insist on our vulnerability and limit us to human prescriptions. But God, or divine Love, helps us claim our goodness, our ability, our purity, our wholeness.
Why not say "yes" to this unlimited perspective? Then watch the health-giving results of your choice.