Tag Archives: healing

Can modern medicine evolve beyond materialism?

Turtles all the way down“Turtles all the way down.”  That’s the now famous response to a scientist’s inquiry as told in an anecdote by Stephen Hawking in A Brief History of Time.  After explaining the basics of astronomy and the relationship between the earth and sun, a little old lady expresses her disbelief to the scientist and pipes up, “The world is really a flat plate supported on the back of a giant tortoise.”

Hawking continues, “The scientist gave a superior smile before replying, ‘What is the tortoise standing on?’  ‘You’re very clever, young man, very clever,’ said the old lady.  ‘But it’s turtles all the way down.’”

There’s both humor and heartbreak in the old lady’s retort.  Such determinism has propelled the achievements of many a visionary.  It also illustrates the stifling nature of a stubborn dogma that can blind thinkers and shutter what should be the open-minded nature of true science and scholarship.

Today’s healthcare practices offer a similar dichotomy: the unyielding resolve to understand the nature of human systems for the betterment of health pitted against a tenacious faith in the doctrine of materialism.  Is the domain of medicine merely the “flat plate” of physicality, measuring and manipulating matter?  Or is there something more to it, something fundamentally diverse and substantially more dynamic?    I’m referring to the solid evidence that our spirituality – our tie to a greater consciousness – has a big impact on our health.  Read more…

Laughter nothing to sneeze at

So did you hear the one about the school kids lined up in the cafeteria for lunch? At the front of the line was a large pile of apples with a sign that read: “Take only one.  God is watching.”  At the end of the line was a large pile of chocolate chip cookies where a child had written a note, “Take all you want.  God is watching the apples!”

Watching what we eat and how much we consume is becoming a national pastime. Proper diet and exercise is getting the lion’s share of attention when it comes to the means of maximizing health.  In fact, recent data reveals that 1/5 of healthcare costs are attributable to the side effects of obesity.

Often lost in the discussion about means to health and healing are the mental and spiritual components that contribute to wellness.

Take laughter. April is National Humor Month.  And April 14th is International Moment of Laughter Day.  We all like a good laugh.  It turns out that your funny bone is connected to your health.

Laughter as medicine gained national attention after the release of Patch Adams, the movie starring Robin Williams. The real life Adams founded the Gesundheit! Institute over 40 years ago.  Its mission includes care infused with fun and play and uses clowns and other funny approaches in a fairly unique healthcare approach.

Adams writes, “The idea that a person was healthy because of normal lab values and clear x-rays had no relationship to who the person was. Good health was much more deeply related to close friendships, meaningful work, a lived spirituality of any kind, an opportunity for loving service and an engaging relationship to nature, the arts, wonder, curiosity, passion and hope.”

Research into the role of humor in health shows benefits, including pain reduction, easing tension, enhancing heart health and immune systems, boosting the quality of life, and even giving toddlers a head start in life skills.

I remember my dad using humor to get me to laugh at times when things seemed pretty serious.  It was contagious.  I could not help but feel better whether it was a physical or emotional issue I was dealing with.  Laughter is good for what ails you.

Karen Williams is a believer in the health benefits of humor too.  The Cleveland stand-up comic started the International Institute of Humor and Healing Arts, otherwise known as the HaHA Institute.  The organization “is deeply committed to the study and active use of humor in the healing process — personal, societal, and planetary.”  Her message – encouraging the potential for compassion, wisdom and life force through the daily use of humor and healing – has taken her around the globe.

Are you familiar with laughing clubs? The brain child of Dr. Madan Kataria, 6000 clubs have sprung up in over 60 countries since their inception in 1995.  He realized the “tremendous power of laughter and its efficacy as the best prescription for wellness.” In an NBC report Kataria goes so far as to say that laughter could be the answer to the U.S. health care dilemma.

Humor and other “mindfulness” methods to health – everything from relaxation techniques to prayer – are gaining wider acceptance.  Laughter’s “outside the Jack-in-the box” approach to healing is one of those surprising treasures putting smiles on many faces.

Goodness knows the world could use more comic relief.  I remember the song Uncle Albert (played by Ed Wynn) sings in the movie Mary Poppins as he floats around the rafters of his living room:

We love to laugh
Loud and long and clear
We love to laugh
So ev’rybody can hear
The more you laugh
The more you fill with glee
And the more the glee
The more we’re a merrier we!

Unlimited Love Heals

Ohio Statehouse 9-11-11

If there was a take-away for me from all the recent documentaries and tributes surrounding 9/11, it was to see what love accomplishes.

That eventful day ten years ago not only uncovered “gaps in our [country’s] intelligence”, but also “gaps in our hearts”, according to Robert Glenn, Executive Director of Ohio Homeland Security. Glenn spoke before a coalition of diverse religious organizations at an Interfaith Prayer Service marking the 10th anniversary of 9/11. The event was held at the Ohio Statehouse.

While it is easy to focus on the destructive images of that day, the real accomplishment of 9/11 was the resulting display of love, compassion, courage, and forgiveness overtaking the unwelcomed sense of insecurity, the dampening effects of vulnerability and the rush to hate. Glenn acknowledged that we should “guard our hearts.” Continue reading Unlimited Love Heals

What did you expect?

Since this week’s theme has been centered on expectation, I thought you might enjoy this repost from February of this year.

Ever been caught off guard by someone you have met?  They act or respond in a manner unexpected.  The surprise might even register on your face.  Wow…I didn’t see that coming!

Jackie Evancho

Susan Boyle, Jackie Evancho, and Ted Williams are well known examples of people who have astonished us.  They are out of the norm in some regards. And that is part of the appeal. At first, you question what you are hearing and seeing.  Eventually, acceptance settles in.  What you are experiencing is authentic.

There is a great line in the Bible about being delivered from the expectation of the people.  Expectation can be a good thing, but sometimes it is a straightjacket.  Many would argue that their lives are impacted in some way by the expectations of others.

There are many illustrations.  For example, I am concerned with health issues that confront the people of our nation.   There is almost universal acceptance that when you catch a cold of flu, the affects have to last for a predetermined length of time.  That’s not law, just the expectation.  There is the anticipation that with age comes a variety of health problems.  It is a given…or is it?… Continue reading What did you expect?