The universal desire for universal health
You’d be hard-pressed these days, at least here in the U.S., to come up with a more divisive subject than universal health care, but probably just as hard-pressed to find a more universal desire than good health. Even if we can’t all agree on how it’s achieved, it’s still something we all want.
The good news is that this desire in and of itself helps to foster good health decisions, including a sense of balance and moderation in our eating habits and exercise routines, even the attitudes we nurture (or allow to fester) in thought. Qualities like gratitude, forgiveness, compassion – or, on the flip side, resentment, distrust and fear – all have a direct and measurable impact on our mental and physical well-being.
There can be a tendency, however, for this sort of mental housecleaning to be portrayed in the media as little more than a self-improvement project, a subtle if unintentional perversion of the Golden Rule that would have us do good to others simply to feel good about ourselves, in effect limiting what should be a sincere desire to a less-than-sincere and likely less effective expression.
For Mary Baker Eddy, the key to avoiding such perversions and realizing a health that is truly universal – encompassing everyone, everywhere, under all circumstances – was to be found in a deeper understanding of God or “divine Mind” and not mere human will as the source of such uplifted and uplifting thinking. “Mortal thought must obtain a better basis, get nearer the truth of being,” she wrote in Science and Health, “or health will never be universal, and harmony will never become the standard of man.”
An ambitious goal, to be sure, especially when ill health appears to be so pervasive if not, well, universal. Even so, a growing number of people are finding that a genuine desire, not just for better health, but for a better, more divinely inspired perspective on life – one that recognizes Spirit or God and not matter as the true essence of our being – is the ideal prescription for gaining and maintaining sound minds and bodies.
Case in point: Many years ago a good friend was suffering from a debilitating disease that attacked nearly every organ of her body. Doctors recommended that she be moved to a local hospice as there was little hope for survival. She soon fell into a coma.
After about six months, she regained consciousness and decided she wanted to be transferred to a different facility where she received basic physical care as well as prayerful support from a friend of hers. No pills. No intravenous tubes. No surgery. Eventually every vestige of her disease completely vanished, all of her organs began functioning normally, and despite the many months she’d spent in a coma, there was no brain damage.
How was this possible? According to this woman, her recovery was due solely to the support she received from her friend as well as her own prayers, both of which helped her “get nearer the truth of being,” as Eddy describes it, and experience a complete and permanent recovery.
Certainly we have a long way to go before health becomes universal. But if stories like this are any indication, there is at least some hope that we’re headed in the right direction, and that the means to this end are, even now, available to us all.
Eric Nelson’s columns on the link between consciousness and health appear regularly in a number of local and national online publications. He also serves as the media and legislative spokesperson for Christian Science in Northern California. Follow him on Twitter @norcalcs.