One of the many reasons that I have been drawn to Naturopathy as a profession is that the healing involved encompasses the WHOLE person. It is one of the founding principles of this modality and one that I feel truly connected with. Human beings are complex organisms that have an array of connections from our consciousness, our mental state and our physical being. While it is impossible to be in perfect balance of these elements, all the time, it does make sense to nurture the mind, body and the spirit to achieve wellness and maintain it.
Often in modern Western culture, the spiritual aspect gets ignored. Aside from some vague religious connections, many people spend a lot of energy focusing on mental and physical health without understanding that we have complexities about us, energy connections that go beyond us that need to be acknowledged and nurtured. Studies have found that people who are religious or spiritual can cope with health issues better and even live longer in some cases. For example, a study published in the August 1999 issue of the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences examining almost 4,000 North Carolina residents aged 64 to 101 found those who attended religious services at least once a week were 46 percent less likely to die during the six-year study. Lead author Harold G. Koenig, M.D., of Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina. “When we controlled for such things as age, race, how sick they were and other health and social factors, there was still a 28 percent reduction in mortality,” he says. (Koenig HG, Hays JC, Larson DB, George LK, Cohen HJ, McCullough ME, et al. 1999.) Another study found that patients with long term illness who had strong spiritual beliefs could cope better with pain and symptoms of terminal illness than those who were not spiritual. (Puchalski, C. M. 2001.) This literally shows in just two examples that having a spiritual connection can mean better health and there are plenty of other studies out there too.
Personally, I am not religious, but I am definitely a spiritual person. While I do struggle at times with the meaning of our existence and trying to balance intuition with scepticism, I do know innately that there is something beyond us, our ego. It is that intangible feeling that you get when you connect with someone or feeling energy in a room. It is that formidable feeling that something is not right, something feels off and then hearing bad news. When a loved one passes and you just know that they have connected with you, especially the light brush of hair on your forehead while sleeping. It is concepts like déjà vu and feeling like you have met a person before. It is that inner consciousness that only you can hear that speaks to you and creates your dreams. We are more than just a higher cortex, people.
My personal spiritual path
As a child, I was lucky to have grown up with an eclectic mum who did have a connection with Christianity (we even had stints of going to church) but was more intuitive and could sense things beyond us, also known as a psychic. Now, interestingly my mother and I differed a lot in our approach to life, and often disagreed with one another, but there was one place that we did connect, and that was spirituality. My mother read tarot cards in Sydney professionally, and she was incredible, she had a lot of clients and often I would tag along with her, she would also teach me the meaning of the cards, and the connection she had with them. One incident with my mum and the tarot, changed my life completely. One night I had an explosive fight with my partner at the time, and ended up leaving and going to my mum’s place. I had called him from the house, but he was drunk and honestly, I didn’t see the sense in trying to communicate with him until the next day. The next day came, and it was literally as though I had been hit in the stomach with a bowling ball, something was wrong, but I couldn’t pin point it. I decided to wait the day out, until my partner called me in a better frame of mind, I just assumed the stomach was the restless nerves that I felt from our argument the day before. After lunch, I looked at mum and asked her to lay the cards out for me. As she did, we could both sense the terror that laid before us. Long story short, the reading prompted me to call the police to escort me to my then home, fearing something terrible may happen with my partner. What did happen, I certainly was not prepared for. My partner was found in his car, he had committed suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning. I was in complete disarray, at 22 years old, my life was literally turned upside down. I was so grateful that I had grown up trusting the cards, and that we called the police.
I have always been able to sense a person’s energy, this can be a great blessing, but sometimes is a curse. I was blessed with the teachings of my mother with tarot, and it is truly where I feel connected to the realms beyond us. When I read for clients, I take on their energy, often it can be restless, and I will tell the client how I am feeling, to which they usually reply that they feel the same. Despite, all of this, I am also an analytical thinker. I love rational thinking and sometimes I find myself doubting anything beyond the physical, interestingly when this happens, I am pulled back into an intuitive sensing, and this confirms what the inner me knows, we are all connected beyond the physical. It is hard for me to sum up my beliefs in one blog post, but basically I feel that we are all part of something greater, there is realms beyond earth, higher planes that we can aspire to get to. Connecting with gut feelings, meditating and understanding spirit, can put us all in a better position with our health and wellbeing. This is something I really connect with as a healer, my true spiritual calling is to walk with people on their journey and provide them with support for finding a true sense of wellness. Whatever your beliefs, if you are connected with something higher than the physical, it can help you on your health goals.
Until my next post, be well xx
Koenig HG, Hays JC, Larson DB, George LK, Cohen HJ, McCullough ME, et al. (1999.) Does religious attendance prolong survival? A six-year follow-up study of 3,968 older adults. Journal of Gerontology: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences. 1999;54 (7):370–376. [PubMed]
Puchalski, C. M. (2001). The role of spirituality in health care. Proceedings (Baylor University. Medical Center), 14(4), 352–357.