Ask any health care professional and they will tell you: Spirituality and religion is an important part of your health. It is one of the components that makes us a “whole” being. Without a strong “spirit”, you cannot have a strong mind or body.
That said there are many forms of spirituality. Some come from organized religion, and some come from just honoring nature.
My sister told me about an artist who made an extraordinary piece of art having to do with human spirituality. The artist carved 16 beautiful doors, each one representing a religion or form of worship. He arranged the doors facing out in a circle. The middle of the circle, he said, was the spirit of humanity. In order to get to it, you had to walk through one of the doors.
You can view the artist, Maarten Schaddelle’s video and hear him discuss the piece here.
This was an interesting concept to me, and one that I really liked. The thought was that it didn’t matter which door you passed through, you could still get in touch with and experience spirituality.
Spirituality and health–the connection
There seems to be a definite link to spirit and health. It has been found that those who practice some form of religion, be it one of the large organized religions, or one of the more obscure like Shinto, Goddess, Sikhism or Zoroastrianism, benefit greatly from using their spirituality to maintain and improve their health.
It may have something to do with stress relief. I have to think about this day Sept 11, 9 years ago. I remember seeing the churches and synagogues packed with people who, when they were filled with stress, turned to their spirit for relief.
Spirituality is different for everyone, but most forms have some type of prayer, worship, or meditation.
Meditation, in many forms, has been shown to improve health, both physical and mental. Prayer is a form of meditation. You can meditate at any time, anywhere. It does require practice, but the more you do it, the better you get.
Meditation has also been shown to improve your immune response. Your immunity response is directly linked to various illnesses including cancer. In one study, there was a direct increase in immune function of the meditating group versus the non-meditating.
Meditation is not hard. It can be done 5 – 10 minutes/day anywhere you are. You have probably done it without even knowing it. (staring blindly into space during high school math tuning eveything out untill the teacher gets your attention…)You can explore some simple tips here. There are also audio tapes and uploads you can purchase to assist you in your meditation journey. Some even focus on healing or increasing your immunity.
I have used Bellerueth Naparstek’s audios. I bought the CD’s and downloaded them to my ipod. While I was undergoing chemo I found it extremely helpful to use the guided imagery while I sat in the chemo room for hours. I found it was a good use of my time and I felt as if I was “helping” the chemo to do its thing!
We all have a spiritual side, and you don’t have to show it by sitting in a church. Getting in touch with your spirit can really make a difference in your health and help to complete the whole person: body, mind and soul.