“On the night before his assassination, Martin Luther King said in a speech in Memphis, “We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn’t matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop…”
Self-syndicated health columnist Tim Mitchinson in Illinois, writing on Fit for Life, applies this idea of a mountaintop view to taking a higher, broader view of freedom that includes freedom from disease – aka health!
Writing in the Huffington Post ‘Healthy Living’ Blog, Sharon Frey McElroy examines how abuse victim Ben Bosinger learned to let go of years of resentment toward his father. And she shares how she was able to forgive a couple of fellows at a cafe that upset her by talking about women in a derogatory way.
McElroy then shares some ideas that can help anyone find peace through forgiveness. She writes, “…heading down the path of forgiveness can be as simple as knowing we each have this spiritual sense that can identify the good that’s present even where it seems far from obvious.”
Want a more peaceful day? Need a “Ben Bosinger moment”?
I heartily recommend this Huffington Post article, originally published in PlainViews, a publication of the HealthCare Chaplaincy Network: Want Peace? Try Forgiveness.
“Addiction is like a chasm opening up before you and enticing you to keep walking despite the dire consequences ahead,” says Tony Lobl, a Christian Science practitioner and writer on spirituality and health living in the U.K., writing in the Huffington Post UK last fall.
Lobl points out that more than one million Britons are addicted to prescription medications and according to the World Health Organization over 15 million world-wide suffer from drug-use disorders.
He makes this insightful observation: “perhaps surprisingly, when drugs become the problem, more drugs are often offered as the answer.”
In his article, he looks at non-drug interventions for addiction. These include a fairly well known 12-step program.
Gambling is another form of addiction, and using that as a case in point, Lobl offers another perspective in which “a spiritual vacuum” may be the thing that needs to be addressed. He shares how he found freedom from addiction in his own life by connecting with spiritual goodness and divine love through efforts in spiritual self-identification.
Do you sometimes feel like a slave to disease? Or to its treatment? Or know someone who does? How do chapped lips, Abraham Lincoln’s visit to Kalamazoo, Michigan, and a case of poison ivy shed light on needed emancipation?
Abraham Lincoln made only one visit to Michigan – to Kalamazoo in 1856. Why did he make that visit? To address slavery, of course.
A recent article¹ in the Kalamazoo Gazette, no doubt spurred on by the new Spielberg movie entitled, “Lincoln”, relates that Lincoln told the crowd in Kalamazoo, “This is the question: Shall the government of the United States prohibit slavery in the United States?”
Of course we know how this turned out: with the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 during the Civil War and the eventual end of human slavery in this country.
But there is another kind of slavery. Many suffer a form of slavery to disease. And others, seeking relief, all too often end up exchanging slavery to disease for slavery to drug-based treatment.
“In the past, illnesses tended to be ‘acute,’ meaning that they occurred and were treated, and the patients either got better or died. But today, most illnesses are chronic and complex.” “… [The] condition will be with him for life and will need multiple treatments, many medications, and probably a number of hospitalizations…” according to Dr. Stephen C. Schimpff, M.D. in The Future of Health Care Delivery²
In light of the connection between thought and the body, might we find freedom by exploring how our thoughts either enslave us or through an understanding of spirituality free us? It’s a growing field of medical research but not really something new.
Shortly after the Civil War, Mary Baker Eddy, a pioneer in researching the relationship between thought, spirituality and health, wrote this: “Legally to abolish unpaid servitude in the United States was hard; but the abolition of mental slavery is a more difficult task.” And she shares this insightful observation, “I saw before me the sick, wearing out years of servitude to an unreal master in the belief that the body governed them, rather than Mind.”³
An experience I had taught me about the mental slavery of illness and what happens when you become a slave to the treatment as well.
As a child, I suffered often from chapped lips. It was especially troublesome in the Michigan winter. I used a lip balm (Chap Stick) and I got to the point where for years I used it year round. I fell into a habit of licking my lips, getting chapped, applying the lip balm, and then licking my lips again. This went on all day long, all year long. I carried a tube of lip balm in my back pocket year-round.
I was essentially a slave to chapped lips and to an ointment that wasn’t solving the problem.
After a number of years of this, one day, when I came down with poison ivy, I prayed to God for healing. I found comfort from Biblical statements in Genesis that caused me to feel God’s love and care for me. Through this prayer I also came to realize that this plant did not have dominion over my body, but that my thought – through connection with the divine – was empowered with dominion over my body and over the plant. This resulted in quick and permanent healing of the poison ivy.
But what I find really interesting is where this realization led next. I then saw that just as I was free from mental slavery to poison ivy, on the same basis I could also be free from the mental slavery of thinking I was dependent on lip balm. This was like an emancipation proclamation for me. I threw out my tubes of lip balm and have been free, still living in Michigan, ever since.
Perhaps this is the kind of freedom Jesus was referring to when he said, “… ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”4
I wonder if the question Lincoln presented to the Kalamazoo crowd could be paraphrased to ask, “Shall we prohibit all forms of slavery, including mental slavery?” Shall we? Can we? The answer is “yes”.
Did you know that you can and that a spiritual perspective – spiritual vision – is the ticket?
Last week while enroute to a meeting in Miami I flew over Tropical Storm Debby. The pilot pointed out to us the blue spot at the center of the large area of circular clouds indicating that this was the eye of the storm. I was struck by how bright, sunny, and peaceful it was above the clouds. It was a little hard picturing all the wind and rain going on beneath those same clouds.
It’s peaceful in the eye of a storm. So, what if we were always in the eye? Above a storm the weather is sunny and clear. So, what if we could always get above life’s storm clouds?
“Spiritual vision is not subordinate to geometric altitudes“¹ writes Mary Baker Eddy.
Unalienable: not subject to being taken away and incapable of being given away.
Our Creator – God – gives us certain things – including life and liberty, happiness and health. And not only are these things not subject to being taken away, but they are actually incapable of being taken away, and even incapable of being given away! They’re ours.
We have the God-given right to be free from disease, free from sadness, free from anything and everything that would restrict our ability to live a happy and fulfilling life.
Our Forefathers declared their freedom. They wrote a declaration of independence. In it they declared that “…these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free…” They declared that they ARE free, and that they should therefore BE free. They gave their consent to this fact in their thought first and declared it and then it was brought to pass. Continue reading Unalienables, declarations and freedom→
Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day here in the U. S. Walter Cronkite of CBS News referred to him as “the apostle of non-violence in the Civil Rights Movement“. I recently listened to Dr. King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech. You can find the entire speech below in this blog post. If you haven’t heard it in a while – or ever – now’s a good time!