Spirituality and Healing
Spirituality permeates so much of our society. It governs our morals, beliefs, and manners of thinking. Much of our personality is shaped from our spiritual views. Our ability to handle situations is also a branch from our tree of spirituality. Each and every person has opinions about the level of control they have over their own life. Some people think there is no God at all. They are more than welcome to feel that way. Others feel like God rules everything and everyone around them. There are people who are extremely religious. They need the rules, the structure, and the community. And on the other hand, individuals can be rather spiritual. That means the relationship with God is free-form and subjective. There is no right or wrong answer to religion or spirituality. When it comes to healing, our dogmatic principles can impact a lot. It can rule our mind and body. Both of which are pivotal when it comes to healing. However, the spiritual journey of the individual must be clearly understood.
My spiritual journey has blossomed in the past two years. Once upon a time, I was a Baptist. I was raised that way since a very young child. Each Sunday, either my aunt or my grandmother would come pick us up to go to church. If my aunt came, then we had to attend bible school as well. I have always lived a good and honest life. I have never wanted bad fortune for anyone, nor have I ever benefitted from the pain of others. I thought that was due to very strong roots in the church.
As I grew older, church became more and more of a chore for me. When it was on me to go to church alone, I preferred not to go. I would pop into church every now and then. Whenever I finally ended up in the church, I was very satisfied. I was happy and felt extremely fulfilled. I never really liked the people that were in church. I would do my best to stay in my own bubble and keep to myself. Even as a young child, I have always been in tune with the vibes of others. For some reason, in church, the people always made me feel very odd.
Prayer time was always my favorite. I believe that was the most genuine time of the entire service. That was my opportunity to say what I needed to say. At some point, it clicked to me that Jesus was regarded as God. I’d never prayed to Jesus as the Almighty. They were always two separate entities to me. That happened to be a major reservation I had against Christianity. From there, I kept my faith and decided to stick with what I was taught. I was honestly scared to consider any other kind of religion; that’s what the bible told me. It occurred to me that so much fear was preached in Christianity, and it scared me into submission.
One day I decided to take a look at the bible myself and clarify some things. I looked up fornication and tithing. Both of those concepts differed significantly from what I was taught in church. The words in the bible did not line up with what I was lead to believe from preachers. From that point on, I started to question so many things. The more I questioned my preconceived notions, the more answers I received. I eventually went on renounce my faith as a Christian.
I gained an understanding that religion is a system of control, and I did not want to be bound by so many rules. Spirituality is the purest form of religion. Spirituality is that direct relationship with God. It isn’t necessary for me to get dipped in water, eat fancy bread, and be forced to conform to a book. My relationship with God is very direct. I speak directly to the feminine and masculine aspect of the universe, so sometimes God is a “she”, and other times, God is a “he”. I am happy as I have ever been since I have discovered this form of worship that suits me. I also believe that my ancestors have a heavy influence in my life. I pray to them as well.
Healing starts on the inside. Dealing with sickness is always a somewhat daunting situation. Our views and thoughts are going to have a profound effect on our process of healing and coping. Since we are mentally shaped by spiritual beliefs, then that is going to dictate quite a bit. External factors are also going to impact the healing process. Therefore, the people around you, including medical staff, are going to play key roles as well. It is helpful to start off by making sure only positive people are around. The negative energy will automatically make a sick person feel even worse. The best thing to do is keep a positive outlook, no matter what turn the situation is taking.
As far as healing is concerned, the state of mind is very important. Spirituality has a heavy hand in the way we perceive things. Some religions leave people more inclined to believe in the influences of the world. Though, I personally do not think that so much power should be given to the physical influence. Since each individual has their own mind, then people feel the exact opposite. Therefore, if a doctor says, “You have six months to live,” then that becomes law. I generally believe that doctors are only able to speak on things on a physical level. The physical body is only a part of the whole person.
I cannot put all of my faith into a person that is just as human as I am. There is only so much that a person can tell you. In the end, they can give you medicine, but can’t really make you heal. I do understand that technology is amazing and it can tell you all of this important stuff about your body, but faith really changes things. In a time of hardship, it is also important to have a medical professional that is willing to actually care. “Compassionate care calls physicians to walk with people in the midst of their pain, to be partners with patients rather than experts dictating information to them” (Puchalski, 2001). All positive support is helpful.
If someone refuses to accept a timed mortality, then they will fight harder. A person with no faith, that is rooted so deeply in the physical world, will be likely to give up easily. There is no supernatural doctrine or proof that deems doctors as superlative decision makers. Each emotion has a physical response attached to it. If you are sad, your body will respond a certain way, and release certain chemicals. I can’t imagine that sad chemicals are good for you. If you are happy, your body shoots off a feel-good cocktail. Something like that will make you feel more resilient and equipped to deal with whatever is ahead. No one should sit back and rely completely on medicine. I believe that everyone should be connected to something that is bigger than them, and willing to give them a fighting spirit.
Spirituality can also make someone take sickness very hard. If your spiritual beliefs encompass a religion that teaches a scary afterlife, you will dread each day. You will be in constant fear that you are going to die and be forced to face an intense reckoning of some sort. That is stressful, and can have quite the negative effect on healing. Stress is hard on the body. The battle with illness and stress can be extremely devastating. Your spirituality can also be your saving grace. “Some studies indicate that those who are spiritual tend to have a more positive outlook and a better quality of life” (Puchalski, 2001). It can teach you that you have more control over your physical condition than you think. You will be inclined to feel like you have some degree of power to heal yourself, or prolong your own life. That is an excellent quality to have, because hope can save a person’s life. It can even help the family to be more positive, and bring in more positive energy.
Spirituality is about attaining oneness with something bigger than yourself. Way before religion was organized, people were spiritual and surviving. There is something inside of the human spirit that gives us a natural inclination to endure. Whether we like to admit it or not, we have so much spiritual power. That’s an innate right we have as humans. Healing starts from within.
Modern society has molded our minds into feeling like spirituality has to be done by the book. In real life, we have to do what makes us feel good. If we feel like praying in the shower is spiritual experience, then no one can tell us that a church is a holier place. That direct line with your maker should be a relationship of your design. We should remember that our worship will not look like the next person’s worship. The ability to heal or not heal does not dictate the validity of your spiritual beliefs. Everything happens for a reason. If we pray hard enough and heal, then it was meant to be, and if not, then it still works out according to the original design.
Medicine is helpful and all, but medicine can’t heal a fractured spirit. It helps to have spiritual beliefs incorporated into all aspects of a medical experience. “I think we can be better physicians and true partners in our patients' living and in their dying if we can be compassionate: if we truly listen to their hopes, their fears, and their beliefs and incorporate these beliefs into their therapeutic plans” (Puchalski, 2001). If all doctors adopted that point of view, I feel like medical situations would be far less aversive. It is refreshing to know that a doctor views you as more than a patient. When a doctor is able to level with you to a spiritual degree, then you feel far more supported. That can have a positive influence on the entire person: mind, body, and spirit. A strong mind will always make things work optimally. And spirituality is strong part of mental resilience.
Puchalski, C. M. (2001). The role of spirituality in health care. Proceedings (Baylor University.
Medical Center), 14(4), 352–357.