I find it heartening that while there is still a tendency to view health care from 30,000 ft., more people in the health care arena are looking closely at the individual – realizing that health care is more effective when the whole person is treated. This reminded me of an incident on a snowy Colorado night when I realized that I needed to push the snow out of my driveway if I was going to be able to get to an early morning meeting. Because of the lateness of the evening and being in a hurry, I pushed the tractor in reverse without looking back and crushed my hand between the tractor and a tree. As in other situations in my life, I decided to turn to prayer for guidance, since I’d found a spiritual approach so helpful to me previously. I cleaned the hand and wrapped it. The next day I assured several concerned colleagues that I would seek additional help if it didn’t heal quickly. As it turned out, I didn’t need to.
Taking control of health care by incorporating spiritual practices, like I did to heal my hand injury, is being considered a viable option for many. John Counsell, radio host at 580/CFRA Ottawa, ties in the concept of spirituality in health care with the idea of taking responsibility for your own health care: “everyone needs to take responsibility for one’s health, whether it be of the mind, the spirit, or the body. Virtuous living, serving others, prayer, meditation, music, good deeds, a positive outlook, cultivating happiness, loving others, a robust sense of humor… will greatly contribute to the maintenance of health and well-being. Avoidance of negative, critical, punitive, destructive emotional states and thought patterns will also achieve the same effect.”
Counsell even describes an added benefit of taking responsibility by describing its effect on the health care system: “Our overburdened, severely impaired health care system could save itself billions of dollars annually if populations would follow the prescriptions of religion regarding lifestyle choices. The avoidance of smoking and the consumption of alcohol, keeping fit, avoiding overeating, and maintaining a healthy diet would do wonders for the health of the nation.”
Similarly, in a New York Times piece called “If You Feel O.K., Maybe You Are O.K.,“Dr. H. Gilbert Welch also supports the idea of taking responsibility for your own health care, which he concisely articulates by stating, “For years now, people have been encouraged to look at medical care as the way to make them healthy. But that’s your job. You can’t contract that out.” He implies that it’s more important to maintain health by considering the way you’re living, not through screening for problems.
Considering my spiritual connectedness to divine Spirit, my hand quickly healed despite what at first wasn’t pretty. Turning to a spiritual practice – for me, a Bible-based approach – gives me the option to take responsibility for my own health care decisions.
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