Aging, and all that goes with it, is frequently on people’s minds. There are many components to aging that people are concerned about: mental decline, physical decline, and insufficient funds to live during retirement are just a few. One news report even indicated that some individuals would rather die than live with insufficient funds. Despite the many perceived negatives with living longer, research continues on longevity. But there is a new focus – extending quality of life by reducing or eliminating many of the present physical limitations connected with aging.
Take Harvard Psychologist Ellen Langer. One of Langer’s most interesting research projects took place in 1981 with a group of 70-year-old men who were immersed for five days in an environment designed to make them feel they were two decades younger. They were to live as if they were in 1959 – clothes, music, books, news events, conversations. Langer wanted to show how powerful the mind was in positively affecting the body and was convinced that the mind and body were not on separate tracks. At the end of the study, Langer remarked that putting these men’s minds in an earlier time “brought their bodies along for the ride.” They looked younger, and eyesight was improved. The experiment worked so well that at the end of the session the men even participated in an impromptu game of touch football.
What’s interesting is that many years earlier, health researcher and theologian Mary Baker Eddy wrote about the link between the mind and the body in relation to aging: “Never record ages. Timetables of birth and death are so many conspiracies against manhood and womanhood. Except for the error of measuring and limiting all that is good and beautiful, man would enjoy more than threescore years and ten and still maintain his vigor freshness, and promise.”
But Eddy didn’t just look at this mind-body connection as the last word. She came to realize that there was a spiritual relationship that furthered this concept. Instead of accepting that age would produce decay, she presented the idea that man is connected to God, and so would never stop developing, growing, and flourishing. She described this new idea of aging thus: “Each succeeding year unfolds wisdom, beauty, and holiness.”
Instead of continuing to look at the mind-body connection to understand how to control the body and produce health, an understanding of our relationship to the Divine Mind is in order. Divine Mind governs health. Opening up to this spiritual connection allows for the expression of health at every age.
Photo © GLOW IMAGES. Model used for illustrative purposes.
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