HEALING THROUGH UNITY
A monthly newsletter dedicated to serving the principles of
physical and spiritual health envisioned in the Baha'i Teachings.
Volume 1, Issue #10
LISTENING TO OUR BODY
by Frances Mezei
"O Son of Man!
The temple of being is My throne; cleanse it of all things, that there I may be established and there I may abide." (Baha'u'llah, Hidden Words, Arabic #59)
The body is the temple of the human soul. It is important to have knowledge and understanding about our body, feel it, take care of it, like it and allow it to be healthy. Today the condition of our body is influenced by the perceptions and attitudes of our society's view of illness. Most of us grew up with little training on how to honour and nurture our body. Our bodily signs are often ignored mostly because we do not understand the deeper implications of them. We often resort to a quick fix and think that the problem will resolve on its own. There is a lot of pressure to believe
the advertisements that tell us to pop a pill and continue with life's many duties; that popping pills is the only cure.
Our illnesses or chronic diseases such as headaches, allergies, high blood pressure, asthmas, etc are among the greatest trials and sacrifices. We often think it is impossible to find a cure and to eradicate the disease. In the Baha'i Writings, there is much guidance from Baha'u'llah to take care and cleanse the body of its wastes as exhorted in this quote:
"...You should not neglect your health, but consider it the means which enables you to serve. It - the body - is like a horse which carries the personality and spirit, and as such should be well cared for so it can do its work! You should certainly safeguard your nerves, and force yourself to take time, and not only for prayer and meditation, but for real rest and relaxation."
( From a letter dated 23 November 1947 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, Health and Healing, p. 40)
When our body senses tiredness, heaviness, pain or discomfort, it is asking for our loving and kind attention. It demands that we listen to these bodily signs. We can rest, relax and pray, allowing the body to stop and do nothing. Some days we can have complete rest by staying in bed. This will assist the system to heal itself, adjusting severe imbalances which require a great amount of focus and energy. By putting our trust in God, this total relaxation will strengthen the healing power to perform its divinely ordained function. The stress is caused by trying to do something beyond the normal capability at that time. This is simply the natural God-given healing process; some of us call it a healing or spiritual crisis.
This story tells of a woman who is learning to take care of herself: Mary has been suffering from headaches and migraines for about 20 years. Each time a headache would surface, she would immediately take a pill. The pain
would lessen and then she would carry on with her duties. However, the headache would return, and Mary would continue to increase her intake of pills. She was very concerned about her dependency on pills which at times affected her stomach. She tried all kinds of alternative treatments and her headaches still persisted. Then she consulted with a doctor who educated her about the benefits of a healing crisis and that all true healing comes from God.
She is trying an experiment. Whenever she feels a headache, she will increase her intake of water, rest and take no pills. One month ago, Mary had a migraine and she was determined not to take one pill. She was pain-ridden for two days, wore a woolen hat and faced her internal battles of fears which were manifested through her headaches. It was a critical time which demanded bravery and reliance on Baha'u'llah. She faced it fair and square and emerged victorious, clear-eyed and triumphant. She discovered hidden and evident insights, thus liberating her. Mary also
noticed afterwards that her energy level increased and she was able to complete her tasks with a greater sense of simplicity and focus. She wants to continue to strive to practice these spiritual healing habits. She feels this is the key to beat this chronic disease and achieve detachment from pills.
Mary's consciousness has increased. She learned from her physician that when the headaches are suppressed by drugs the healing stops and the underlying imbalance remains, only to emerge at a later time. The headaches
continued to grow worse, and compounded over the years. This encouraged her to search for new solutions such as rest, drinking lots of water and saying prayers. She has learned how to welcome, abide and accept the healing process and thus safeguard her body which is the temple of the soul.
GOD'S PERSONAL MESSAGES - THROUGH THE BODY
By William Saunders, M.D., Smyrna, Georgia, U.S.A
All true healing comes from God, and God has deposited within us His trust, the rational soul, the human spirit, He is closer to us than our own life vein, and He is constantly, uninterruptedly, sending us messages through our physical and spiritual senses. Listening to your body means to pay attention to the message He is sending and to respond to it in the way He wishes. Everyone receives His messages, He ensures that it is the proper response that is important. If we do not learn to respond, He increases the intensity: slight fatigue will gradually increase to total exhaustion, and mild discomfort to debilitating pain. The problem is not the unwelcomed message, which we have been taught to regard as a disease, to be destroyed at all costs, even our self destruction. The real problem is our lack of awareness to His divine health laws, which causes no discomfort and is not disagreeable. We adapt and learn to enjoy these
transgressions, we become attached to them, and refuse to detach ourselves from these practices which are squandering our innate resources, our strength and health, and depriving us of the God-given power to serve Him
at full power for a lifetime. Pain and discomfort do not result from these actions, they follow the attempts to continue to function at the level we were capable of achieving before we squandered our health by conforming to the standards of society. His messages are simple and clear, if you are sleepy, sleep, if you are tired, rest, if you are thirsty, drink pure water, and he has given specific written instructions. In the Most Holy Book is the injunction:
"Resort ye, in times of sickness, to competent physicians."
Abdu'l-Baha interprets this as follows:
"According to the explicit decree of Baha'u'llah one must not turn aside from the advice of a competent doctor. It is imperative to consult one even if the patient himself be a well-known and eminent physician. In short, the point is that you should maintain your health by consulting a highly-skilled physician."
(Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 156)
"It is incumbent upon everyone to seek medical treatment and to follow the doctor's instructions, for this is in compliance with the divine ordinance, but, in reality, He Who giveth healing is God." (ibid, p. 156)
In the Tablet to a Physician (included in this issue), written to a Persian physician more than a century ago, Baha'u'llah gives general and specific advice about health and healing. Of paramount importance is the advice:
"Treat disease first of all through diet, and refrain from medicine."
Equally important is the next statement:
"If you can find what you need for healing in a single herb, do not use a compound medicine."
The original of the Tablet is far more comprehensive than the translation implies, the word used is 'ahad', the Arabic word for 'one', 'a single unit', and could therefore apply to anything required: herb, drug, medicine, food or dish. Its essence is simplicity.
This advice is for physicians, and for the wise in the absence of physicians. Physicians should learn how to do this, and patients should demand that it be done. This will be a sign of the maturity of mankind and will carry us into the medicine of the future, and that future is now, if we dedicate ourselves to making it a reality through our actions, our
unity, and our obedience to His will.
TABLET TO A PHYSICIAN
This unauthorized translation of the entire Tablet by Baha'u'llah is published in "Star of the West", Vol.13, No.9, p.152, Dec.1922.
O God! The Supreme Knower!
The Ancient Tongue speaks that which will satisfy the wise in the absence of physicians.
Say! O people! Do not eat except when you are hungry. Do not drink after you have retired to sleep. Exercise is good when the stomach is empty; it strengthens the muscles. When the stomach is full it is very harmful. Do not neglect medical treatment when it is necessary, but leave it off when the body is in good condition. Do not take nourishment except when (the process of) digestion is completed. Do not swallow until you have thoroughly masticated your food. Treat disease first of all through diet, and refrain from medicine. If you can find what you need for healing in a single herb, do not use a compound medicine. Leave off medicine when the health is good, and use them in case of necessity.
If two diametrically opposite foods are put on the table do not mix them. Be content with one of them. Take first the liquid food before partaking of solid food. The taking of food before that which you have already eaten is digested is dangerous. The compounding of one food with another is a danger of which you must beware. Begin meals with "In My Name, the All Glorious." End with "In the Name of the Possessor of heaven and earth." When you have eaten, walk a little, that the food may settle. That which is difficult to masticate is forbidden by the wise. Thus the Supreme Pen commands you. A light meal in the morning is as a light to the body. Avoid all harmful habits; they cause unhappiness in the world. Relate the diseases to their causes. This statement in this connection is a conclusive decree.
Verily the most necessary thing is contentment under all circumstances; by this one is preserved from morbid conditions and from lassitude. Yield not to grief and sorrow; they cause the greatest misery. Jealously consumeth
the body and anger doth burn the liver; avoid these two as you would a lion.
The main thing is to cleanse the body of its wastes, but in the temperate season. He who overeats, his illness becomes more severe. We have arranged for each thing a cause and we have bestowed upon it an effect. All this is from the effulglence of My Name which permeates all things. Your God is the Ruler in all things. Say! By adhering to that which we have set forth the humours of the body will not depart from their equilibrium nor will their set measure be upset by various conditions, for the primary substance will remain in its pristine purity and no change will occur in the normal proportion of one-sixth, and one-sixth of one sixth, and the twin active agents (qualities, properties) and the twin passive agents will remain intact; and in God must our trust be. There is no God but Him, the Healer, the Knower, the Helper.
The Supreme Pen has not written such words but for love of thee, that thou mayest know that grief has not siezed upon the Blessed Beauty. He is not sorrowful because of what has befallen Him from the nations. Sadness is for
him who loses his chance when it appears. Nothing on earth or in heaven is outside the grasp of God.
O physician! In treating the sick, first mention the Name of God, the Possessor of the Day of Judgement and then use what God hath destined for the healing of His creatures. By My Life! The physician who has drunk from the Wine of My Love, his visit is healing, and his breath is mercy and hope. Cling to him for the welfare of the constitution. He is confirmed by God in his treatment.
This science (of the healing arts) is the noblest of all the sciences, for it is the greatest means from God, the Life-Giver to the dust, for preserving the bodies of all people, and he has put it in the forefront of all sciences and wisdoms. It is indeed the most potent instrument provided by God, He Who breathes life into bones, for the protection of the bodies of men. He hath given it the foremost rank among all sciences and the knowledge of the wise. However, this is the day for thee to arise to help My Cause, while fully detached from all the worlds. Say! Thy name is my healing, O my God, and remembrance of Thee is my remedy. Nearness to thee is my hope, and love for Thee is my companion. Thy mercy to me is my healing and my succor in both this world and the world to come. Thou, verily, art the All-Bountiful, the All-Knowing, the All Wise.
INFORMATION ON HOW COMMON MENTAL ILLNESS IS
Submitted by Nona Lynn Simons, Reno, Nevada, U.S.A,
Following is a synopsis of some important statistics on how common mental illness is in America, based on The National Institute of Mental Health Agenda, Web Page called "Mental Illness in America"
"...the most severe mental illnesses affect some 5 million American adults, causing inestimable suffering to these patients and their families.
"But these severely ill patients...represent only a part of a broader problem from which few families are immune, for mental disorders can and do occur from childhood to old age..." "Overall, one in ten Americans experience some disability from a diagnosable mental illness in the course of any given year."
"An analysis conducted for the Senate Appropriations Committee projected that appropriate and timely treatment of severe mental disorders would produce a 10 percent decrease in the use and cost of medical services by people with these illnesses, yielding savings greater than the cost of providing these treatment services."
"Affective (Mood) Disorders affect nearly 18 million Americans age 18 and older each year..."
This information points to a need for mental health awareness in this country, since so many people experience some disability from mental illness, and this also affects their family members and peers. Thus, I think this is a common problem which is important for us not to ignore. By educating ourselves about mental illness, I believe we can begin to learn strategies for coping with the family members or friends we are bound to encounter who are afflicted with some sort of mental disorder. As Baha'is, I believe we are obligated to learn more about this subject, as a way to help foster the growth of mature Local Spiritual Assemblies (Baha'i Institutions) who are loving shepherds to the friends in their communities. There are a few references on how Local Spiritual Assemblies and the friends can deal with mental illness in statements on this subject prepared by the Baha'i International Community.
It is hoped this information will be helpful to you in some way.
Here is another answer to the question asked in the March, 1998 issue: "How do we bring ourselves to account?"
My 14 year old son and I review our day together when we say our evening prayers. We come up with at least one good thing and one thing we'd like to improve, and then we come up with at least three things we are grateful for in our day. "If we should offer a hundred thousand thanksgivings every moment to the threshold of God. . . we would fail to express our gratitude sufficiently." (`Abdu'l-Baha, Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 37)
I'd been doing it on my own, but we started doing it together about 3 or 4 years ago, when I realized that for him to learn to do it, I had to model it. It's practically the only time of day we can be guaranteed to have any "real" dialogue. It really keeps the doors of communication open and he learns that I am not perfect. We often problem solve together - he helps me to strategize on improving my conduct in the days to come, as I help him.
Susan Gammage, Ontario, Canada
THE VIRTUE OF ORDER
This is taken from Sacred Moments, Daily Meditation on the Virtues by Linda Kavelin Popov. It is a beautiful story about the art of focus.
"I have faced my fear of heights by climbing mountains, feel energized by speaking to large audiences, gladly take financial risks for the sake of a worthy venture and regularly take on my personal dragons. What sets my heart to fibrillating and weakens my knees is adminophobia - the fear of all the little tasks undone that grow like mold, that mock and whine, "You're not enough. You'll never get done." One morning after returning from a trip, an anxiety attack woke me early. Bleary-eyed, I got up and went to my prayer corner. "Help!", I said aloud, "I need real help! I just can't face the pile on my desk." I saw in my mind's eye a holy figure in the distance standing on a beach where I often saw him. He was smiling at me and beckoning. As I approached him, I noticed something colorful in his right hand, glinting in the sunlight. It was a set of pick-up-sticks, a game I played as a child. He lifted his head and raised his eyebrows, directing me to watch closely. He tossed the sticks onto the sand where they landed in a jumbled pile. He put his thumb and forefinger together and shook them with a wry expression which said "Watch this!" He bent
slightly from the waist and, without disturbing the rest of the pile, carefully and effortlessly picked up one red stick. He held it up with a triumphant smile and looked deep into my eyes. I quickly journaled the meditation, writing "One thing at a time." When I walked into the office, there was the expected pile left by my secretary. As my computer hummed to life, I picked up one thing from the teetering pile with thumb and forefinger. I handled it with calm,
focused concentration. By noon, my out-basket was brimming and my desk was mercifully clear.
SPIRITUAL HEALTH HABITS
Here are some essential elements for our spiritual and physical health from an eminent physician.
1) Trust in God
2) Consult a skilled physician and follow his instructions
3) Practice detachment from all save God
4) Practice moderation
5) Pray and meditate daily; read the Creative Word morning and evening
6) Be happy always
9) Practice patience
10) Eat simple, natural plant foods
11) Drink adequate pure water
12) Evaluate progress daily
You are doing a great service to the community and I hope you will get lots of interest and support...This is an exciting project which I am sure will make the Writings of the Faith accessible and relevant to the friends.
Anne Maund, Editor - Baha'i Journal UK, United Kingdom
Thank you for your warm welcome. I have printed all the newsletters and will distribute them via the National Spiritual Assembly to all the friends here.
Dr. Ramin Mohjir, Oman
Thank you for sending the newsletter out to the world. You are doing a great and wonderful job. God bless you.
Joakim Larsen, Denmark
I would like to subscribe to the Healing Through Unity Newsletter. My Mother forwarded the April, 1998 issue and the good works and thoughts presented in it have kept my mind working for weeks. Thank you very much.
Beverly Ketcham, Austin, Texas, U.S.A.
QUESTION OF THE MONTH
The question for this month is:
"How can we use humour and joy to assist with our health and well-being?"
"The star of happiness is in every heart; we must remove the clouds so that it may twinkle radiantly."
(Quoted by Martha Root in Star of the West, vol 13, p. 128)
Please share all your responses or if you have other comments for the newsletter, please write to: Frances Mezei by e-mail, -- .
Other than the quoted Writings, the material in this newsletter represents the thoughts and opinions of the writers and has no authority. You are free to copy articles, provided you indicate the source of the article. If you have a change of e-mail address or wish to unsubscribe the newsletter, please let me know. There are 10 issues per year; it is not published during July and August.
With most loving greetings,