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June, 2003

A monthly newsletter dedicated to serving the principles of
physical and spiritual health envisioned in the Baha'i Teachings.

Volume 6, Issue #10



- Put Your Hands Together
- The Healing Power of Prayer
- The Importance of the Nervous System
- A Song In Response to Infant Death
- A Reader is Requesting Assistance
- Announcements
- Letter From the Editor
- Website
- Purpose of the Newsletter





By Ellen Rosenberg, taken from "Healthy Woman" June/July 2002, pp. 13 - 14 (In partnership with the society of obstetricians and gynaecologists of Canada).

When Julie Payo was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 1997 she relied on the prayers of her community to bring her the strength to heal. "Knowing that my friends and family were praying for me helped me through my illness," says 44-year-old Roman Catholic medical secretary from Toronto, Ontario. Today, with her body in full remission, Payo is convinced that those prayers played a role in her healing.

Does prayer really work? A landmark study published in 'The Southern Medical Journal' tested the effectiveness of prayer among 393 patients in a hospital's cardiac ward. Half the patients were prayed for, the other half were not. The controversial result? The patients who were prayed for had fewer complications and better health outcomes.

The study supports an age-old belief that a link exists between prayer and health. Today, more and more people are turning to religious and spiritual activities, including prayer, to gain comfort and strength in times of illness.

In Judaism, prayer is the pouring out of the soul. "We pray because we hope that it will help, but we must realize full-well that it may not," says Rabbi Reuven Bulka of Machzikei Hadas Congregation in Ottawa, Ontario. If prayer is genuine and authentic, it can bring inner peace, which gives us the strength to face adversity, says Rabbi Bulka.

"Simply going through the mechanical exercise of prayer to fulfill an obligation won't do much," adds Rev. Harry Oussoren, a minister at Shaughnessy Heights United Church in Vancouver, B.C. A helpful prayer, he explains, is one that opens you up to a greater understanding of God, the life force. This, he says, is the role of prayer in sickness. As you feel yourself being drawn into this larger spirit, "the life force and the person praying merge and become one, which then brings peace." That, he says, is a sign of healing.

Prayer offers relaxation, hope, catharsis and peace. It also promotes love. This creates harmony and an appreciation for the natural cycle of the world, an understanding that everything that lives must die. "If you have faith," explains Dr. Chandrakant Sha, professor emeritus in the department of public health sciences at the University of Toronto, "you have positive emotion, contentment and acceptance - and sustaining strength."

Of course, prayer does not ensure a cure, no matter how strong your faith may be. Why some people get better while others remain sick or die is what Rev. Oussoren calls "one of the unresolved dilemmas of human existence."

Sometimes healing is simply a matter of coming to terms with the reality of the illness that you are facing. Rev. Oussoren often prays with the sick members of his congregation, either in the church or at the hospital. "Later on, they often come up to me and say, "It was so helpful to have you pray with me, because afterward I felt at peace." To him, this means they have been touched by prayer's healing power.

Rev. Oussoren says when he prays for the sick, he also includes the patient's health care workers. After all, he says, "they bring their expertise to the patient. I see them as part of God's instrument in healing."


There are many different ways to pray. Praying en masse in your house of worship is actually good for your health; studies prove that people with strong social networks are healthier and have lower mortality rates and more advanced coping mechanisms that those who face the day alone. Prayers of intercession, or praying for others, are a common practice as well, one that is clearly reflected in the widespread presence of chapels in hospitals.

Only one in five Canadians regularly visit their house of worship, so it's likely that many people pray in their own home or wherever they find solace; says Dr. Shah. Similarly, instead of citing prayers by rote, people often use their own words to help express what's in their hearts. Composing your own prayer can have a greater impact on you, whether or not the object of your prayer is realized. "The idea alone, that there is an address out there that you can talk to, is very therapeutic," Rabbi Bulka.

While health professionals don't dispute prayer's ability to bring comfort, most challenge the idea that prayer can actually heal the sick. One skeptic of the study in 'The Southern Medical Journal' says a generally accepted motto of science is that extraordinary claims (particularly miraculous ones) require proportionately extraordinary proof, which no study on prayer has been able to offer definitively to date.

Dr. Jan Christilaw, president of The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada notes that "we don't have a scientific explanation why prayer seems to help some people." She adds, 'While prayer can be a useful adjunct, it does not replace established, accepted medical practices in mainstream medicine." Dr. Christilaw cautions against women declining medical care in the belief that they will get well through prayer alone when they are viable medical alternatives available (e.g., forgoing chemotherapy for cancer treatment, believing that prayer will heal them.)

Dr. Shah argues in favour of integrating prayer along with medicine right from the get-go. "What's best for the patient is to accept that, although we can't cure everything, we do have a hand in healing."


"Supplication and prayer on behalf of others will surely be effective." (Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 151)

"There are two ways of healing sickness, material means and spiritual means. The first is by the treatment of physicians; the second consisteth in prayers offered by the spiritual ones to God and in turning to Him. Both means should be used and practised." (Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 151)

"It behooveth the servant to pray to and seek assistance from God, and to supplicate and implore His aid. Such becometh the rank of servitude, and the Lord will decree whatsoever he desireth, in accordance with His consummate wisdom." (Abdu'l-Baha, Spiritual Foundation: Prayer, Meditation and the Devotional Attitude, p. 9)




By Sue Emmel, U.S.A

When I first became a Baha'i, in the principles of oneness and the harmony of science and religion, I realized that one must apply the principle of independent investigation of truth in the field of health just as much as in the field of religion. I saw that we must be open to all fields of health - ancient and modern, Eastern and Western - perhaps synthesizing the truth throughout the ages into a new field of medicine that is all-inclusive and providing for the whole person/human race, as in "Regard ye the world as a man's body..."(Baha'u'llah, page 55-56, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf)

Having had a near-death experience due to chronic illness and complications of major surgery the year before I became a Baha'i, and upon reading the Tablet to a Physician by Baha'u'llah in which He said, among other things, "Search for the cause of disease...." (Lawh-i-Tibb/Tablet of Medicine, Star of the West, Volume 13, page 252), I became highly motivated to go beyond mere symptomatic treatment to do just that: discover the cause of disease. A search that has spanned the last 30 years led me to find, among other methods, Ayurveda - the science of life and longevity - from the pre-Hindu Vedas

(truths) dating back 5,000 to 6,000 years. To me, Ayurveda (in which I am now a certified consultant, taught by Dr. Vasant Lad in Albuquerque, NM), considered the "Mother of All Healing", is like the Ancient Root, mentioned by Baha'u'llah, from which many forms and approaches - branches, leaves and fruit - have stemmed, but which are all part of the same one Tree of Life. Since Ayurveda and the Baha'i Writings both recommend addressing both physical and the spiritual aspects of health, I became fascinated with a quote by 'Abdu'l-Baha on the powers of the nervous system:

"The powers of the sympathetic nerve are neither entirely physical nor entirely spiritual, but are between the two (systems). The nerve is connected with both. Its phenomena shall be perfect when its spiritual and physical relations are normal.

When the material world and the divine world are well correlated, when the hearts become heavenly and the aspirations grow pure and divine, perfect connection shall take place. Then shall this power produce a perfect manifestation. Physical and spiritual diseases will then receive absolute healing. " ('Abdu'l-Baha, Baha'i Scriptures, Chapter 8, #836)

Praise be to God, there is now not only a resurgence in ancient knowledge, there are also several types of bodywork available which are effective in restoring the nervous system to the state that is needed to fully experience physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health, especially when combined with prayer, meditation, adequate nutrition, correct bodymind consciousness, and healthy relationships.

In the early 90's I worked with a chiropractor in New Mexico (Dr. Robert Lupowitz, Corrales, NM) who specializes in Network Chiropractic which focuses on "light force" adjustments to the nervous system along the spinal column from the base of the skull to the base of the spine. These release the content of information - the impressions that accumulate from life's experiences - contained in the nervous system, thus allowing an unimpaired flow of nervous energy (from the spiritual world to the physical world), with its own innate intelligence, to nourish and vitalize all the parts and members of the body. It's a relatively new, fascinating and amazing science - you can probably learn more about it by searching for "Network Chiropractic" on It doesn't deal with the skeletal structure directly in the theory that when the content of information is released from the nervous system, the bones will go back into place normally without force. Getting "bent out of shape" is literally true when viewed with an eye to the tension and stress that is held in the nervous system, impairing a healthy experience of life.

Other effective bodymind work that restores the nervous system to health includes Reiki (a totally gentle, non-invasive hands-on energy technique) and Connective Tissue Therapy, another gentle hands-on technique taught by Donald Van Howten in New Mexico where I lived for 16 years before moving to western New York in 2000. The theory is that if the connective tissue, with its rudimentary consciousness, perceives any threat - whether that threat is spiritual, mental, emotional or physical, real or imagined - it will tighten and harden in an effort to protect the vital organs underneath. Like a "watchdog" with a singular purpose, it may not be able to "relax" unless given a signal that the organism is no longer in danger. Sometimes that doesn't happen without intervention. Talking alone doesn't help; in fact, it may reinforce and increase the effects of the experience in the body in the principle that "the reality of man is his thought." ('Abdu'l-Baha, The Reality of Man page 9). This type of bodywork, performed in an atmosphere of safety and support generated by the therapist, provides the signal that the bodymind needs: "re-minding" it that it is "okay." Eventually, the individual "forgets" the experience and "remembers" his/her true reality... "The healer of all thine ills is remembrance of Me, forget it not." (Baha'u'llah, Hidden Words Persian #32) and "Thy Name is my healing, O my God, and remembrance of Thee is my remedy." (Baha'u'llah, Baha'i Prayers page 87, 1991 edition).

Personally, I have not only experienced some of my own healing in several traumatic instances with these methods but I have also studied them and used them effectively with others. In light of the Writings about the nervous system and its importance in experiencing true life, (there are other references, too, which you can access at by putting "nervous system" or "nerves" in the search), it is certainly a most vital component in life.




Song written by Diane Kerr, U.S.A., copyright 2002

Here is a song I wrote for a little baby I knew who died last Thanksgiving. This song was sung at his funeral. I feel that these little ones have a very special purpose and the lessons they bring from the other side are so important that grief can cloud what they are. Sometimes the grief must clear to get what the gifts really were and therefore make that child's mission worthwhile. Just some thoughts from spending much time with this child and his mother. Hope the song speaks to you.


You took me on your wings
To a higher place where angels sing
They say you are not right
A part of you left in the night
They say you are not right

Oh Navarro
Sometimes your eyes find mine
Sometimes you look into another time
Oh baby where do you wander to?
When you leave this world of fools
I know it must be hard
It is us who are truly scarred
To spend your time both night and day
Lovingly teaching us the way

When your angels come to you
I feel them tell you what to do
All confusion is instantly gone
To not listen would be wrong
Some may think you always slumber
They don't recognize a soul unencumbered
If they only knew the love you bring
It would free their hearts to truly sing
This funny world is upside down
Black and white go round and round
Like two small identical twins
They may wrestle but they never win
They may wrestle but they never win

Oh Navarro
The gift of wisdom sometimes arrives
In the darkest times when hope almost dies
That's when the angels hover close
And blessings surround us the most
Little child lying in your mothers arms
We will protect you from all harm
But we know that you are so very strong
As you journey through the worlds of God
You took me on your wings
To a higher place where angels sing
They say you are not right
A part of you left in the night
They say you are not right
Oh Navarro




I am 46 years old and have had Rheumatoid Arthritis for 6 years. Please pray for me that something will come along and help me. I can barely walk or stand-up. I have no energy. If there are others that have RA I would like to correspond with them. Also most people do not understand RA because when you tell them you have arthritis, they will say "Oh I have arthritis also, some days I am so stiff with my fingers or other joints" It is much more than a little stiffness; it is a very systemic disorder. It is very hard and depressing for me to deal with. Thank you and please pray for me and others who have been stricken with this. (Please send your responses to and then your messages will be passed on to the person requesting assistance.)




"A JOURNEY OF COURAGE: FROM DISABILITY TO SPIRITUAL ABILITY": A NEW PUBLICATION Compiled by Linda Bishop, Beverley Davis, Frances Mezei and Shirlee Smith Foreword by Member of the Continental Board of Counsellor, Dr. David Smith and Auxiliary Board Member, Meim Smith

This book is a celebration of life, where disability becomes ability, where struggle becomes strength, and where the effort to fully participate in the building of all that is noble and good is rewarded with victory after victory. As such, it is destined to serve as a wonderful source of insight and comfort to individuals, families and health care providers alike, assisting all who read it to understand what it means to truly embrace, in unity, the diversity of humankind. The compilers of this publication, all of whom are intimately aware of the ways in which society perceives disability, celebrate, in their own lives, the freedom of the human spirit to express itself in service to humanity. This compilation is an example of their devotion to such freedom. Contains many revealing and empowering passages from the Bahá’í Sacred texts as well as touching excerpts from stories and biographies about the Holy family and others. Comes complete with guidelines for creating an accessible environment for those with physical disabilities.

5.5”X8.5”, 160 pages, Unity Arts Inc. - Nine Pines Publishing 9-945 Middlefield Rd Toronto, ON Canada M1V 5E1
Tel: 416-609-9900 Fax: 416-609-9600
ORDER DESK: 1-800-465-3287
Item No.: B6-290 Suggested Retail: $12.95 USD $16.95 CAD
(You can check your local Baha'i distributor for this book)



The Baha’i Association of Mental Health Professionals (BAMHP) will be having its 5th annual conference, “Transcending Adversity and Oppression," September 25 – 28, 2003 at Louhelen Bahá’í School in Davison, Michigan, U.S.. Students investigating or planning careers in helping professions are particularly encouraged to attend.

The program so far will include:

* Dr. Joy DeGruy Leary, who is a lecturer on Post-Traumatic Slave Syndrome

* Dr. Fereshteh Bethel on “The Dynamics of the Relationship Between Experiences of Childhood and Adolescence/Adult Development: Examining it from Scientific and Baha’i Perspectives”

* Gayle Gonzalez-Johnson on “Psychotherapy as an Act of Service”

* a panel on ethical issues with Beverly Davis, Jane Faily, Lawrence McCullough and Vida Wachob

* artist-in-residence Eric Dozier, who will create a choral presentation from among the participants. Arts will be incorporated throughout the program. Submissions of proposals for presentations are still being accepted (email

BAMHP seeks to combine the highest scientific and professional knowledge in the field of mental health with insights from the Baha'i Writings to apply to clinical mental health practice and everyday human interactions.

For more conference details, previous conference reports, and information on BAMHP, go to the BAMHP website at For information on conference site, accommodations and costs, go to



Ability OnLine is a computer network designed to enhance the lives of children and youth with disabilities or illness as well as their families, caregivers and friends by providing an online community of friendship and support. Over the past ten years, we have helped millions to make contact with others in a monitored environment where safety and respect are primary concerns. Please check us out at Michelle McClure, Executive Director,




The sixth year of the Healing Through Unity newsletter covered many topics and issues on disabilities such as: human rights and disabilities, hearing impairment, visual impairment, physical disabilities, learning disabilities, Alzheimer disease, borderline personality disorder, emotional intelligence, eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, organ transplants, cholesterol, emphysema, and dealing with stress in the workplace. It is encouraging to read the wealth of knowledge and experience on the diversity of health issues, struggles and victories in the application of the principles of the Baha'i Faith in everyday life. It occurred to me that we have just scratched the surface in sharing about disabilities since there are many more that we have not yet covered.

Since the newsletter is not published during July and August, this is our last issue of the sixth year, until September 2003. On behalf of the reviewers and myself, thank you for your wonderful and excellent contributions of articles, stories, and letters of the past year. Your efforts for this newsletter as well as your words of encouragement that you have sent us are heartwarming. Please write to us over the summer and share your thoughts and ideas. Hope you have a wonderful summer and look forward to your participation in the newsletter in September.

Frances Mezei, Editor




You can visit the website, obtain back issues and the Healing Through Unity Course at:




"Healing Through Unity" is published for the purpose of sharing thoughts, comments and experiences on how the teachings of the Baha'i Faith are being applied to physical and spiritual health. Other than the quoted Holy 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. There are 10 issues per year; it is not published during July and August. The newsletter is produced in Ontario, Canada.

Please send your stories, comments, suggestions or "Question for the Month" ideas to Frances Mezei by e-mail:


Many thanks to all of you who send such wonderful contributions for "Healing Through Unity" Newsletter. The decision to select and edit material submitted for publication is determined by the editor.

If you have a change of e-mail address, please inform me with your old and new email addresses. To cancel the subscription, please send message to:

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