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May 2005

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

Volume 9, Issue No. 5




- Quote of the month
- From the Editor
- This Month's Theme: The Importance of Friendship on Health
- Get Out and Mingle
- Links for further information
- Book Review: It's Not Your Fault
- Courtesy, An Essential for Good Relationships
- And In Business as Well as Health Care...
- A Perspective from 12 Step Programs
- And for the Things We Cannot Change
- Whole Foods recipe Swap
- Health in the News
- Letters
- Question of the Month
- Purpose of the Newsletter
- Subscription Information
- Web Site

Next Month's Theme: The Positive Effects of Marriage on Health




"Sacrifice thyself for the well-being of the people and be thou a kind comforter to all the inhabitants of the world. Ask and pray to God that thou mayest become an enkindled lamp, to shed light upon the assembly, to become a lover of men and a well-wisher of human kind; nay, rather, thou mayest become the manifestation of the divine providence, finding out the heavenly gifts, enlisting thyself among the soldiers of the kingdom of peace and reconciliation, delivering the people as far as possible from war and carnage, spreading righteousness and friendship and becoming the cause of tranquility and composure to the world of humanity."

('Abdu'l-Baha, Tablets of 'Abdu'l-Baha V3, p. 546)


"O my God! Assist Thou all of them and pour upon them the showers of Thy Supreme Confirmations; so that they may become the cause of the tranquility of the world of creation; to be the servants of the human race; to become, with all their hearts and souls, the real friends of all nations; to become with the utmost joy Ý575Ý and fragrance, the spiritual companions of the adherents of all religions; to dispel the darkness of strangeness and to spread the lights of friendship in this transitory world!

"O God! Grant Thou to all them an Asylum in Thy Neighborhood and gladden their hearts and impart to them rejoicing through Thine Incomparable Bounties! Thou are the Omnipotent and the Mighty!

Thou art the Seer and the Hearer!"

('Abdu'l-Baha, Tablets of 'Abdu'l-Baha V3, p. 574)




Dear Friends,

The purpose of Healing Through Unity newsletter is to draw upon the very qualities inherent in the word 'friend' as the most efficient and effective way to improve individual health. We are each an expert in our own ways, on how our own body and spirit experience this life. And more importantly, we are also part of one greater Whole, made up of parts more like us than unlike.

To use the simile of individual cells in the human body, we are at once unaware of the larger body and acutely important to its function.

Cells that lose contact with healthy cells around them cease to behave in ways that are healthy for themselves and for the body as a whole. The converse of that is also true: cancerous liver cells placed individually into a medium containing only healthy liver tissue, reverse their cancerous ways and behave like good citizens, even though they still contain damaged genetic code which should prevent them from doing so.

Curiosity about the processes by which complex systems operate has spawned a new science, part biology, part sociology. It is exploring how it is that multi-celled organisms (or multi-layered systems such as corporations) communicate with the much smaller subparts that are mostly unaware of the bigger whole.

The most stunning revelation is that cells in a body pay close attention to what the cells around them are doing. Stem cells (a type of unspecialized cell) will become functioning members of whatever tissue in which they are placed. The need to know what neighboring cells are doing is so important that there is a specialized process built into every cell, called apoptosis, that deals with the problem of alienation and the resulting unhealthy behavior.

A cell self-destructs when it no longer 'knows'

its primary functions because it has lost touch with its neighbors! On those statistically rare occasions when apoptosis does not work, the cell proliferates and poisons itself and the body of which it is a part.

The point I want to make is that each of us is important to the function of all of us. Whether it is by sharing our knowledge, lifting a load, moving a mountain - or by providing a moment of empathy, a smile or a kind word - we not only boost the health of those around us, we improve our own health as well.

The Healing Through Unity Newsletter is about building this connection between people so that we can pay better attention to each other. We can all live happier, healthier lives...with a little help from our friends!

Cheryll Schuette, Michigan, USA


"A true friend never gets in your way -- unless you happen to be on your way down."

(Arnold H. Glasow, Family Circle Magazine, April 1, 2005, p.12)





There is a growing body of information in the health and scientific communities on the importance of friendship in maintaining good health. Even though friendship is a feedback loop that the most popular statistical models fail to deal with, researchers are beginning to include something called social capital in their conclusions, particularly where health outcomes need to be predicted. The biostatisticians may not see it in their figures, but health workers and their patients see the importance of good relationships on a daily basis.

Dr. Dean Ornish, in his book, "Love and

Survival," [Harper Books, 1998] addresses this aspect of healing which he laments that both physicians and the media want to discount. He is best known for his amazing medical breakthrough in not only halting but actually reversing cardiopathology in heart attack victims. While everyone seems to know about the diet and exercise regimens in his plan, few pay much attention to the 'touchy-feely' part: the counseling and support groups. He devotes an entire chapter to a comprehensive review of literature and research that supports friendship as a critical need in managing and maintaining good health.

He says, "Love and intimacy are at the root of what makes us sick and what makes us well, what cause sadness and what brings happiness, what makes us suffer and what leads to healing. If a new drug had the same impact, virtually every doctor in the country would be recommending it for their patients. It would be mal-practice not to prescribe it -- yet, with few exceptions, we doctors do not learn much about the healing power of love, intimacy, and transformation in our medical training." (p.3)

Psychologists regularly take account of their clients' social lives, and sociologists and politicians also pay attention to how people relate to each other. Only recently have medical researchers begun to look at this apparently metaphysical aspect of health.

Religion has always addressed the importance of love, intimacy and spiritual capital - defining, guiding and even providing instructions as to the behaviors necessary to spiritual health. It was only with the Age of Reason and the industrial revolution that mankind turned to less spiritual means of achieving happiness. Success has been patchy, at best, and the bankruptcy of material satisfaction is revealing itself more every day.

Individual happiness and health are not the only gain from learning how to be a good friend.

Families, working groups, neighborhoods, communities, countries, are affected by a person's commitment to spiritual growth and developing true friendships. Most of the crises in the world, be they political, medical, or environmental, could be reversed by developing a strong base of social capital. Friends don't damage friends.

"The spiritual growth generated by individual devotions is reinforced by loving association among the friends in every locality, by worship as a community and by service to the Faith and to one's fellow human beings...the holding of regular meetings for worship open to all and the involvement of Bahá'í communities in projects of humanitarian service are expressions of this element of Bahá'í life and a further step in the implementation of the Law of God.

(Letter of The Universal House of Justice to the Bahá'ís of the World,

Dec 28,1999)




Friends help us succeed with our goals in a variety of ways, directly and indirectly. Bruce Rabin, M.D., medical director of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Health Enhancement Program, comments on their web site: "Being optimistic, having a sense of humor, being physically fit, and being religious or spiritual are all part of the [anti-stress] package--and none is more important than another. It's a lifestyle that combines all these factors that will help you in the long run... The more types of friends you have, the better... Seek out friends from a variety of settings, including your family, your workplace, and your place of worship. It doesn't matter much where, so long as you get out there and mingle."

Gerald Ellison, Ph.D., director of Psychoneuroimmunology Services at Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Tulsa, Oklahoma, observed in an article on their web site, "Friends keep us from becoming isolated and lonely; they offer encouragement and support; and they help keep our thinking in line with the real world... When we're missing friendship, we experience isolation and loneliness. These feelings are associated with illness, discomfort, and general ineffectiveness as a person... Having friends can also be especially helpful if you're already seriously ill... Friends - if supportive and encouraging - can increase our hope when dealing with illness and trauma. And increased hope is associated with higher levels of immune system functioning."

One caveat: merely having friends is not enough, according to Dr. Ornish. Quoting the work of James Pennebaker, "If you have had a trauma that you have not talked about with anyone, the number of friends you have is unrelated to your health.

Social support only protects your health if you use it wisely." (Love and Survival, p. 125)

If you are shy about burdening others, or worry about appearing weak or needy, consider this: by not asking for help, even if all you need is a sympathetic ear, you are denying someone the chance to be of service. You are not only jeopardizing your own health, but you could be harming theirs as well!




150 things you can do to build social capital, from Better Together, an initiative of the Saguaro Seminar: Civic Engagement in America, Kennedy School of Government:

The Ideal Lives Project - Special Needs Practical Support has a page with a list of links to some interesting sites with the words friends and friendship in them.

The Friends' Health Connection, whose motto is 'Friends make all the difference,' facilitates one-to-one support for people with health problems and their families. For a small fee ($19.95/first half year and $9.95/semi-annually thereafter), they host a web interface that connects people with similar health problems for the purpose of mutual support. There are actually two separate networks, one for the patients and one for the caregivers. Also, there is a good deal of information about the importance of friendship and support on the site that can be accessed for free.

The US Department of Health and Human Services National Health Information Center has a publication up for free called, "Making and Keeping Friends: a Self-Help Guide."




IT'S NOT YOUR FAULT: How Healing Relationships Change Your Brain and Can Help You Overcome a Painful Past

There is a new book out on the way the brain processes traumatic events, written by Patricia Romano McGraw, a Baha'i psychologist. A description of the book from her website says:

"Relationships both good and bad change the way your brain and emotional system [work]. Like it or not, others have a huge impact on our ability to be happy, productive people. For instance, if you have had the benefit of caring, supportive parents who gave you the loving attention you needed during your years of growth and development, you are probably well on your way to emotional health and happiness. But, if you have not had this advantage, or if you have suffered emotional traumas along the way, you may find that you feel chronically unhappy, or anxious, or "out of control."

"It's Not Your Fault" makes it clear that if neglect or emotional traumas have left their marks on your life, it is NOT YOUR FAULT. But it is up to you to heal. But how? Can you "go it alone?" Can you "just pull yourself up by your bootstraps" and "get over it?"

"No. You really can't and this book explains the science behind the how and the why. Despite the popular cultural idea that we are all just responsible for ourselves, the fact is, we are all connected, spiritually and emotionally. Each of us carries within us the capacity to help others or hurt others. Each of carries within us the capacity to reach out and attune with love or to strike out with rage and anger."

For more information:

Provided by Susan Gammage, Canada




While chastity and holiness are principles which guide Bahá'í conduct, courtesy is a set of attitudes which is reflected in social interactions. Among those attitudes is a respect for each person as a spiritual being created by God. Courtesy tempers every social action and is reflected in the manner in which one carries out actions. Other attributes which one strives to acquire, such as truthfulness, honesty, patience, and compassion, should, when expressed in action, be adorned with courtesy; for a lack of courtesy diminishes their effectiveness. For example, one may be honest but cruel, patient but gloomy, helpful but patronizing, compassionate but annoying. Bahá'u'lláh indicated the high station of courtesy by naming it "the lord of all virtues":

"O people of God! I exhort you to courtesy.

Courtesy is, in the primary station, the lord of all virtues. Blessed is he who is illumined with the light of courtesy, and is adorned with the mantle of uprightness! He who is endowed with courtesy is endowed with a great station. It is hoped that this oppressed One, and all, will attain to it, adhere to it, hold unto it, and observe it. This is the irrefutable command which hath flowed and is revealed from the Pen of the Greatest Name."

(Bahá'u'lláh, "Bahá'í World Faith," p. 175)

Courtesy is based on a fundamental respect and reverence for the humanity of others. It causes one to base his actions toward others on their reality as creations of God rather than on their personalities. Because its expression is not dependent on another's attitudes or actions, courtesy enables one to rise above the limitations which personal likes and dislikes may impose. Viewed from this perspective the reason behind Bahá'u'lláh's exhortation to be courteous to all people, including those whom we do not know and those who may be rude or insulting, is clear.

Nowhere is courtesy more important than in one's home. Because one is apt to take for granted those with whom he lives, he may become careless and relate to them in discourteous ways which communicate indifference or lack of respect.

Courtesy protects the integrity of each family member and helps maintain a spirit of loving kindness essential for family unity.

Courtesy also helps establish and maintain unity in any group. Because it is based on a respect for man's high station, courtesy puts one in touch with his true self. When consistently practiced, it facilitates the release of potential and draws out the best in others. When all demonstrate courtesy, the group becomes spiritualized and unified. A failure to act courteously disrupts this spiritual climate. Such a negative expression of ego puts the self before others, shows a lack of respect, and is likely to be intrusive or presumptuous-all of which undermine the unity of a group.

The following incident illustrates how 'Abdu'l-Bahá exemplified courtesy and describes the powerful effect of His actions. May Maxwell, who had fallen ill during the course of her first pilgrimage, wrote:

"On Sunday morning we awakened with the joy and hope of the meeting on Mount Carmel. The Master arrived quite early and after looking at me, touching my head and counting my pulse, still holding my hand He said to the believers present: "There will be no meeting on Mount Carmel to-day.  We shall meet elsewhere, Insha'allah, [sic] in a few days, but we could not go and leave one of the beloved of God alone and sick. We could none of us be happy unless all the beloved were happy." We were astonished. That anything so important as this meeting in that blessed spot should be cancelled because one person was ill and could not go seemed incredible. It was so contrary to all ordinary habits of thought and action, so different from the life of the world where daily events and material circumstances are supreme in importance that it gave us a genuine shock of surprise, and in that shock the foundations of the old order began to totter and fall. The Master's words had opened wide the door of God's Kingdom and given us a vision of that infinite world whose only law is love. This was but one of many times that we saw 'Abdu'l-Bahá place above every consideration the love and kindness, the sympathy and compassion due to every soul.

(May Maxwell, "An Early Pilgrimage," pp. 15-16)

Provided by Kathy Gilbert, New Zealand, from a study guide




By Wade Schuette

NOTE: On the importance of relationships in the successful outcomes any kind of planning, but especially in health behaviors...this might be a fair additional summary. The author would love to hear some debate.

1) For a human to sustain peak performance, it is not enough to engage the brain; we have to engage the heart.

2) We're very social animals, always watching each other for clues; to sustain a value, we need to see constant reaffirmation from others that it is still a value today.

3) We are each other's context, and have to proactively make an effort daily to give that reaffirmation of our shared values and positive feedback/encouragement for the right thing, not just criticism of the wrong thing.

4) Sustaining that shared spirit is what makes the daily pain tolerable; to paraphrase old wisdom: the spirit can survive any illness, but a broken spirit - who can bear?

5) The side-conversation of any "business" decision has to be a human conversation that says: "We share a goal, we share these values. I really like you. Now, what was it we were arguing over/deciding?"

6) If it doesn't have a spirit, create one; if it has a Spirit, treat that as if it were a living being, with its own "health" and "fitness," and make sure that there's a program to keep it healthy.

7) Beware of solutions based on technology or "systems" that neglect compassion. Compassion is the strongest suit there is, the strength to build on - "He ain't heavy, Father, he's my brother." The "caring" in "health care" is what makes it work. Not caring will kill any business model, cold. We don't build cars. We don't entertain. We care about people and do something about it. And that's what defines us and gets us up in the morning and holds us up 36 hours later.

8) Spiritual issues (above) have a dramatic impact on the bottom line, clinically and financially. I see this daily in software design and performance outcomes our IT shop produces, something that at first looks 100% technical.

A story is told of two stone-masons working on a huge church in Europe, one with great work and one with sloppy work that needed to be torn down and redone. When asked what they were doing, the poor one said: "I'm building a wall." The other said: "I'm building a cathedral." The spiritual issue matters so much it hurts, in ways science doesn't begin to grasp at the moment.

Wade Schuette, MBA, is an epidemiology student at Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, USA




This is a wonderful list of Al-Anon principles linked to Baha'i Writings, submitted by a Baha'i friend in Scarsdale, New York, USA.


God is sufficient unto me; He verily is the All-sufficing! In Him let the trusting trust.

(Shoghi effendi, "The Dawn-Breakers," p. 632)


Breathe not the sins of others so long as thou art thyself a sinner. Shouldst thou transgress this command, accursed wouldst thou be, and to this I bear witness.

(Baha'u'llah, "The Arabic Hidden Words," #27)


Be patient under all conditions, and place your whole trust and confidence in God.

(Baha'u'llah, "Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah," p. 296)


Forget all save Me and commune with My spirit. This is of the essence of My command, therefore turn unto it.

(Baha'u'llah, "The Arabic Hidden Words," #16)


Free thyself from the fetters of this world, and loose thy soul from the prison of self. Seize thy chance, for it will come to thee no more.

(Baha'u'llah, "The Persian Hidden Words," #40)


How couldst thou forget thine own faults and busy thyself with the faults of others? Whoso doeth this is accursed of Me.

(Baha'u'llah, "The Arabic Hidden Words," #26)


Sorrow not save that thou art far from Us. Rejoice not save that thou art drawing near and returning unto Us.

(Baha'u'llah, "The Arabic Hidden Words," #35)


At the outset of every endeavour, it is incumbent to look to the end of it.

(Baha'u'llah, "Tablets of Baha'u'llah," p. 168)


Wert thou to speed through the immensity of space and traverse the expanse of heaven, yet thou wouldst find no rest save in submission to Our command and humbleness before Our Face.

(Baha'u'llah, "The Arabic Hidden Words," #40)


Close one eye and open the other. Close one to the world and all that is therein, and open the other to the hallowed beauty of the Beloved.

(Baha'u'llah, "The Persian Hidden Words," #12)


Noble have I created thee, yet thou hast abased thyself. Rise then unto that for which thou wast created.

(Baha'u'llah, "The Arabic Hidden Words," #22)


Is there any Remover of difficulties save God? Say: Praised be God! He is God! All are His servants and all abide by His bidding!

(The Bab, "Baha'i Prayers," p. 27)





"...this body becomes weak, or heavy, or sick, or it finds health; it becomes tired or rested; sometimes the hand or leg is amputated, or its physical power is crippled; it becomes blind or deaf or dumb; its limbs may become paralyzed; briefly, the body may have all the imperfections.

Nevertheless, the spirit in its original state, in its own spiritual perception, will be eternal and perpetual; it neither finds any imperfection nor will it become crippled. But when the body is wholly subjected to disease and misfortune,... like a mirror which, when it becomes broken, or dirty, or dusty, cannot reflect the rays of the sun, nor any longer show its bounties.

('Abdu'l-Baha, Baha'i World Faith, p. 327)




We found a neat web site on the new dietary guidelines from the US government. Free information, plus a personalized on-line tracker, many tips and tricks for changing one's diet and succeeding over time, plus general and specific details of caloric use for more than 600 activities and over 8000 foods. See [See also "Healthy Diet & Lifestyle, Food Groups, Nutrition Before & During Pregnancy, Child Nutrition, Physical Activity," at (-J.W., 2015)]


Update on Carotino Fruit Oil

Our family has found that this combination of red palm and canola oils is very nice for salad dressings and baking, but not so good for a light sauté, as the canola oil denatures at high temperatures and stinks!

This is very disappointing, as the choices left are olive, which is good when you don't mind the strong flavor it provides, or peanut, which is supposed to be less good for our arteries. Palm oil by itself might be better. Does anyone know of a brand?




Drinking and strokes linked

A recent study funded by the National Institutes of Health (USA) suggests that heavy drinkers may have a higher risk of stroke than those who drink moderately or not at all.

Researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the Harvard School of Public Health found that middle-aged and older men who consume more than two alcoholic drinks a day over several years are more likely than nondrinkers to have an ischemic stroke.

People who drink moderately have the same or a slightly lower risk than teetotalers. The findings were taken from a large pool of men.

The report follows findings from the same large group, that those who drink moderately or not at all had a lower risk of heart disease and diabetes, said lead researcher Dr. Kenneth Mukamal, a Beth Israel internist and assistant professor at Harvard Medical School.

About 412 - or 1 percent - of the 38,156 male health professionals who returned questionnaires biennially over 14 years of the study reported having strokes (family members reported fatalities). The heavier drinkers had a relative stroke risk that was 20 percent to 40 percent higher than those who abstained.

Researchers are not sure why excessive drinking may raise the risk of stroke. Alcohol may be a factor because it tends to raise blood pressure and adds to atrial fibrillation, in which blood isn't properly pumped through the heart's upper chambers, Mukami said.

Source: Jan. 4, 2005 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine




Thoughts on Alcoholism

I am a family practitioner with the Indian Health Service currently on the Navajo reservation. I have worked for most of my career as a family physician among Native Tribes and in areas with very high rates of alcoholism. It also has proved devastating in my family of origin, where I lost an uncle and great uncle from alcoholism and my father and all my aunts and uncles were affected by it. I have read reams of professional literature.

Stan's request for alcoholism thoughts inspired me to write down these thoughts. I think it is too long for the magazine. Please forward it to him.

- Cindy Nielsen, D.O.

EDITOR'S NOTE: A complete version of this excellent six-page article will be sent to anyone requesting it from the Newsletter Editor at:

Another Resource for Dealing with Alcoholism

To add to your list of resources on alcoholism:

The Baha'i Network on AIDS, Sexuality, Addictions and Abuse (BNASAA) has been providing cutting edge conferences and workshops in the US and Canada for over 10 years. BNASAA is a committee appointed by and under the guidance of the NSA of Canada. Their website is at:

- Susan Gammage, Canada

Offer a Different Newsletter Format?

For a number of years I've been receiving the Newsletter ... Occasionally, when there's time, I've reformatted the Newsletter from "Text" to "MSWord" for my personal convenience of referencing and readability, as well as for easy retrieval of the hard copy from my file cabinet.

Likewise, it's easier for friends to read when I pass the Newsletter around. This reformatting, however, does require quite a substantial amount of time.

Thus, I've been hoping the HTU Admin-Office might begin offering a down-loadable MSWord version - or PDF version (much like the HTU Course which is offered in two formats) - with standardized page heading inclusive of page-numbering?

When this downloadable format option is made available, be assured I will be a regular user.

- John Schwerin

EDITOR'S NOTE: We are exploring the possibility of providing the newsletter in multiple formats.

Presently, the newsletter is sent as part of the body of an e-mail message, as that was the easiest and most universal way for people to receive it.

However, for those who can receive attachments, the newsletter could be sent as a pdf document, which could allow for improved formatting and even occasional graphics. It would also be easier for those who want to print out and distribute copies.

Please contact the editor ( and let us know if you would like to:

a) receive the newsletter in pdf as an attachment instead of in the body of the email message,


b) would prefer to continue to receive the newsletter as is, and to download a pdf or Microsoft Word document version from the website when you need it,


c) keep it simple just the way it is.




Request for Info about Anxiety Disorders

I would like to suggest/request that in an upcoming issue the subject of anxiety related disorders be discussed including social phobias, OCD etc. with the view to soliciting input from readers on how they manage these disorders including the effect of faith on treatment, etc.




"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. None of the material published in this newsletter is intended to be a substitute for the advice of your physician.

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 Ann Arbor, Michigan.




Distribution of this newsletter is free by email.

Please email requests for all new subscriptions, subscription cancellations and email address changes (please include old address along with new one) to




You can visit our Web site, obtain back issues and the Healing Through Unity Course at:




All of us have had healing experiences, as well as climbed out of low points along life's way - physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual.

Please share your stories, tips, useful links, and quotes from the Baha'i Writings about staying healthy in a stressful world. Your articles do not have to be long - even a few paragraphs in length is fine. Baha'u'llah gave us each other as a big part of a healthy lifestyle, and sharing stories and ideas that work for you brings encouragement to others. Asking for information and support from others can bring encouragement to you!


Many thinks to all of you who share helpful ideas for the Healing Through Unity Newsletter. The decision to select and edit material submitted for publication is determined by the editor. We welcome submissions from everyone.

Please e-mail your stories, comments, suggestions or "Question for the Month" ideas to the newsletter editor, Cheryll Schuette, at:



Founding Editor - Frances Mezei

Editor - Cheryll Schuette

Medical Reviewer - Dr. Diane Kent

Contributing Editor - Lynn Ascrizzi

Circulation Assistant - Kathy Yonash

Web Master - Russ Novak


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