In the last couple of decades there's been more and more emphasis on a good diet and exercise as being crucial to one's health. But certain foods seem to go in and out of fashion. Fad diets help people lose weight but aren't always considered healthy. Individual needs can vary so much that it's not always easy to define what constitutes proper diet and exercise.
What I've found most helpful in thinking through these issues is that our thoughts about our bodies and our health are actually what's most influential. This isn't commonly accepted knowledge, but I've proved it over and over again in my life and many others have, too.
While life looks and feels physical in nature, those appearances are deceiving. Life is, in fact, spiritual. Life is God, the divine consciousness, or Mind. A greater appreciation of the spiritual nature of life brings us better health. And this health is stable, not subject to the whims of the latest health theory or diet.
Because God is Spirit, His creation is spiritual. He couldn't create something unlike Himself. So trying to fix His creation through material remedies is ultimately futile.
There's certainly good intention behind society's focus on exercise and diet. But a focus on life as physical and material doesn't supply long-term answers. A material view of the body inevitably includes advancing age, physical decline, and ultimately death.
I had an experience a few years back that illustrates this. After dinner one evening, I began having strong chest pains. The one thing available to me immediately was what I've found most helpful in serious instances like this – prayer. As I turned to God, I realized that more than being physically uncomfortable, I was disheartened.
The pain's source was in my feeling of separation from God, divine Spirit. It was depressing and even scary to feel as though I were subject to a material body and material conditions. If my ability to experience life was dependent on a body controlled by material laws I could do nothing about, then I was doomed. Limitation, pain, sickness, and death would be unavoidable.
I figured this is what the Psalmist in the Bible meant when he cried out to God: "My flesh and my heart faileth …" But the psalm doesn't stop there. It goes on, "…but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever" (73:26). It's God who lives, and He forever expresses Himself, Life, through His creation – each of us.
This thought bolstered me. And when I could get to the phone to call a friend to help me pray, he shared the same message with me. Life and well-being are in God. Awareness of the thoughts coming from God not only cares for the body, but helps us feel loved and nurtured. It keeps us safe and on track with God's purpose for us.
As a result of our prayers, I understood more deeply that this awareness was what I wanted and needed. And it was what my body really needed. Two hours after the pains began, they completely vanished. Interestingly enough, some months later, they returned a bit while I was feeling burdened about something. But once again I prayed, and I've been free of them ever since.
Referring to God as Mind, Mary Baker Eddy's book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" explains, "Immortal Mind feeds the body with supernal freshness and fairness, supplying it with beautiful images of thought and destroying the woes of sense which each day brings to a nearer tomb" (p. 248). A human perspective brings the feeling of pain and doom. God's inspiration replaces that feeling with a conviction of the unstoppable nature of good in life. This feeds and sustains us.
Ultimately, we need the inspiration that expands our horizons toward Spirit and a spiritual sense of life. As our conviction of Spirit's presence and love increases, we see more clearly that each of us has a purpose, given to us by God not just for today but for all eternity.
Adapted from an article posted on www.spirituality.com.