"Caring parents produce healthier adults."
"Caring parents produce healthier adults."
That was a front page headline in USA Today [March 7, 1996], a national newspaper in the United States. It caught my attention because I wondered who was not aware of this truth that they would feel the need to scientifically verify it. The accompanying story explained that a 35-year study following 87 Harvard College men into middle age reported that the healthiest at age 55 were those who at age 20 reported that their parents were most caring. Young men who said their parents were less loving, especially those who saw their parents as unjust, were most apt to have illnesses like heart disease and hypertension by 55.
This research supports what many people believe: that what we think and how we feel about each other determines our ease or dis-ease. Your fiancee makes your heart race while your boss is a pain in the neck. For me, as a metaphysician, this study verifies a more advanced concept of wholistic health: the undeniable health effects of mental heredity. Most mainstream researchers won't go near this idea because of the current wave of victims that permeates our global society. The way you think directly affects the condition of your body? No, that can't be! Well, maybe as far as those thoughts that allow you to smoke ever-increasing numbers of cigarettes or the ones that tell you it's okay to eat dessert today because you'll exercise tomorrow. Now those thoughts can affect your health.
And maybe as this study suggests, "the perception of being loved may lower stress hormones and improve immune function." So maybe the more we love and are loved, the healthier we can expect to be. But can we really believe that the way we think contributes to illness? Sure, we have all known someone who had a will to live, a drive to recover. And they did. They threw off the shackles of disease and reorganized their thinking and their lives, and to this day tell the story.
Can we go so far as to hypothesize that the way someone thinks can make him have a heart attack? We've all heard of someone who died of a broken heart. Perhaps it's more than a metaphor. Perhaps it is symbolic to describe the causal thought of a breakdown in the physical body.
But dare we conclude that the way someone thinks causes him to be a diabetic? Surely not. To have cancer? No way, say those entrenched in allopathic medicine, and denial. After all, that would be blaming the victim of the disease, the person who is already suffering enough.
Yet what is it that makes one person welcome death, closing his lifetime in peaceful dignity, while another rails angrily, poisoning his final days by refusing to surrender to the inevitable? What motivates one person to greatness from a misfortune, while another crumples never recovering from a tragedy?
It is universally true that the quality of our thinking determines the quality of the lives we lead. This is true whether we speak of our friends, our chosen careers, our health. When we think positively and with love, we find the magic in life. We receive good fortune. We expect miracles and we witness them.
The ways of the universe are a mystery only to those who refuse to see the truth that eternally applies to us all. "As above, so below". "As a man thinketh, so is he." As a metaphysician, I would describe it as thought is cause and the physical is its manifest likeness.
Man can be a victim of his own limited thinking. He can fill his mind with fear and hatred, and his body with imbalance and disease. Man can also transcend any limitation. He can learn from hardship. He need not become helpless, bitter, or self-pitying. He can draw upon strengths he did not know he had. Certainly Helen Keller spoke with authority when she warned, "Self pity is our worst enemy and if we yield to it we can never do anything wise in the world."
At this stage of humanity's development, the consciousness of our world is continually being drawn toward health. Too often the importance of health and the ways to achieve it are lost amid the fearful warnings of well-intentioned leaders and professionals. Approaching health from the standpoint of illness and disease is like putting a cart before the horse for as American philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson noted over a century ago, "sickness is poor-spirited." There might be times when the extreme measures of modern science are required to eradicate the effects of inharmonies in mind and body, yet who wants to live a life fearing disease and dreading physical debilitation? Such a person is poor-spirited and his life is laid waste by the poverty of ignorance. There are better ways to think, and better ways to live.
Emerson was not a stranger to Universal Truth. He knew the origin of mankind's health lies in the purity of his thinking. His acquaintance with transcendent wisdom shines in his writings: "The first wealth is health. Sickness is poor-spirited, and cannot serve any one; it must husband its resources to live. But health answers its own ends, and has to spare; runs over, and inundates the neighborhoods and creeks of other men's necessities." Emerson knew health is necessary for spiritual generosity between people.
Therein lies the secret in the revelation that "caring parents produce healthier adults." Researchers stressed that the type of parents you had or the type of parent you are to your children determines health decades into the future. Love and wisdom from our first teachers, our parents, lay an incomparable foundation for every child. The more obscure truth revealed in this study is found not in what it says about what is received but rather what it says about giving. This study beautifully illustrates that parents who care, who actively love, are healthier from and because of the loving. The universal command to love others as you love yourself can now take on greater meaning for it is a cornerstone for health.
Every culture in the world encourages a richness of spirit. Each teaches a principle of how to establish healthy human relations, how to get along with one another. This concept is described in every holy scripture because it is the original cause for compassion, cooperation, and goodwill among people. Too often the truth eludes us because we react to the way that truth is expressed.
Older scriptures describe this principle in a negative form: "Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful" (Udana-Varga of Buddhism), "What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow man. That is the entire Law; all the rest is commentary." (Talmud of Judaism), or "This is the sum of duty: do naught unto others which would cause you pain if done to you" (Mahabarata of Hinduism).
The more recently written scriptures, the Christian Bible's "Love ye one another" and the Islamic Koran's "No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself," tell us how to fulfill the law.
-from First Opinion:Wholistic Health Care for the 21st Century by Dr. Barbara Condron, copyright 1998, School of Metaphysics
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