In “Amicable Breakup: HuffPost’s Health Coverage Moves Out of Living Section, Gets Its Own Place“, co-founder Arianna Huffington writes “Our approach to matters of sickness and health has changed radically over the past few decades. We no longer approach our health as a passive experience, one where we sit back, allow ourselves to be poked, prodded, examined, receive the verdict, and compliantly go along with whatever the High Priests of Medicine say. We’ve become partners in our medical care, and the best healthcare providers welcome and encourage the partnership.”
My mum lived in the pre-interent age. But when she was faced with an asthma that wouldn’t go away and couldn’t be effectively managed by the medical means offered, she took steps to find solutions that would very much fit in with the description above. She asked questions of her doctors and got frustrated when they wouldn’t, or couldn’t, give her answers. She explored alternatives. She dug through medical, philosophical, and religious books diligently seeking some hope of a solution.
In my mother’s case that didn’t ultimately save her, and as a family we have been missing her for a couple of decades. But it seems she was pioneering an attitudinal shift that has since been further facilitated by the internet. At that point, my mum didn’t find healthcare providers who welcomed and encouraged a partnership. So it is good to read that this next step of evolution in the physician-patient relationship is shaping up, at least to some degree.
In my own case, I didn’t need to wait for that to happen. I found a healthcare approach that inherently includes a physician-patient partnership – with God as the Physician, and me as a very grateful partner, through prayer. In the teachings of Christian Science, I learned of a kind of applied prayer that brings to light more of God’s nature as “an ever present help in trouble” – as the Bible puts it – accessible to absolutely everyone. Getting to know God as impartial divine Love not only comforts in sickness but can remove symptoms. The “how to” of applying prayer in this healing way – systematically, as a non-formulaic but specific treatment of physical ailments (and other challenging situations) – is thoughtfully explained in Mary Baker Eddy’s “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures“.
Arianna Huffington’s blog concludes that due to the thought-shifts in healthcare expectancies “making sure we have the latest information, the widest range of perspectives and options, and the fullest understanding of ourselves and our health is vital.” And she promises the new Health section will “inform, enlighten, challenge, inspire, and help you make educated decisions about your health and well-being.”
If passivity has transitioned to active participation and deferential compliance to partnership – at least in best case scenarios – then the trajectory does indeed seem to be in the direction of an “understanding of ourselves and our health”. That is a core demand of a truly spiritual approach to regaining and /or retaining well-being. So tracking that trajectory should reasonably merit more inclusion of spiritual practices in all media. To its credit, the “range of perspectives and options” featured in the HuffPost’s coverage has included a post by a US colleague that includes an example of how Christian Science can heal even serious symptoms of disease.
That’s also what happened to another colleague of mine. He was facing the same experience with which my mum had struggled, losing the battle with an increasingly severe asthma. The end of his story was mercifully different. He applied Christian Science and it healed him, completely. And although that won’t bring back my beloved mother, it is comforting to me to know that a solution does exist to a problem which seemed so insoluble to her, despite her best efforts, as has been proved to my friend and others.