How do people heal themselves of chronic conditions and even life-threatening illnesses? Is it a physical or a spiritual process? As it happens, there's now medical research that supports and explains the role that spirit may play in healing. "Spirit is the part of a person that when illuminated, liberates the person to be who they are and to do what they must do," says Michael Samuels, M.D., a Stinson Beach, Calif. physician who has used guided imagery with cancer patients for the last 25 years. It's important to study spirit, says Dr. Samuels, "because by the time you reach midlife, learning who you are becomes a crucially important part of your life and it becomes a determinant to your health." People may be wealthy and successful, but if they're disconnected from their spirit, "a kind of suffering may surface," he says, and mental or physical health problems may ensue.In their book, Spirit Body Healing (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2000), Mary Rockwood Lane, R.N., Ph.D. and Michael Samuels, M.D. recount findings from Lane's seven-year study on how the spirit heals. The research was conducted at the University of Florida's Shands Hospital from 1992 to 1999. Using detailed interviews with people who had weathered life crises or healed themselves of life-threatening illnesses, Lane analyzed their stories to isolate the themes and dynamics of the healing experience.
A breakthrough in medical research, Spirit Body Healing is the first book on spiritual healing to come from a research study in a major university healthcare center," says Samuels. "It is also the first book based on research on healing with the spirit that has been peer reviewed, analyzed and evaluated."In studying the interviews, an identical pattern emerged among those who had triumphed over the odds, says Lane. Each person described how they found a place inside themselves where they felt their consciousness actively change or evolve. This sea change helped them see new meaning, energy and promise in their lives. When this reassessment happened, the healing started. While the healing experiences were unique to the individuals, eight underlying themes consistently surfaced in their stories. The themes were: Pain and darknessTraveling to a new place inside themselvesBeing creative at a turning pointSlipping through the veilKnowing the truth and trusting the processEmbodying spiritFeeling healing energy and compassionTranscendence"Every one of these people went from a vantage point of illness, fear or darkness to an inner place where they experienced luminosity, a feeling of healing energy, great transformation and spiritual grace," says Samuels.
In all the cases, meditation and creativity proved to be the action that led to transcendence. "Some people gardened, some people wrote in their journals, others painted and so on," says Samuels. "The point is that they created their own spiritual fulfillment through making and nurturing artistic things."
Lane's study offers scientific evidence that meditation and being creative can activate the spirit, says Samuels. "People in midlife may enhance their spiritual selves by meditating and taking the time to create things," he says.
Source: Health & Wellness