WASHINGTON, March 1, 2012 – Anyone who has ever blushed in embarrassment or felt their heart skip when startled by some unexpected sight or sound knows there is a connection between thought and body. Where there’s perhaps less agreement and understanding, however, is on the larger questions of the source and potential of thought – or consciousness – itself.
The purpose of this new column is to explore just these questions.
There are many these days – from theologians and mystics to medical doctors and psychologists – suggesting that consciousness lies at the root of everything we experience, both individually and collectively. Not just what we think but what we see, what we feel, even our physical well being. And yet, despite this intimate connection, we know comparatively little about it.
Particularly the connection between consciousness and health.
Although I may not be what one might consider an expert on the subject, I do pay attention to what the experts are saying and certainly have plenty of practical familiarity with the subject. It is this interest and this familiarity that I intend to draw on for this blog. Sure, I may share an opinion or two along the way, but my primary goal is to provide fodder for conversation.
So, what of the source and potential of consciousness? Here’s just one example:
Dr. Gail Ironson, a professor of psychology and psychiatry at the University of Miami, conducted a study a few years back to determine the relationship between one’s spiritual consciousness and the progression of AIDS.
She looked at two key factors: Viral load, which lets you know how much of the virus is in someone’s body, and immune cells, which work to fend off the AIDS virus. Bottom line: Those who were actively cultivating a spiritual outlook had a much lower viral load and maintained immune cells at a much higher rate than those who consciously disavowed such activity.
What does this tell us? While one – or even a hundred – medical studies might not provide any definitive answers, there are at least two intriguing possibilities to consider. One is that the source of consciousness, by whatever name you call it, is essentially spiritual. The other is that its potential impact on health is huge.
No doubt these sorts of medical findings could affect everyone reading this post. Certainly, then, it’s a topic worth exploring further.
Eric Nelson has been published and featured in numerous newspapers, online publications, and radio talk programs. He speaks from years of experience in the mind-body field, and as it relates to health. In addition, he is the media and legislative spokesperson for Christian Science in Northern California and is a self-employed Christian Science practitioner. He’s also a huge baseball fan and loves riding his bike in the nearby Santa Cruz Mountains
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