POSITIVE THINKING and YOUR HEALTH *
‘How to Stop Feeling So Awful’, chapter 2, sets out “The Seven Requirements for Health”.
The seventh of these is Positive Thinking.
Solomon tells us in Proverbs 23:7 (KJV)
For as he (a man) thinketh in his heart, so he is.
Paul tells us in Philippians 4:8 (RSV)
Whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
Positive thoughts such as hope, happiness, love, gratefulness, joy and peace actually increase the immune system’s ability to fight disease.
When a person is negative, the poor attitude robs the body of energy and depresses the immune system, inviting disease to take control. Negative emotions include fear, worry, envy, guilt, hatred and jealousy. These powerful emotions, if left unchecked, can result in disease and much suffering.
One should aim to have or provide a happy, positive environment at home, at work, socially and recreationally.
Love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control are referred to as ‘the fruit of the Spirit’ in Galatians 6:22-23 (RSV). These characteristics or attributes can, and will, have a beneficial effect not only on our own lives, but on every life we touch.
Thus, the Christian scriptures give guidance as to the type of positive thinking that should be part of our lives and therefore beneficial to our health.
During a recent visit to the Nan Tien Buddhist Temple (near Wollongong, NSW), I found the following statements, which are some of the many positive directives found on the walls around the Temple. I believe these capture and express further positive attitudes to life that, if embraced and followed, will also benefit our health and happiness.
Eradicate arrogance – endure grievance.
Cultivate the mind through forgiveness and emptiness
Cultivate the mind through the vow of peace.
Do not be moved by suffering
Do not be moved by hardship
Do not be moved by power
Do not be moved by anger
Do not be moved by wealth
Do not be moved by passion
Do not be moved by fame
Do not be moved by slander.
Do not talk gossip
Do not pass rumours around
Do not be afraid of gossip
Do not listen to gossip.
The foremost failure in life is arrogance
The foremost happiness in life is spiritual joy
The foremost energy in life is religious faith
The foremost possession in life is gratitude.
A mind full of worries lives in a narrow world
A mind free of worries sleeps in a broader bed
A worry-full mind should let things go
A free mind should lift things up.
Five contemplations at meal time:
To calculate merits accumulated in the food and have gratitude in its sources
To assess one’s own virtues, whether perfect or deficient, to deserve the bestowal
To guard one’s mind against faults with greed in particular
To regard this food as good medicine for curing the weakening body
To receive one’s food in order to accomplish spiritual work.
Only love can win love
And hatred cannot win love
Only respect can win respect
And anger cannot win respect.
One should have external knowledge
One should also have inner experience
One should have a life of acceptance
One should also have a life of gratitude.
The most intolerable sound in this world is satire
The most beautiful sound in this world is words of praise
The most pleasant sound in this world is applause
The most favourable sound in this world is silence.
Turn greed into generosity
Turn hatred into compassion
Turn ignorance into brightness
Turn enmity into peacefulness
Turn defilement into right living
Turn erroneous thoughts into right thinking.
There are many publications of positive thoughts and affirmations. One of the many is a little book called ‘Hope Happens’, which was compiled by Catherine DeVyre, prompted by the events of September 11, 2001. Two thoughts from this collection of encouragement are:
Nothing endures forever,
Everything perishes in time.
So laugh and love while you may,
Help who you can,
Work while you must,
And when the end comes, so be it.
All fame ends in oblivion and is soon forgotten.
But it is fun to strive, joy to win,
It is a challenge to lose and try again,
And victory always comes if you try hard enough.
To lose is not to fail -
The only failure is to lose and not try again.
Grant that I may be given appropriate difficulties and sufferings on this journey,
So that my heart might be truly awakened,
And my practice of universal liberation and compassion,
May be truly fulfilled.
A Tibetan Prayer.
The Holy Koran is yet another source of inspiration and positivity. The following are examples of meditations on the Holy Koran, the first two focusing on God’s role in our lives.
Do not seek sustenance from people. God is the real Provider. If He wills a certain person to be the means of your livelihood, do not consider that person to be in control of your destiny. Have faith and be certain in the knowledge that your daily bread does not depend upon any mortal, but upon God who created all.
-Al-Hajwiri, “The Kashf al-Mahjub”
When Moses conversed with God, he asked, “Lord, where shall I seek You?”
God answered, “Among the broken hearted.”
Moses continued, “But, Lord, no heart could be more despairing than mine.”
And God Replied, “Then I am where you are.”
-Abu’l-Fayd al-Misri, “The Kashf al-Mahjub”
You have a duty to perform.
Do anything else,
do any number of things,
occupy your time fully,
if you do not do this task,
all your time will have been wasted.
Meditation on the Holy Koran
Positive thinking is a sound psychology based on self responsibility, self acceptance, self awareness and self mastery.
Positive Thinking is but one of the seven requirements for health. When combined with a healthy diet, pure water, clean air, exercise, exposure to sunlight and adequate rest and sleep, positive thinking in indeed powerful and significantly contributes to health.
Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gets understanding.
Proverbs 3:13 (RSV)
* Copyright 2007: The Huntly Centre.
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