Some folks are asking, “why spiritual practice? I thought this was a health blog – not a religious blog!” You’re right – The Holistic Homestead is all about DIY holistic living which includes a healthy body, mind and spirit. Traditional medicine of ancient cultures viewed the body, mind and spirit as one, integrated continuum: always in transition, always evolving, and always reaching for the vast greatness that lies beyond, call it God, or the Universe or your own innate Buddha-nature or enlightenment.

Consider the Seventh-Day Adventists who adhere strictly to rules against drinking alcohol, eating pork and smoking tobacco in addition to regular devotional practices. A ten-year study found adherents in the Netherlands lived significantly longer than the national average and were 60 – 66% less likely to die from cancer or heart disease.

There are as many words for spiritual awareness and ways of understanding this concept as there are human beings. The important thing to recognize, or “re-cognize”, is the fact that we have lost touch with this level of awareness, with the greater, higher potential of our being. This losing touch, according to Holistic Medicine, is actually the very source of our suffering. Consider these findings from a University of Maryland Medical Center on the benefits of spiritual practice:

1. Improved coping skills and a feeling of support

2. Increased feelings of optimism and hope

3. Promote healthy behavior

4. Reduced depression and anxiety

5. Encouraged sense of relaxation

Spiritual practices, in general, are meant to quiet the body and the mind, leading to a deep experience of relaxation and expanded awareness. Everything from devotional practices, meditation, regular prayer, reading scriptures and gentle exercises like yoga or t’ai chi can be practiced every day with these proven benefits:

6. Stronger immune system: “One clinical study at Duke University found that people who attend regular religious services tend to have better immune function.”

7. Increased resistance to stress and lower blood pressure

8. Longer life span – a 35-year clinical study of Harvard graduates found those “who expressed hope and optimism lived longer and had fewer illnesses in their lifetime”. Research has also revealed those suffering from AIDS (auto-immune deficiency syndrome) who had deeply held spiritual beliefs, practiced meditation or had a strong sense of inner peace “had a better chance of surviving for a long time than those who did not live with such belief systems”.

9. Better outcome from illness, surgeries and hospitalizations: at a Coronary ICU, researchers found that “patients who were prayed for showed general improvements in the course of their illness, less complications, and even fewer deaths”.

10. Lasting freedom from addictions such as alcohol, drugs, and even food addictions.

Those are just a few of the reasons we dedicate one week out of the whole year to really engage all our spiritual energy, to test out all our spiritual practices, to commit ourselves to using all the good advice we’ve heard and read about what it takes to be really, truly happy – what Deepak Chopra would call “applied wisdom”.

Please join us for Winter Retreat 2015 – whether you are religious or spiritual, an advanced practitioner or a total beginner – this retreat is for YOU! Starting on Sunday, February 8 you will receive a new teaching and spiritual practice every day. You can chat with other retreatants, ask questions and post prayer requests. There is nowhere to go – the retreat is completely online – and nothing to be, except yourself. 

Source: Spirituality | University of Maryland Medical Center http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/treatment/spirituality#ixzz3QLHzxXsJ
University of Maryland Medical Center
Follow us: @UMMC on Twitter | MedCenter on Facebook

 

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