Growth is a Natural Process by guest blogger Brenda Evers

Growth is a natural process.  Children grow in height and accomplishment.  Adults grow in maturity and knowledge.  And all people experience what might be called spiritual growth!  The words “spiritual growth” may not be in common usage in our everyday conversations, but we know it when we see it.  Someone who has carried a grudge becomes gentler and is less easily upset.  A willful person becomes milder and doesn’t always have to have his own way.  A continually sad or fearful person seems happier and more confident.

But what if the growth is negative growth—a downward spiral that isn’t healthy.  Cancer is sometimes seen this way.  In fact, harmful growth is part of the definition of cancer.  (1. The disease caused by an uncontrolled division of abnormal cells in a part of the body. 2. A malignant growth or tumor resulting from such a division of cells.*)

I have often asked myself does this have to be.  Shouldn’t all growth be positive and helpful—not destructive?  We have examples in nature.  The crab along with lobsters and other crustaceans are good examples of helpful growth when these grow again a lost limb.

A nineteenth century expert on the relationship between thought, spirituality and health, Mary Baker Eddy had this to say about the lobster’s special ability:

“When the unthinking lobster loses its claw, the claw grows again. If the Science of Life were understood, it would be found that the senses of Mind are never lost and that matter has no sensation. Then the human limb would be replaced as readily as the lobster’s claw, —not with an artificial limb, but with the genuine one.”*

Is there a connection between spiritual growth and health?  Yes.  Many institutions are exploring the effects of spirituality on health.   At Duke University, the Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health is exploring the connection of religion and spirituality to health.*  It is not much of a stretch to see that we do not arrive at a full concept of our spirituality all at once, but must grow into it.  It often takes time and experience to see that, for instance, love and honesty are more important than material possessions. This is spiritual growth.

One challenge, though, is that the role of spirituality in helping a patient find healing is often overlooked.  Sometimes, it’s the last thing thought of; often, it is not thought of at all. Does this make sense when our spirituality is something so important to many of us?

Could spirituality and spiritual growth be engaged more often to help a patient heal cancer?  Some, such as the American Cancer Society, have seen that spirituality can improve the quality of life of cancer patients and help them cope with the illness*, but is there more we can do?  There is.

A number of years ago, I developed a growth on my arm.  I was startled and concerned, partially because my brother had died with cancer some years earlier.

I never sought a diagnosis, but I knew cancer was at least one possibility.  Although there were probably a number of approaches available to treat the growth, I’d had results finding healing through prayer and decided to begin there.   I also knew from experience that while it was possible that prayer would heal the unwanted growth, it would also facilitate a desired growth – spiritual advancement. Daily Bible study and humble prayer has helped me grow in my understanding of God and in how to be a better person.

It has also inspired me and replaced fear and hopelessness with courage and hope. In this case, my prayer also helped me let go of grievances towards a family member who I needed to forgive. And numerous studies have shown the link between anger and holding grudges and cancer. The Forgiveness Project, run by Reverend Dr. Michael S. Barry, is just one with interesting findings. http://bit.ly/XSJDqL

In a matter of a few months my fear and the animosity toward the family member were gone. The growth also disappeared.

Since this experience, I’ve learned to ask myself daily, “how can I grow spiritually today?” and then I work to put the answer into practice. It’s helped me stay free of unwanted growths for a long time now.

Brenda is a writer who loves to learn about and share with readers the connection between spirituality and health. In addition, she is a Christian Science Practitioner in Ellicott City, Maryland.  She and her family spent many wonderful years in Southern California and now are happy to have returned to beautiful Maryland.

Photo: http://www.who.int/childgrowth/en/

* Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures  489:2

 


2 Comments

  1. It’s like in this week’s Lesson, God the only Cause and Creator, Mrs Eddy says in sect vi, “To begin rightly is to end rightly.” God is the only cause, God is the only creator, and God is good. So we begin we this, Mind, God, good, can only create, cause, or think good; therefore, only good can move, grow, appear, unfold, bear fruit, entertain, attract, only good is going on! And all that isn’t good, that God did not create, is brought to the surface as counterfeit, to be recognized and rejected and discarded.

  2. Brenda Evers

    These are deep thoughts, Steve. Thanks for sharing.