Thank you to Sarah Marinos of body+soul at the Courier-Mail, for writing an article last Sunday on the health benefits of thinking and acting younger – “Why being young at heart works”. Amongst the myriad of ads by the pharmaceutical companies, this article was unexpectedly thought-provoking and brought to my attention the work of Dr Ellen Langer, Harvard University psychologist and scientific investigator who conducted a landmark experiment 30 years ago where she had seniors live in a secluded monastery as though it were 1959. The results were surprising. After a week of living as though they were younger men, the pensioners were more flexible, had better hearing and memory and felt stronger. And they also looked younger.
This experiment was the forerunner of the British ABC’s TV program, the Young Ones aired this year and that I recommended in a previous blog post, “Could it be that we all have the power to think ourselves young again?”
Langer has studied the way our mind influences our body and appearance and is the person who coined the word ‘mindfulness’. “When people are taught to be mindful in a fashion very different from meditation, they become more creative, healthier, and happier”, she wrote.
In Langer’s latest book, Counterclockwise: Mindful Health and the Power of Possibility, she reminds readers that many definitive-sounding medical diagnoses are in fact best guesses. In a sense, this is a book about the limits of empirical knowledge. But as Langer sees it, the ambiguity that inevitably accompanies medical research can be profoundly liberating. If we can’t be sure that a diagnosis — or a widely accepted truism such as “memory loss is inevitable with age” — is true, we’re less likely to apply a self-limiting label to ourselves.
So what does this mean for you and me? Are these experiments miracles or is there a law in place?
I put the question another way. What if society’s current standards and expectations were the aberration and health and eternal life the reality?
The consistent findings from these experiments point to a law or science in place. I understand it to be a divine Science. Towards the end of the 19th Century the author of the first and complete book about the laws of reality, Mary Baker Eddy wrote , “Because of human ignorance of the divine Principle, Love, the Father of all is represented as a corporeal creator; hence men recognize themselves as merely physical, and are ignorant of man as God’s image or reflection and of man’s eternal incorporeal existence.” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures)
Christian Science makes it clear that mankind’s misunderstanding of the reality of being, of what God is and of what man really is, handicaps our life experience thus far.
There’s talk of a movie being made about Ellen Langer’s book, Counter Clockwise, and starring Jennifer Aniston.
Until then, here’s a 90 second video not so much about human mindfulness or positive thinking, but giving a visual metaphor of the laws of God that are in place, as presented by Christian Science.