“Spirituality, religion and their place in medicine are currently much discussed, to the point where this relationship has been called ‘the new frontier’”, quotes Airdre Grant, Southern Cross University doctoral student, in her research publication, Spirituality, health and the complementary medicine practitioner.
Around the time that statement was first made, an article was written by clinical researchers at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Rotorua, New Zealand. The thesis was that even though disability is commonly viewed as permanent loss of physical, cognitive and social aspects of self there is evidence that suggests that spirituality could be a primary determinant of health for those with disabilities (Faull, K and Kalliath, T, Spirituality as a determinant of Health for those with Disabilities, 2000).
The researchers argued that people with disability need to restructure their perceptions of self and health in terms other than levels of physical, social and cognitive wellbeing to achieve good health.
Carers, researchers, and governments are doing much to assist people with disabilities. This is very important work that seeks to meet physical needs, supply assistance with mobility, and provide opportunities for social intercourse and educational development.
But it seems that more is needed for true wellbeing.
The researchers found that to the degree that individuals either passively accepted a disability or strove for all-round wellbeing, progress and a new self-knowledge, or spirituality in their lives, did they achieve happiness, productivity and a consistent feeling of wellbeing.
Their ground-breaking conclusion was that “spirituality is not a component of self or being, but rather spirituality IS the individual and therefore the true or core self and remains whole despite injury and illness.”
2000 years ago a man called Jesus was realising this truism so much so, that physical and mental ills were healed. His understanding of the Divine and man’s innate wholeness and goodness touched those around him and enabled him to actually heal many with disabilities, including the lame, those with mental disabilities, those paralysed, deformed, blind, with speech defects, deaf and epileptic. He left a rich legacy of advice, spiritual ideas and accounts of healing.
Today, many are finding that the greater public awareness of a spirituality/health connection is providing a catalyst to commence their own explorations into spirituality. Some are even experiencing healing, as evidenced by the man in the video below who was suffering from a number of disabilities, including arthritis.
Whether we are dealing with a disability or not (and I guess it could be argued that even hay fever or addiction could be classified as disabilities), it seems that hope in a higher power is important to progress and a sense of wellbeing.