by Marcel Hernandez, ND
Long-time readers will be aware that we’re prone to harp on basic naturopathic principles, such as making healthier lifestyle choices, eating well, exercising regularly, and getting adequate sleep.
An abundance of studies, added to the wisdom gathered from countless millennia of human experience, have shown that these positive activities in the physical realm help maintain vibrant immune system function and promote physiologic resilience to stressful events.
We often also write about the influence on immunity of mental and emotional health.
Numerous studies over the past 70 years have shown very clearly that unmitigated stress and negative thoughts and emotions depress immune system function and leave us vulnerable to systemic breakdowns.
Conversely, natural healers, spiritual teachers, and modern health scientists (e.g., Dean Ornish, MD, in his wonderful book Love and Survival: The Scientific Basis for the Healing Power of Intimacy) have taught that healthy relationships and a positive, serviceful approach to life contribute in indispensable ways to basic mental/emotional health.
Boosting our “spiritual resilience” is an entirely different, less-often-explored, yet incredibly helpful topic for discussion.
In our medical practices and our personal lives, Dr. Connie and I have clearly seen that the spiritual realm creates the map or schematic for our physical existence.
A strong “spiritual immune system” allows us not only to survive adversity, but gives us the strength to meet life’s unavoidable challenges and to adapt, grow, and lead happy, focused lives.
In simple terms: this life in all its dimensions – body, heart, will, mind, and soul – has but one purpose: to find true and lasting happiness and freedom from suffering.
Ask yourself – what are the elements in my life that make me truly happy?
I think you’ll discover that the happiness born of merely acquiring material comforts is fleeting, because material things are like hotel guests – forever coming and going, leaving only emptiness behind.
The path to true, lasting happiness and vibrant spiritual immunity is not to be found in the material world. It requires a lifelong personal journey through the heart to the essence of your own self.
It requires constant silent prayer – asking that grace flow through you and bless everything and everyone you meet. The channel of grace is blessed by the grace that flows through it.
There are practical steps that you can take to strengthen your spiritual immunity.
Awareness. The first step on the spiritual path is paying attention to the ceaseless call of your own heart to seek the happiness that dwells, hidden, in your own consciousness.
We all feel inklings of a happiness just behind our outward sense of self-identity – and we all long to understand those inner urgings and find a great happiness that defies mere words and mental definitions.
“Awakening” is the apt word, as you begin to stretch and rub the sleep of worldly delusions from your eyes. You may not know exactly what’s happening to you; but you sense the quiet whispers of an inner voice calling you. Driven by the universal hunger for greater happiness, you cannot help but respond.
This is the stage of discovery, where we learn from others’ experiences and follow an urge to connect with like-minded people who are responding to the silent inner call. The stage of discovery is energizing and exciting – change is afoot!
Realization. This is the growing understanding that you are not defined by the world around you, but by a truth at your own deepest inner source that is just waiting to be tapped and experienced.
You begin to yearn for a connection with your true inner self-identity. You begin to shed the arrogant thought that you don’t need help – that you can do it all by yourself. In humility, you begin to search for a path or a teacher who can guide you in the right direction.
At this point, there’s no going back – you’ve opened a door that will never be closed.
Transformation. With unrelenting inner work, you begin to change in fundamental ways. You accept the truth of your own identity, and you want nothing more than to deepen the inner connection you are experiencing.
As you begin to feel the Divine energetic consciousness that permeates and sustains all creation, you begin to understand the delusive nature of desire for outward satisfactions.
Compassion for human suffering replaces indifference. You begin to be capable of standing “unshaken amidst the crashing of worlds,” as Paramhansa Yogananda put it.
Finally, you reach a point in your exploration of the inner universal consciousness where no matter what happens in the physical realm, inner calmness and surrender to God’s will are your natural state.
There is no fear, because there is no you – there is only the innate joy of the great soul that for a short time has chosen to occupy this particular body. Your spiritual immunity soars and your heart sings in joy. You recognize that you invulnerable and immortal. You are free!
For information about the services we offer at Pacific Naturopathic, please give us a call at 650-961-1660, or use the convenient Contact Form to get in touch. Thank you!