Medicine Acknowledges The Role Of Spirituality In Healing

THE Times newspaper of India, in their online version of January 12, 2015, reported the findings of a Medical Conference titled ‘Challenges in Medical Education’, which took place from January 9 – 11, 2015 in Aurangabad city India. The Conference concluded, among other things that ‘spirituality is increasingly playing a role in modern medicine’. They attributed this to ‘the realisation that in spite of advanced methods of treatment, it is eventually the patient’s faith or belief that makes healing possible.’

  For the thought ingrained and embedded in the infallibility of materiality and medicality, there may be a sense of outrage or disbelief at such a categorically presumptuous statement. Yet some credit must be given the intellectualism and professional responsibility of the five Vice Chancellors, eleven international and twenty four national faculties who attended the Medical Conference.

  There is an obvious distinction between treatment and healing. Treatment essentially deals with, and targets the perceived ailment. Healing is about the individual. This distinction helps to clarify to an extent, the role of spirituality in healing. Healing is universally desirable, especially for anyone suffering from ill health. 

  The deepest thinkers of every age agree that spirituality is innate to every individual – the core of man’s being. If this is the case, healing, as a spiritual quality, is readily, naturally and universally available, even when access to the treatment of choice is not. Spirituality is not confined to any religion per se, although due to its intangibility, at least to the five physical senses, faith is integral in accepting or considering that it can play a role in healing.

  The basis of spirituality is Spirit, which may mean different things to different people. Regardless of the interpretation, whether it is thought to be the image and likeness of God, the nebulous fourth dimension of philosophy or the non-physical aspect of man’s individuality, spirituality involves transformation; and as the Indian Medical Conference concludes, it also requires an element of faith. A spiritual thinker who proved the role of spirituality in healing practically was Mary Baker Eddy [1821-1910]. She based her understanding of spirituality in Christianity. Writing in Science and Health with key to the Scriptures, Eddy says, ‘Become conscious for a single moment that Life and intelligence are purely spiritual, – neither in nor of matter, – and the body will then utter no complaints.’ She adds that If the individual is suffering from an ailment, this spiritual consciousness brings immediate relief and healing.

  The statement is worthy of consideration because Eddy proved it times without number, becoming well known for her instantaneous healing ability spanning over forty-five years. She also taught others how to heal in this way. Gaining an understanding, however slight, of what spirituality is, opens thought to see its role in healing. Many in Nigeria and around the world continue to attest, through their own healing experience, the efficacy of spirituality, and its practical role in physical and psychological healing. Maybe the acknowledgement by medicine that spirituality makes healing possible is not so incredible after all.

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