Health and spirituality
José Roberto Campos de Souza*
| June 7, 2017
The Beneficent Spiritist Center União do Vegetal has as its first objective “to work for the evolution of the human being, in the sense of his or her spiritual development.” In fulfillment of this objective, loving one’s neighbor as we love ourselves, serving more than we are served, working in solidarity through beneficence and the exercise of fraternity are essential.
The Center, as a society, looks upon its members as the ones who carry out its transcendental goal; but as a religious movement, it looks to these same associates with the zealous gaze of a loving father who cares for the well-being of his children. Part of this well-being is made up of the health of its affiliates. Therefore, a project is being launched to prevent and combat diabetes and other degenerative illnesses among its associates, and through the Department of Beneficence, also extending this work to non-associates.
Health is a basic condition for an easier and faster evolution, for the preservation of attention for the teachings and doctrine, for the sharpness of the memory in order to retain and use these very same teachings and doctrine in benefit of oneself and those around us, for the physical vigor necessary to work for the growth of the Center, for the maintenance of the family and for the physical and mental disposition essential to the demands for the balance of mankind in the spheres of work, family and religion.
To care for health is the duty of all who really understand that we are spirits incarnated, in a process of evolution. The material body has been given to us on loan, as a tool we use and for which we have the duty to watch over and care for. The better our health condition and the longer our useful life, the greater the possibility of evolving and taking advantage of the opportunity of this incarnation.
As doctors, we are very concerned to see that serious illnesses are arising earlier and earlier, in society as a whole and also within the Center. Hypertension, diabetes, obesity, cancer, heart attacks, etc., are becoming more frequent, painting a gloomy future for those who do not care for this very precious commodity and neglect to care for themselves.
Health stands on a tripod: physical activity, nutrition, and emotional control.
Physical activity is, wisely, one of the pillars of good health and, although we need relatively little under normal conditions, it becomes more important the worst that one’s health condition is. For example: in the case of depression, some studies show that light walks and jogs have a better effect than antidepressants.
Emotional control is the same as “stress control”. It is becoming aware of the fact that there are things that exist that are beyond our control, which we will have to live with and accept. It is making a positive account of the facts of life and, according to what our doctrine teaches, not remaining in the state of victimhood.
The third pillar is nutrition and, in actuality, is the main point to take care of. Modern life has brought great technological advances, but in addition to that it has brought an undesirable human hand via food processing and the introduction of habits that are absolutely harmful to human health. Foods that were healthy a few years ago, have been genetically modified in order to increase productivity or durability, and have become harmful to a large part of the population. The introduction of refined products and the increased consumption of industrialized foods with little nutritional value is taking a heavy toll in terms of deteriorating health.
From the viewpoint of spirituality, all self-inflicted harm, such as the use of legal or illegal drugs, as well as neglect of the three health determinants, can be understood as “disobediences” that may cost a high price throughout life.
Another aggravating factor is the high costs of treatment and medication needed to control – not to cure – those illnesses, which incur a large financial expense and bring great suffering to the ill and to their relatives.
The General Representative Mestre of the UDV, Clovis Cavalieri Rodrigues de Carvalho, once said a phrase that serves to guide those individuals who want a better and healthier life: “the pain of discipline is better than the pain of regret.” This lapidary phrase brings profound significance if we understand its real meaning.
A person who has a harmful habit, for example cigarette smoking, who resolves to stop, will intensely suffer during the first days and less with each passing day until they overcome the addiction. In other words, they suffer only while they are disciplining themselves to not smoke. On the other hand, if they hadn’t quit and in the future, they get lung or throat cancer, the suffering would be more, from the illness and from the regret.
At the same time, nature is extremely generous because even years of mistreatment can be largely reversed with few months of care, depending only on correct orientation and on the disposition and humility to follow it [orientation]; conditions that depend on a person’s discipline and willpower. Our wish is to see our society healthier each day, giving good examples to those that are arriving, and having an increasingly better quality of life of everyday.
*Member of the Cadre of Mestres of Núcleo Luz de Maria (Campo Grande -MS) and director of the Medical and Scientific Department (DEMEC) of the General Directorate of the Beneficent Spiritist Center União do Vegetal.
Coord. of Translation: Isabel Cavalcante, member of Body of Counsel of N. Jardim Florescendo (Gainesville, FL – USA) | Translated by: Jonathan Spoliansky, member of the Body of Counsel of N. Jardim Florescendo (Gainesville, FL – USA) | Revised by: Patrick Medina member of the Instructive Body of N. Luz Abençoada (Floranópolis, SC – Brazil)