'Wellbeing: the goal of healing ministry'
'The one word “Wellbeing” reflects somewhat for me; the goal of healing ministry', writes Teresa Neylon rsm.
This article offers a brief window into my process and some of my favourite tools. My background is in Transpersonal Psychology, counselling and natural therapies, and my current ministry engagement is in counselling and part time work in complementary therapies in an aged care facility.
A common thread running through the lives of many of the people with whom I engage is a lack of a sense of personal power and control over their lives. There is an overall absence of a sense of connectedness of mind, body and spirit. In learning new skills, they will discover that they do indeed have choices and they do have a say in creating their own reality.
I find recent discussions in the world of neuro-science exciting in the possibilities they hold out for change. Some of the findings are indeed astounding regarding the brain’s ability to regenerate and even to reverse its circuits. In other words, our brain is capable of changing and forming new patterns – and this in response to our mental intentions. We must simply want to change in the first place and then we must lead the brain to create new neural networks to support our decision. Habits, we are reminded, are mental grooves that depend on networks in the brain. Once set they will respond automatically.
Research has shown that positive lifestyle changes stimulate new synapses in the brain. It is important to note that making even small changes to daily routines can have significant impact on our well being.
This is exciting news for people who feel trapped by past conditioning. No longer need they be limited by unproductive behaviours and negative self talk. They have the choice to rewrite their story.
Learning skills of stilling the mind, creates a place of rest which gives the brain a foundation for change. One of my favourite alternative approaches that enlivens the internal healing force is colour therapy. In spite of its extensive developments and the successful use of colour in healing, mainstream medicine consistently denies its worth.
I was first introduced to the use of colour healing on a visit to a chiropractor who uses it systematically in his practice. Colour therapy was made popular by Stanley Burroughs who regarded it as a valuable system of healing, which worked energetically on balancing the body’s systems.
Colour Therapy works by projection of various colour lights (not heat) on to the body. Each of the colours has a different effect. They all work together to cleanse, build and heal – with no harmful side effects. The system uses different time schedules and colour combinations to treat different conditions.
Clients speak of a calming and healing feeling. One resident in the nursing home who has motor neurone disease has a custom built lamp on a timer working continually. She loves the warm ambience and finds it a source of comfort and peace.
What I love about colour healing is the utter simplicity and naturalness in its use. The words of late Melbourne psychiatrist, Ainslie Meares come to mind:
“There’s an essence of something simple, in all that’s great.”
Messages to: Teresa Neylon rsm
Some Helpful Resources
The Brain that changes itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science by Norman Doidge. Penguin (2007)
Healing for the Age of Enlightenment by Stanley Burroughs. Burroughs Books; 6th edition (1993)
Healing beyond Freud and Prozac: Natural Approaches to Curing Stress, Anxiety and Depression by David Servan-Schreiber
Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements by Tom Rath and James Harter
Eat Move Sleep: How Small Choices Lead to Big Changes by Tom Rath
The Power of the Mind to Heal by Joan Borysenko