Last night’s episode of ‘Trust Me I’m a Doctor’ examined strategies to avoid dementia. The conclusion from their small scale experiments was that increasing both mental and physical stimulation looked to be beneficial. I was pleased there was room for a multi-factorial conclusion, but felt it lacked a spiritual variable, which I hypothesize would also be beneficial.
It posed the question for me, ‘Where do we witness a presence of spirit within our wider community?’
Yesterday was also ANZAC Day. Our local, Lane Cove Plaza was packed with people from babies to some of our oldest residents. Various community organisations laid wreaths – Rotary, schools, Scouts, sports clubs – the community band played and the community sang, prayed and were silent together. Elements of our Australian identity were claimed to be discovered in the furnace of suffering – of daring courage and extraordinary bonds of mateship. People lingered afterwards to chat with friends and to recognise personally those who served. Certainly there was much evidence of the flow of strong, community spirit.
The natural beauty and spaces which surround us here, doggedly protected and maintained by local residents with help from allied professionals, also point to a valued, spiritual space. A thriving art community and many accomplished musicians provide deepening experiences that would be described as ‘good for the soul’.
People still have experiences that are inexplicable from a scientific, rational viewpoint. The ‘Near Death Experience Research Foundation’ http://www.nderf.org/NDERF/NDE_Archives/NDERF_NDEs.htm chronicles over 4000 of them submitted by people from all around the world. Australian author, Ivan Rudolph, has recently published a book about them, ‘Living Beyond. Making Sense of Near Death Experiences’.
We are spiritual beings. Let’s aim to engage our body, mind and spirit together as much as possible.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
A quote from the Bible, Galatians chapter 5 verses 22-23. (New International Version)
The articles here are currently written by Liam McKenna, Lane Cove Community Chaplain.