Have you ever stood in a store line where a dear elderly gentleman is taking ages to go through his wallet to find that extra needed dime, while he talks to the cashier about what he ate for breakfast? Of course, you’re late for work, and your car is at a ticking meter, so you never really look at the eyes of the clerk, who understands the needs of this dear man to talk a little and to feel connected.
There is much positive and encouraging research on the benefits of meditation and mindfulness. However, for me, an even more important concept is love, and how tenderness, listening and compassion – the more spiritual aspect of our lives – play such an important part in our health and well-being. It’s interesting to me because these are feelings that are relational rather than solo, as in meditation.
How many of us have felt better just because someone took the time to listen to us, to give us a gentle hug, or just looked us in the eye with understanding? How many of us yearn for such contact in a busy, disconnected world hurtling into tomorrow at an ever-increasing pace that does not allow for any precious moments of connection?
And it’s not just our imagination that this love makes us feel better. An interesting study on placebos published in the British Medical Journal, found that in a blind study those who were given extra attention and care from a nurse practitioner did far better physically than those who received just the placebo. To me, what is interesting about this study is the use of the placebo; for no drugs were given to any of the patients. In fact, the placebo was a false form of acupuncture. But those who felt so much better, and improved in the study, were those who felt connected to the nurse practitioner giving the treatment. So, in other words – experiencing a loving moment can be a very healing event. It is also a great preventative of illness.
There have been many times in my life when I have felt that healing touch of love. And at some point I began to think about the source of that love. Rather than thinking that I or someone else was personally the source, I came to realize that I reflected the source. This took away a sense of burden – of “trying to be loving” rather than being a joyful reflection of that healing love that I call divine.
If you have every watched animals relating together, mothers embracing their children, children hugging each other, then you have experienced how vitally important these connections are to all life. This reflective love crosses barriers, traverses species and has an, as yet, untapped potential to really heal.
Take time in your day to go and listen to someone with compassion, or wait happily for that elderly man in the line to finish his moment of sharing. It takes but a moment of eye contact for real connection. And it will do a great deal for your health, and the person you are connecting with.