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NAIDOC Week 2014: Spirituality linked to better indigenous health

NAIDOC Week 2014: Spirituality linked to better indigenous health
NAIDOC Week 2014: Spirituality linked to better indigenous health
The Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal Health has produced some thought-provoking reports, including this discussion paper, Spirituality and Aboriginal People’s Social and Emotional Wellbeing: A Review (2009).

By no means an expert on this subject, I learned from the Review that many Australian aborigines cannot comprehend a single event or element of this world without also considering its spiritual implications.

They traditionally maintain health and wellbeing by finding their kurunpa, or deep spirit, which includes establishing their inter-connectedness with the universe as well as unconditionally loving and respecting friends and family.

Considering this practice in the context of the broader community, a 2011 VicHealth report implies that individuals with strong spiritual faith who experience the freedom to practice their spirituality have the potential to experience a range of positive health effects that are associated with their religion or belief.

No wonder that holistic health care, which takes into account the spirituality and social and emotional wellbeing of the individual within the whole community, has the best results in Aboriginal communities. The discussion paper states that healing for Aborigines stems not just from addressing a physical symptom, but from reclaiming their true identity.

It seems to me that the Western world has lost this recognition of the importance of spirituality to the minutiae of our lives – and this has been to our detriment.

Might the recognition that "a spiritual viewpoint is essential to the wellbeing of people, animals and the environment" also hold the key to our management of many of today’s global problems?

Personally, as in so many indigenous cultures, I find that I need to daily find my kurunpa or deep spirit as the child of a higher power. Moment by moment affirmations of the nearness, allness and power of the Divine keep me centred (in my right place and ‘country’).

The Review adds support to the Biblical message that the realisation of this loving relationship to the Divine and doing unto others as we’d have them do to us, keeps us healthy.

It sums up with this statement: "recognising spirituality is critical to Aboriginal wellbeing."

Have you considered that it may be the same for us all?

Kay Stroud writes about the connection between consciousness, spirituality and health. She’s also media relations contact for Christian Science in this region

Topics:  aboriginal health health indigenous health naidoc week spirituality

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