- What is the situation or problem? Helping the patient to heal through music and prayer.
- Why does it matter? Because it has been proven to help comfort those who are suffering.
- How do you engage in healthy conversations about it?
While we’ve come to think of the arts as a form of entertainment, and even as personal expression, many of us have long forgotten that the arts also offer us opportunities to heal. In the distant past, the purpose of Greek drama was to produce an emotional catharsis. Tibetan monks still use chanting, bells and “singing bowls” as part of their prayer and healing, and many native cultures include drumming, song and dance as part of their ritual.
The joy you feel when creating art can be healing. It’s easy to get “lost” in your creativity, relieving stress and thereby eliminating a major cause of disease. But the effects are even more profound. According to the Art as a Healing Force web site (www.artashealing.org), scientific studies have shown that art literally changes not only a person’s attitude, but their physiology. Art and music affect a person’s brain wave pattern, along with the autonomic nervous system, hormonal balance, brain neurotransmitters, immune system and blood flow to all the organs. They change one’s perceptions of the world, including their emotional state and perception of pain.
The body is made to heal itself, and it heals best when in a state of deep relaxation. Art and music can bring the body into its natural state of balance and harmony, so it can best do what it was meant to do. Many of us, when creating, become so absorbed that we fall naturally into that “altered” state. Scientists with highly sensitive measuring devices have discovered that when we are in deep meditation or relaxation, the frequency of our electromagnetic field becomes attuned to that of the earth — a state of harmony. Composers such as Stephen Halpern (www.innerpeacemusic.com) specialize in creating music that assists the body in aligning to this frequency.
The arts have found their way into modern medicine as well. Surgeon and author, Bernie Siegel, has used drawing as a diagnostic tool in determining the optimal treatment for his patients. The University of Florida/Shands HealthCare (along with the medical facilities at Dartmouth, Stanford and others) has incorporated an Arts in Medicine program (www.shands.org/aim/). Their mission is to bring together patients and caregivers — both staff and family members — to explore their creative energy through such forms as music, dance, singing, painting, drawing, writing, clowning, puppetry and magic. This empowers patients to strengthen their own inherent resources and do their own healing by regenerating body, mind and spirit.[i]
Adult coloring books and coloring pencils are very popular right now. You can pick them up at your favorite grocery or drug store. They make a nice gift for your patient.
“Just as God transforms the hearts of young men through prayer, prayer can be the tool to transform communities and the leadership and direction of nations.
“The need for prayer and the divine guidance, protection and benefit that prayer provides is as needed today as it has ever been. I believe that prayer changes the hearts and minds of people who are prayed for, that prayer changes the circumstances for the impoverished and downtrodden, and that prayer changes the strength of those who intercede in prayer for others. Just as much, I believe we grow closer to God as we pray. I also believe we grow closer to those for whom we pray, and we grow closer to those with whom we pray.” – Ben Carson[ii]
Some people have a gift of being able to pray anytime with anyone about anything. Others find it more difficult to speak out loud the deepest desires of their heart, whether for themselves or others.
- As an exercise in learning to pray, find a quiet time to write a generic prayer to carry with you for those occasions you want to pray out loud with or for someone in distress. Write it as though you are in the presence of that special person, and call them by name. Then talk to God on their behalf.
- Discuss with one another some techniques you can use to make praying for someone more personal.
[i] http://www.goodlifecoaching.com/CreativeLife16.html, by Sharon Good, BCC, ACC, CLC