© Stock photos/Glowimages
© Stock photos/Glowimages

NAIDOC Week spearheads spirituality question

Beloved Australian ABC gardening show host, Peter Cundall, is now retired. But when interviewed by Scott Stephens on Life’s Big Questions a year or two ago, he equated religious teaching on a par with fairy stories.

It’s ironic really, because it seems to me that Peter’s joy for life and gratitude for every tiny evidence of good in his days is what has ensured his perfect health for more than 50 years. To me, this is spirituality in action!

I can see a similarity between Peter’s spirituality and that of aboriginal peoples. I’ve just re-read a discussion paper, Spirituality and Aboriginal People’s Social and Emotional Wellbeing: A Review (2009) published by the Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal Health.

Not by any 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 interconnectedness with the universe and by treating friends and family with unconditional love.

A 2011 VicHealth report stated that “… it has been possible to conclude that individuals of faith who experience religious freedom have the potential to experience a range of positive health effects that may be associated with their religion/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. 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 hold the key to our management of some of today’s global problems?

Like Aborigines, 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 argument 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 on the connection between consciousness, spirituality and wellbeing. She’s also the spokesperson for Christian Science in Northern Australia @ www.qldhealthblog.com

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