Can Unlimited Love Impact Your Health?
Interested in investing in a life that would pay dividends on your health? What if it had something to do with love?
Or maybe even a lot to do with love.
Sir John Templeton certainly equated love with a good life. The renowned financier and philanthropist was not your typical investor, as he felt passionately about the impact love could have. Not only our love for one another, but also a bigger sense of love — a love “three million times greater” than that, as he put it. He was so intrigued with pursuing this and other ideas that he started a unique foundation “supporting science — investing in the big questions” and poured millions of dollars into it.
One big question that fascinated him was: Is Ultimate Reality Unlimited Love? Just before passing on, Templeton requested friend and colleague Dr. Stephen Post to write a book to explore that very issue. Post completed the project in 2014.
When I met with this author and Stony Brook University professor recently, we discussed how finding the language to frame metaphysical ideas about reality and love is perhaps the most difficult part of digging into them. So much so, that one of Post’s mentors told him his career as a scientist would be ruined if he spoke about things this way.
It turns out the mentor was wrong.
“I’m perfectly committed to the best methods of science, but I get off the boat when people say if you accept there are metaphysics behind science, you can’t be a scientist,” said Post. Instead, he feels a dynamic is already making the wall break apart between the two.
In the book, Post mentions the many spiritual visionaries who influenced Templeton to explore the link between love and well-being. For example, Jesus. A man once asked Jesus what to do to have everlasting life, then answered his own question at Jesus’ prompting. He said it was through love: loving God, his neighbor, and himself. Jesus agreed and said: “Do that, and you will live.”
According to Dr. Post, another of the visionaries whose writings Templeton had read was Mary Baker Eddy, who saw in that promise from Jesus how understanding and experiencing divine Love affects every aspect of life, including health.
While it’s not easy to fully measure how an unlimited Love affects health — because such love, by definition, is immeasurable — you know it when you feel it.
At least, that was my experience a few years ago. I felt that love and it led to healing.
Working in Washington D.C., I had back to back meetings with Senate staff all day — walking from one office to the next. An onslaught of ads for remedies had warned that the sick season was upon us, and in the afternoon I began to feel overcome by flu symptoms. I thought: “Oh no!”
But I went outside and sat under a tree to give myself some quiet space to pray. I began to read from the Bible and Mary Baker Eddy’s book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, which I regularly study. What I read suggested every aspect of my life was sustained by divine Love, and I could find health and harmony in that Love, right then. I held on to those ideas and became absorbed in thinking about them, and in what they implied for the moment at hand.
What happened next was awe-inspiring.
I felt the most wonderful sense of all-encompassing, universal Love wash over me. It was all around — encircling me, the flowers, the trees, and everyone near me. I reveled in it. And I was overcome with gratitude.
At that moment I knew I’d be free from the symptoms even though they hadn’t yet disappeared, and the fear of getting sick dissipated. It just felt evident that suffering couldn’t last in the face of a Love like that. I was glimpsing the unlimited nature of Love and by the time I went home that evening, the symptoms were completely gone, and didn’t return.
In my interview with Dr. Post he foresaw a broad change in how people will view health.
“I think by the time we hit the 2030’s things will be very different. People will look back on the current materialist mindset in medicine and life in general and think — how primitive. They’ll be astonished at it,” said Post.
So what might we think in the 2030’s?
A less materialist way of thinking will, perhaps, lead us to focus more on a spiritual Love — one with the power to transform how we feel. As I have gratefully found on many occasions, when we’re in need of healing it’s well worth exploring just how unlimited that Love really is.
This article was originally published in PlainViews, a journal of the Healthcare Chaplaincy Network.