Scientist-educator sees spirituality and health linkage

The following blog is written by my Florida colleague, Bob Clark.

Something wonderful is going on in Gainesville. The University of Florida’s Center for Spirituality and Health is offering aspiring healthcare providers the chance to consider the powerful role of spirituality in their healthcare practice.

I met yesterday with Dr. Lou Ritz, PhD, Director of the Center for Spirituality and Health at UF. We talked for 90 minutes about the basis of his work, his ongoing research into spirituality and health, and how he counsels students.

Below are some highlights:

*Dr. Ritz believes that, “Separation from our creator is our fundamental health challenge.”

*One of the questions Dr. Ritz asks is, “Does the brain generate consciousness or is consciousness independent of matter?”

Did I mention that Dr. Ritz has studied the human brain and its functions for over three decades? So the above question is not posed from a foundation of ignorance about the brain. Just the opposite. Nor is it asked from the basis of unexplored spirituality. Dr. Ritz has also spent about four decades exploring the meaning and implications of spirituality and spiritual practices on health. He has traveled internationally, lectured extensively and was recently named an “exemplary teacher” by the University of Florida College of Medicine.

We talked about what Dr. Ritz calls the “God Channel”. By focusing attention spiritually we can tune out the human mind’s “chatter” and get access to the divine that’s within each of us. I mentioned that Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered the same thing in the late 1800s, described a “spiritual sense” which we all have, as our “conscious, constant capacity to understand God” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 209).

On a personal note, I found Dr. Ritz to be engaging, humble, and eager to help me progress in my own understanding of spirituality and health. He recommended several books for my study and I left feeling like I had just begun to understand the importance of the work he and others are doing in expanding the exploration of spirituality and health.

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