From this week’s “Metropolis Messenger“:
Did you know your spiritual practice can change your Brain?
Recent scientific research shows:
• Prayer and spiritual practice reduce stress and anxiety.
• Just twelve minutes of focused prayer per day may slow down the aging process.
• Contemplating a loving God as taught in the Orthodox Church rather than a punitive God reduces anxiety, depression, and stress and increases feelings of security, compassion, and love.
• Anger and prejudice generated by extreme beliefs can permanently damage your brain.
• Intense prayer and meditation permanently change numerous structures and functions in the brain altering your values and the way you perceive reality.
These are the findings of neuroscientist Andrew Newberg. His research team has concluded that active and positive spiritual belief changes the human brain for the better.
If you want to change your life you have to realize that part of your effort is changing your brain. This is work we do in cooperation with Grace, called Synergia. The Orthodox way of life as taught by our Church will lead you to a better life and a union with God.
Our aim as Orthodox Christians is to acquire the Holy Spirit so that we are able to do His will and not just our own will. This requires we overcome our tendency to follow habits that we have programmed into our physical brains. Prayer, worship and ascetic practices coupled with the sacraments of the Church can change your life. They help you form new habits that lead you closer to God and a more fulfilling life.
Ten Points for Living an Orthodox Christian Life
1. Praying Daily
Have a regular prayer rule that includes morning and evening prayer.
2. Worshiping and Participating in Sacraments
Attend and participate in the Divine Liturgy receiving Holy Communion regularly as well as regular participation in Confession.
3. Honoring the Liturgical Cycle of the Church
Follow the seasons of the church and participate in the fasts and feasts of the Church.
4. Using the Jesus Prayer
Repeat the Holy name whenever possible throughout the day or night.
5. Slowing Down and Ordering Your Life
Set priorities and reduce the stress and friction caused by a hurried life.
6. Being Watchful
Give full attention to what you are doing at the moment.
7. Taming the Passions
Overcome your habits, attachment to your likes and dislikes, and learn to practice the virtues.
8. Putting Others First
Free yourself from your selfishness and find joy in helping others.
9. Spiritual Fellowship
Spend time regularly with other Orthodox Christians for support and inspiration.
10. Reading the Scriptures and Holy Fathers
Be inspired by the lessons of the Holy Scriptures, the wisdom of the Holy Fathers and the lives of the Saints of the Church.
You can download a free copy of a 32page booklet on the ten points at www.stgeorgegreenville.org
from the ST. GEORGE, Greenville, SC, bulletin