Once in a while it seems as if a book is written especially to help Unity ministers like me to deal with their own stressful jobs and to help their congregants cope with deep, personal challenges as well. Mind Over Medicine by Melissa Rankin, MD, left me with the feeling that it had been written just for me.
Confronted for years by friends, colleagues and congregants who really seemed to need a scientific explanation for why spiritual principles work, I hadn’t always been able to provide the “proof” they needed before they would begin to use the spiritual tools I was offering.
Lissa Rankin offers the results of fascinating scientific studies—performed at major laboratories, universities and hospitals—plus accounts of her personal experiences to explain why many of our spiritual practices work. She assures her readers that, to some extent at least, the scientists and the mystics are beginning to shake hands.
Lissa was a practicing physician for eight years in a busy OB-GYN clinic where she saw patients every day on a tightly scheduled basis. She did her best to serve her patients within the confines of her practice, but after a while, she really didn’t feel she was helping them very much and she certainly wasn’t helping herself. Eventually, she became very ill and her symptoms were difficult to diagnose, so she moved her family to the country. Over time, her stress level dropped considerably, and she was able to get in touch with her body’s remarkable ability to heal itself. She also began to examine a number of alternative practices, not as a substitute for good medical care but as an important adjunct.
“As a physician, here’s what I’ve learned,” she says. “Somewhere in the intersection of hope, optimism, nurturing care and full partnership with the empowered patient, a recipe for healing lies.”
Mind Over Medicine not only invites the busy minister to take better care of him- or herself as the greatest contribution that he or she can make to being an effective minister, but the book offers us great tools to use for speaking, teaching, writing, counseling and genuinely caring for the “whole” congregation.