Can you, just for a minute at least, think of memory slippage, memory loss and even dementia as an illness? To do this we need to distinguish between an “illness” and “sickness.”
Sickness: A medical malady; the medical diagnosis, including all the physical symptoms that attend the diagnosis.
Illness: All our non-physical reactions to the sickness of memory loss.
Now, consider the big difference between these two words…
Cure: The medical community seeks to cure the sickness of memory loss.
(Unfortunately they haven’t yet succeeded… let’s hope they do very soon).
Heal: All the efforts of the psychological, social, and faith communities to heal the emotional, psychological and spiritual consequences of memory loss: anger, depression, fear, relationship discord, disrespect, loss of faith, despair, purposelessness, inadequacy, low self-esteem, obtuseness, lifelessness, apathy, etc., etc., etc.
While the sickness of memory slippage, memory loss and dementia (from any source) causes pain (generally not physical), the pain caused by the illness of memory issues is considered much more pervasive, persistent, and troublesome to the person suffering with memory loss, AND everyone around her or him.
I remember a story told by Dr. Bernie Siegel, MD in his book Love, Medicine and Miracles, that I believe is cogent here. A woman approaches her oncologist and asks, “Doctor, what’s next in my treatment regime?” Her doctor replies, “I’m sorry, but we have exhausted all the treatment that medicine has to offer; all you have now is a hope and a prayer.” The patient replies, “Doctor, can you teach me how to hope and pray?” This is a precious and most instructive story. The doctor expresses his regret that medicine has limits, but follows his assessment by pointing this patient to another level of healing… virtue and prayer.
I believe that…
• Virtue is the fundamental power of healing.
• All the illnesses that beset the human condition can be remedied (directly or
indirectly) by the power of virtue.
• All human action devoted to healing has its origin in virtue.
• Virtue inspires healers (medical, psychological, social, and spiritual) across
the spectrum of the healing continuum (even if they’re not aware of this
• Only virtue can inspire, any motivation outside of virtue is simply compulsion, and is therefore self-serving. Healing is applied truth, beauty and goodness, and all power resident in these three is virtue.
• Virtue is life. Virtue is light, and strength, and power, and tenderness, and compassion, and beauty, and reverence, and patience, and fortitude, and true justice, and forbearance, and simplicity, and truth, and joy, and empathy, and togetherness, and respect, and all and everything that is good.
• Anything ‘not good’ is not of virtue; anything ‘not good’ is merely the absence of, or the perversion of virtue.
Virtue is the healing power of the soul, yet virtue is always potential, and only rarely emerges to its fullest flower. This is because our shadows and compulsions often get in our way.
1) Shadows. The shadow of a virtue is a life condition that is the absence of the virtue; as despair is the absence of hope.
2) Compulsions. The compulsion of a virtue is a life condition created by distorting, even perverting the virtue; as perfectionism is the compulsion of wisdom.
Shadows and compulsions always place us at risk of sliding away from our powerful center of virtue, light and love, and gradually toward our shadows and/or compulsions where there is no power, no light, and no joy.
Growth in virtue cooperates with the work of the Holy Spirit that propels our holy journey toward God. Virtue penetrates into us, innervates our soul, and guides all six functions of our personality.
1. All our beliefs rooted in virtue heal us.
2. All our perceptions illuminated by virtue heal us.
3. All our thoughts grounded in virtue heal us.
4. All our feelings emanating from virtue heal us.
5. All our choices motivated by virtue heal us.
6. All our behaviors activated by virtue heal us.
Our actions of goodness are virtue-motivated, but the human action/behavior is not the virtue. Virtue is the power, the grace that generates goodness on human action. Virtue “lights-up” good action.
A light bulb is non-functional without the power of electricity; so too, our actions of goodness are similarly non-functional without the power of virtue. Joyous behavior comes from the grace of the virtue of joy. Hopeful behavior comes from the grace of the virtue of hope. Empathic behavior comes from the grace of the virtue of empathy. This is true of all virtues and all human behavior we would call good.
I believe that we already possess the virtues in a great divine spiritual reservoir within us. Our problem is not the lack of virtue; rather our problem is that we lack the motivation or the knowledge of how to dip into this great pool of grace already gifted to us.
I’ve come to realize, both from working with thousands of counseling patients, and from my own experience, that prayer is a mighty force for healing. I firmly believe that prayer needs to be part of the healing process for all persons dealing with any and all illnesses, including persons dealing with memory issues.
Without prayer and devoid of virtue, we are lost, as it were, without rudder and keel, foundering about, devoid of bearings; straining to find something, anything, that might give us direction, let alone healing and life purpose. In such a confusing state of personal angst, we are more vulnerable to fall prey to the messages of the world that offer only false and hollow life principles, devoid of real strength.
In the book, My Memory is Awakening, I describe my first 30 days taking Glory Day Brain Booster; the rewards (body, mind & spirit) I received truly amazed me. But, more to the point here, in the book I include a separate prayer for every one of the 30 days. Each prayer is devoted to a distinct virtue.
Now, I didn’t pick these virtues out of a hat, not at all. These 30 virtues were the result of a long study (five years) I conducted at a large teaching hospital where I was the Director of Behavioral Sciences, teaching the residents and intern doctors the “art of medicine.” My job, which I did to the best of my abilities for 15 years, was to connect the intersection of body, mind and spirit. The goal was to help the young docs understand one vital insight: they needed to go beyond biology, chemistry, and physiology if they wanted to really understand the human condition and become a healer of people, not simply a “treater” of disease.
These 30 prayers are what I came to call the “healing prayers.” I recommend this book (I know this appears a bit self-serving… I’m sorry!), both for the descriptions of how I saw Glory Day Brain Booster help me (and does to this day), but equally for the prayers of the 30 healing virtues.
Every morning before I take my Glory Day Brain Booster I say a prayer that this formulation of natural, God-given ingredients will activate my body, mind and spirit. I imagine the power of God in the capsules as I swallow them. I see them as lights illuminating my brain and regenerating my neurons, strengthening my neurotransmitters, and generally “up-stepping” my mental abilities. My life is enriched: my mood is enhanced, my reactions are quicker, my memory works better, and I just feel better… indeed, I am better!
1. You might want to get my book My Memory is Awakening (Link to Amazon) where you’ll find the 30 prayers described above, and get a glimpse of what one person (me) discovered about the power of Glory Day Brain Booster. https://Vivolor.com
2. You may also wish to log onto www.spiritualstrengths.org for more information on the healing power of virtue.
By Richard P Johnson