Community and Altruism Heals
From Lynne McTaggart's book, The Power of 8:
"The power of service. The best protector.
That little bit of helping acted like a bulletproof vest. When faced with future stressful situations like illness, financial difficulties, job loss or death in the family, those who’d helped others during the previous year were far less likely to die than those who hadn’t. In fact, the contrast between the people who’d helped and those who didn’t could not have been starker.
When faced with each new stressful event, those who’d decided not to lend a hand increased their chances of dying by a whopping 30 per cent.
In fact, if you have to choose between giving and receiving, there’s no longer any question that it is better for your health to do the giving: in one study of older Americans, those who gave experienced less illness than those who were on the receiving end of their kindness. And of all the religious coping behaviours relating to better mental health, one of the major ones among a group of mentally ill patients was giving religious help to others."
The research is clear, giving back makes you happier, healthier, and maybe even richer.
It's in the 12 Step Programme - 'give back'.
It's in the BNI model (one of the worlds largest networking organisations) - 'givers gain'.
It's in the Bible - 'be of service to others'.
And now science is measuring it - heart match shows the energy around the body expands, so we cannot argue.
We all have basic human needs, and according to Maslow's hierarchy, they as follows:
These are biological requirements for human survival, e.g. air, food, drink, shelter, clothing, warmth, sex, sleep.
If these needs are not satisfied the human body cannot function optimally. Maslow considered physiological needs the most important as all the other needs become secondary until these needs are met.
Once an individual’s physiological needs are satisfied, the needs for security and safety become salient. People want to experience order, predictability, and control in their lives. These needs can be fulfilled by the family and society (e.g. police, schools, business and medical care).
For example, emotional security, financial security (e.g. employment, social welfare), law and order, freedom from fear, social stability, property, health and wellbeing (e.g. safety against accidents and injury).
3. Love and belongingness
After physiological and safety needs have been fulfilled, the third level of human needs is social and involves feelings of belongingness. Belongingness, refers to a human emotional need for interpersonal relationships, affiliating, connectedness, and being part of a group.
Examples of belongingness needs include friendship, intimacy, trust, and acceptance, receiving and giving affection, and love.
The fourth level in Maslow’s hierarchy includes self-worth, accomplishment, and respect. Maslow classified esteem needs into two categories: (i) esteem for oneself (dignity, achievement, mastery, independence) and (ii) the desire for reputation or respect from others (e.g., status, prestige).
Maslow indicated that the need for respect or reputation is most important for children and adolescents and precedes real self-esteem or dignity.
The highest level in Maslow's hierarchy, which refers to the realisation of a person's potential, self-fulfilment, seeking personal growth and peak experiences. Maslow (1943) describes this level as the desire to accomplish everything that one can, to become the most that one can be.
Individuals may perceive or focus on this need very specifically. For example, one individual may have a strong desire to become an ideal parent. In another, the desire may be expressed economically, academically or athletically. For others, it may be expressed creatively, in paintings, pictures, or inventions.
Healing within Communities
Our current society and communities arguably only address the physiological needs, and this is a major contributory factor in why we have a sicker population despite unprecedented material wealth.
When it comes to healing yourself, it is a huge challenge if you are trying to do what no one else is doing.
So, as an experiment, Heal Scotland created a 12-week healing community back in 2019 to give people a place to go, with like minded others, to eat great food, reconnect to the land and rewire their brains in nature.
Participants suffered from a full breadth of dis-ease - from cancer, brain tumours, MS, chronic fatigue, depression, labyrinthitis and type 2 diabetes - this was an experiment to prove that if you do the good things every day for long enough, the body will respond.
We had a huge success, as much as you could possibly hope for in such a short space of time, with people who had heavy diagnosis, prognosis and labels.
Everyone had significant improvement, despite the challenges they had on a day to day basis.
The results were clear, we have the power to heal ourselves.
But……. What happens when you return home to the external environment where you got sick in the first place?
For most of us, sadly, this is the reality. To maintain new habits that bring health, vitality, and happiness when no one else is doing it, can simply be impossible for most of us.
The need for communities that fulfil all of our needs, that support us in the quest for vitality and joy, is obvious. Things need to change, and that starts inside each one of us.
Communities that are inclusive, interdependent and live in a sustainable way with the land and all sentient beings on it.
In the current system we have little choice but for drugs and operations. This has to change in order for all of us to be truly healed and happy. Reconnection to who we really are, children of the Earth, connected and sustained by her and all who live in and on her. A world where we live in harmony with the laws of nature and each other, seeing and knowing the interconnection of all living things and revering our place in it.
This is the way of the future, the so-called New Earth.