Skip to main content

TEDMED conference inspires fresh thinking about health

Written By | Nov 16, 2015

PETALUMA, CA, Nov. 16, 2015 – Well over a century before anyone had ever heard of TEDMED, an annual confab of movers and shakers deeply interested in making the world a better, healthier place to live, religious and health reformer Mary Baker Eddy proclaimed, “The time for thinkers has come.” Thankfully that time is still here and continues to generate important advancements in human understanding, particularly within the field of health.

No doubt they’ll be doing plenty of thinking at this week’s conference in Palm Springs. The program includes sessions ranging from “Food Fix,” where speakers will tackle issues from global agricultural policies, the organic-versus-GMO debate, and food insecurity, to “Mind Matters,” which will include contributions from a spiritual psychedelic researcher, a positive psychology detective, and a psychiatrist with an unusual approach to treating those with dangerous addictions.

But something else that will likely come up is what Eddy refers to as “the cold conventionality of materialism,” an outdated, even burdensome mode of thinking she describes as “crumbling away.”

Don’t Mistake Genetics For The Human Spirit

It’s interesting that she would have made this observation when she did, a time when, according to renowned mind-body physician Larry Dossey, the prevailing view was that health and illness were entirely physical in nature. In fact, says Dossey, it wasn’t until after World War II that “Physicians began to realize, based on scientific evidence, that disease has a ‘psychosomatic’ aspect: that emotions and feelings can influence the body’s functions.”

Eddy’s own research took this idea even further, convincing her that it wasn’t so much the human consciousness or brain but a singular divine Mind that ultimately governs every aspect of our health – mental, emotional, physical and otherwise.

Sounds like she would have had an interesting, even compelling discussion with all those free-thinking, free-wheeling TEDMED folks, whether or not they agree with her conclusions.

The Biggest Medical Myth Of Them All

The most exciting thing about this conference is that you have so many people (upward of 200,000 in nearly 150 countries, if you count those watching via live streaming) who are willing to think out-of-the-box about a subject that impacts every one of us – not just doctors and scientists, but techno-geeks, artists, musicians and business leaders as well, all of whom recognize that the ideas that have the greatest impact on health and medicine aren’t confined to any one field of endeavor or period of history.

Which brings us back to the contributions of Mary Baker Eddy, a renowned spiritual healer  who was bold enough and far-seeing enough to dig deeper into Jesus’ example of healing and put to the test the idea that an understanding of the all-encompassing divine Principle and Love she called God is sufficient to restore and maintain our health.

Even if this is something not many are willing to admit, it’s at least worth thinking about.

Eric Nelson writes about the link between consciousness and health from his perspective as a practitioner of Christian Science. He also serves as the media and legislative spokesperson for Christian Science in Northern California. Follow him on Twitter @norcalcs. Continue the conversation on Facebook.


Eric Nelson

Eric Nelson’s column “Consciousness and Health” has appeared on a number of national media websites including The Washington Times, The Washington Post, KevinMD, The Houston Chronicle and American Public Media's "On Being” blog. Eric also serves as the Christian Science Committee on Publication for Northern California, enjoys road biking, and is more than happy to chat with anyone, anytime, about baseball.