Native American, Hinduism, Buddhism Spirituality

Introduction

In executing their duties, nursing professionals come into contact with individuals from different religious backgrounds and faiths. However, they are charged with the responsibility of ensuring that these individuals receive quality and holistic health care. To achieve this, it is paramount for nursing professionals to have a high degree of understanding regarding the existing differences (Chapman, 1997, p.33). Additionally, they should also respect the existence of diversity amongst their clients. One of the ways through which this can be attained is by having an open mind regarding the individuals’ spiritual faith. Additionally, health care providers should also be aggressive in seeking knowledge regarding the patients’ faiths. This will contribute towards ensuring that the delivery of service is unbiased.

In an effort to understand how healthcare professionals deal with spiritual differences with regard to faith and beliefs, the researcher conducted an analysis on the philosophies of three main religious groups, which include Native American, Hinduism, and Buddhism with the Christian faith. This was achieved by conducting an interview with the patients as the main respondents.

Native Americans

The Native American faith is composed of individuals from different Native American tribes. According to Davenport (2009, p.1), Native American tribes possess similar beliefs regarding spirituality, health, and wellbeing. According to these tribes, there is a link between day-to-day activities and the spirit world. To better understand their spiritual beliefs, the researcher interviewed a 65 years old lady by the name of Marie. Marie is a descendant of the Cherokee tribe, which is one of the Native American tribes. The researcher interviewed Marie regarding her spiritual beliefs and faith regarding healing. The following is an illustration of some of the questions asked and the answers she provided.

What is your spiritual opinion regarding healing?

As a lady of Cherokee descent, I have a strong belief in Mother Nature as a source of healing. Therefore, I greatly honor and respect all creation, from the largest landmark to the smallest living creature. In addition, I believe that one’s healing only occurs when he or she establishes a spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical balance.

What do you consider to be the most important aspect of your faith and spiritual beliefs that healthcare providers who profess different faith should observe?

As a Native American, I am of the view that healthcare professionals taking care of me when I am sick should respect my beliefs. One of the ways through which they can achieve this is by giving me an opportunity to conduct my prayers and also to meditate at will. In addition, the healthcare providers should also give me an opportunity to be visited by my healing elder.

What do you consider to be the most important element of your spiritual belief that contributes to healing?

In my opinion, prayer and meditation are the most important components of healing. Through prayer, one is able to give thanks to all creation. In addition, I also believe that when one is sick, it is important to ensure that he or she establishes balance with Mother Nature. As a Cherokee, I mainly undertake meditation when sick so as to establish a connection with the spiritual world.

The responses from Marie reveal a strong similarity with the Christian belief system. One of the similarities relates to prayer as a component that can enhance one’s healing. In both spiritual professions, prayer is used as a link with a higher being. Additionally, it is also used as a way through which one can gain guidance regarding how he or she should live.

Hinduism

According to Kishore (2001, p.9), Hinduism is considered to be the only ancient living religion around the world. Additionally, Hindus are considered to be ardent believers in God. For example, Hindus conduct prayers and meditation daily, which illustrates their degree of devotion. According to Eliot (2007, p.35), Hindus believe that an individual’s soul undergoes a series of births and deaths before becoming totally free from being mortality. Additionally, Hindus associate pain and suffering from sins. Pain is also associated with the existence of imbalances with regard to three main body humors, which include the phlegm, bile, and wind. This is made worse if the individual does not repent through prayer and meditation, which are believed to be one of the ways through which one can cleanse himself or herself. The following are some of the responses from Ramon, who is a Hindu.

What are the main elements of the Hindu religion considered to be most important to healing?

In my opinion, prayer and meditation are the most important in that they enable one to repent of his or her sins. Through prayer and meditation, one is able to establish a relationship with his or her God. For example, one is able to be guided on how he or she should live. Additionally, prayer and meditation enable one to ease his or her suffering and also to establish a balance with the surroundings. For one to be healed, it is critical to establish internal and external purity. As a Hindu, I also consider fasting to be an important way through which one can gain healing and purity.

What do you consider to be the most important aspect of your faith and spiritual beliefs that healthcare providers who profess different faith should observe?

When receiving treatment from a western healthcare provider, I would expect him to respect my beliefs. In accordance with my religion, there are numerous issues that I would not expect the healthcare provider to do since they can harm my body and spirit.

What is your perception regarding a healthcare provider who respects patient beliefs?

I view such an individual as a true healthcare provider who can contribute towards my recovery. In addition, such an individual can enable me to attain purity.

From the interview with Ramon, Hindus hold beliefs that are close to Christianity. For example, Hindus believe that there is a God who controls their life. In addition, they also believe in prayers and fasting as one of the ways to link with their God and that sins should be repented.

Buddhism

In an effort to understand the Buddhism philosophy, I interviewed a patient by the name of Katie, who is a Buddhist. According to Sheng-yen and Stevenson (2002, p. 210), Buddhists are guided by five main rules. These include:

  1. Not to kill, be it an animal or a person.
  2. Do not steal
  3. Do not consume alcohol
  4. Do not cheat
  5. Do not be unfaithful.

According to Faelli (1999, p.18), Buddhists believe that an individual’s inner healing is a core element in one’s health. Katie also said that Buddhists have a high value for life. They consider life to be the most important aspect that one can have. As a result, one’s life should be free from greed and cravings. In addition, one should not be materialistic. The following are the responses received upon interviewing Katie.

What is your opinion on spiritual healing?

I greatly value my life. So as to be healthy, I believe in internal healing. In addition, I believe that my body is a temple, and therefore, I have an obligation to keep it pure.

What are the main elements of the Hindu religion considered to be most important to healing?

I do not believe in the existence of a supernatural being. Therefore, I believe that I am responsible for my personal health. In order to be clear in my mind, I usually undertake practice. In summary, I am in control of everything that happens to me.

The above interviews have revealed important elements regarding different faiths and beliefs. In addition, they have also illustrated the fact that respecting these beliefs is paramount in ensuring that patients receive desired healing outcomes, which is in line with Christianity. Respecting ones surrounding, prayer, and meditation have been identified as some of the critical components that contribute towards one attaining healing which is also congruent with the Christian faith.

Reference List

Chapman, A. (1997). Healthcare and information ethics: protecting fundamental human rights. New York: Rowman and Littlefield.

Davenport, L. (2009). Healing and transformation through self guided imagery. Berkley, CA: Ten Speed Press.

Eliot, C. (2007). Hinduism and Buddhism. London: Gardeners Books.

Faelli, R. (1999). Buddhism; history, beliefs, worship and celebrations. Clayton South: Blake Education.

Kishore, B. (2001). Hinduism. New Delhi: Diamond Publication.

Stevenson, D. & Sheng-yen, Z. (2002). Hoof print of the ox; principles of chan Buddhist path as taught by a modern Chinese master. Oxford: Oxford University Press.