THE MIND IS A BEAUTIFUL THING, although more an energy field than a “thing.” My mind has served me well for some eighty years — although at times not so well and getting me in over my head. Without it I would be like a ship without a rudder going about aimlessly and mindlessly, not being able to discern truth from falsehood, reality from illusion.
The brain is also a beautiful and amazing organ, available to our minds for processing and expressing our thoughts and communications. Although not the usual and common trend of thought, some believe that there is only One Universal Mind, which we share with everyone else in the one body of mankind. I subscribe to this belief myself. If this is so, then Mind does not depend on our brains to act in our lives and allow the Light of Love to shine through a person. I saw this demonstrated clearly in a recent visit to a care center.
Last week my wife Bonnie and I visited a close friend who lives in a care center because she has lost the use of her mental capacity to remember and think clearly. The condition is called dementia and, as with Alzheimers, is caused by a deterioration of certain sections of the brain. Bonnie knows more about this field than I do, having worked in it for years as a professional counselor, so I defer to her for accurate terminology. It’s very sad to observe the progression of dementia, especially when it occurs to someone we love, like a family member or close friend. However, our friend has not lost her ability to smile and to communicate with others, albeit in a limited manner.
We visit our friend frequently and it is often, for me, both a saddening and pensive hour. On this occasion, while Bonnie was helping her with the hot fudge Sundae she had brought for her, a relatively young man and resident in the distance caught my eye. His mental condition seemed to involve some kind of hallucinations, as his eyes would roll up toward his forehead, and, as though seeing some threatening image, he would silently mouth strong words of seeming rebuke and, with his hands, push whatever it was he was seeing away from himself. He would do this quite frequently and, no doubt, throughout his waking hours. However, when someone interacted with him, he was able to smile and respond with words in a normal fashion. In other words, there was light coming through him even though his brain is not well.
As I watched him go through these contortions, I became more and more appreciative of our brains and our mental capacities. Like anything of value and importance, often we don’t consciously appreciate it until it breaks down or is gone altogether, like our computers and cellphones, for instance. We didn’t always have these modern conveniences, and now that we do have them in our lives we can hardly do without them. When they fail to function correctly, or the Internet goes down, how our lives are suddenly put on hold it seems until they are restored to our use again. I truly appreciate my laptop and my cellphone . . . but let me remember this when they malfunction. I find that this takes conscious effort and mindful presence.
I felt sad for this young man at the care center . . . and he’s not the only one there in such a mentally compromised state. Then I looked around at all the personnel running around caring for these handicapped souls and I marveled at their patience and consideration. They are truly saints, every one, to be able to even function in the midst of such a concentration of needy and dysfunctional humanity.
At some point, as if an alarm had gone off in their heads, all the “smokers” started lining up at the door to go out for their scheduled smoke out on the veranda, followed by a personnel member carrying a container filled with packs of various brands of cigarettes. In a way, it was a sobering sight to observe. This is their life. This is something they look forward to every day, their smoke breaks.
As I looked on, contemplating this impaired young man, I thought of the angel incarnate, the spark of divine light, the spirit of God somewhat entrapped inside this human being who seemed more human than being in his experience and expression of life. What a blessing, I thought, is the death of the outer form that releases the spirit from its prison, a prison that was created to be a prism for the colorful expression of life. The lives of these inflicted ones have seemingly been transformed into opportunities for others to serve with patience and respect, love and in some cases pure joy and happiness. This is an aspect of the community of Man, I thought, which seems to work in harmony when everyone plays their parts and functions from the core of their being where love abides and awaits expression through hearts, minds and bodies.
I am reminded of a story I read some years back about a lawyer and a beggar, who sat just outside his door. The lawyer would come out of his office at the end of each day and put his daily tithe into the beggar’s extended cup. The main character in the book, who, much like Enoch, was taken up on a tour of heaven, when showed this scene down on earth, expressed sadness over it. The guide immediately enlightened her as to the full story and assured her that the two men had planned this scenario of their earthly journeys ahead of time and were simply living out their pre-planed incarnations, exemplifying for others the way of love and generosity.
One never knows the whole story of a person’s life. We do know that every life has a purpose, often unknown to the one living it. Judgement, of others and of self, is always a rash action on the part of the human mind.
Our minds, as part of the One Mind, are beautiful and precious capacities, and they have their limitations, which we discover when they pull away from the One Mind and become self-active and exhausted trying to control everything around them. They depend on a healthy brain, which serves much like a computer. Like any and all body parts, our brains need nourishment and rest from their labors. Keeping them focused in the task at hand in each moment helps prevent them from becoming stretched thin and snapping.
Having worked with nutritional therapy for years in treating clients, I think of the possibilities were I allowed to work with the mentally ill in this care center with all of the wonderful therapeutic food supplements we have at our disposal today. Perhaps that day will come when Medicine begins to embrace clinical nutrition and functional medicine — which many physicians are doing on their own initiative.
An interesting thing we’ve found is as long as we stay in the moment, we usually have an enjoyable conversation with our friend, even humorous at times. When she smiles her light shines brightly. As long as we avoid bringing up past events or futuristic plans and upcoming occasions like birthdays or holidays, conversations move right along. Though she can’t think clearly about events, she does seem to enjoy listening to the stories. A thinned mind just doesn’t have enough substance to think back or ahead. You’ve got to stay in the moment where interchange flows with ease and the mind can relax and just be still. Hmmm . . . a rather pensive note to end on.
I welcome any thoughts you may have and wish to share in the comment section or by email. I am most thankful to you and to all of my blog followers, and hope you have a very happy Thanksgiving and Holiday Season. Until my next post,
Be love. Be loved.