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Friday, October 29, 2010

What About The Mind?

Human beings love to take care of their bodies, at least they love the idea of it. (Of course, even physical improvement is expected to come in eight minutes these days.) We diet, exercise, tan, style our hair, get manicures, pedicures, even surgery. We try not to smoke or eat red meat or drink caffeine. And there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be healthy. It’s just peculiar that we spend so much time developing something that we know is going to deteriorate, yet we do nothing to cultivate our mind.

(I didn’t use the word “eternal” to describe the mind because the churchs’ stances are always changing, but I assume one would need a mind to experience the fires of hell or the pleasures of heaven. Then again, that’s just more science hocus-pocus, something about brain sensors and feeling. Really though, do we not identify ourselves by our thoughts? So, why would you care about hell if it wasn’t even YOU that was there!?)

Going back to our obsession with the physical being, think about why that is. Could that be the fear of loss we talk about? the fear of death? Why do we lift weights to build muscles on this body that we are only borrowing for what amounts to be a blink of His eye, but we refuse to give our mind a second to grow? I may be off here, but isn’t that something like polishing your rented shoes every five minutes at the bowling ally and then walking home barefoot through mud? No?

We loved the mind as a small child. We longed to learn everything (before the “age of reasoning,” which is Eve and the apple, which is a point of mental evolution...are you getting that, yet?). At that time, we turned our back on the mental forever. We loved gym class, hated math. We wanted to play, not do homework. If a teacher challenged our brain, we resisted; we panicked. Even those that forced their way through college, did just that..forced it, half the time spacing out or complaining about doing it.

On the other hand, physical fitness is at the top of the list for most college students. They love their bodies. Although it’s not their bodies they love, it’s looking good in order to portray an image, not only to help form relationships, but to form a relationship with. If we truly loved our body, we would see its obvious connection to our mind,...and our mind’s connection to our soul.

It isn’t until we start to see the inevitable decay creep in and begin thinking about death that we concern ourselves with preserving the body, by eating right and visiting the doctor frequently. I see older adults scramble to preserve their finite shell, against nature and despite years of self-abuse, knowing that it will  soon be gone, leaving behind only the part of them which hasn’t even been touched! (Because those who haven’t saturated their soul in bogus religions or squandered it chasing earthly ambitions, die without even taking it out of the box. That’s a shame.) 

How embarrassing will it be to stand before God, in his long white robe and glowing lantern, and have to report that you have learned nothing in your 75 years on Earth, besides how to cook everything on the Denny’s menu or sell life insurance or how to get even with someone or how to pick up women? How embarrassing, indeed.

And will it hurt God’s feelings to discover that you were more anxious without a connection to Facebook than being cut off from Him? Or that you spent more time and effort improving the performance of your Honda then enhancing the Divine vehicle that He gave you for your journey back to him?

Our mind is the point where our soul meets this life and where life is then interpreted to us. In other words, the mind is our translator and our tour guide, as we move through the physical realm. It learns through memory, and it is actually pretty effective when it comes to solving problems, as you see with the development of math and science.

The problem is that 95% of the time, when we aren’t using it to learn important things, like not to touch a hot stove, the mind is ignored, left unattended, locked in a room, and made to watch the same DVD’s over and over (such as the ‘Who I Am’ and ‘Who I Want To Be’ sagas). A lifetime of suppressing its natural thirst for knowledge, collectively for eons, has left the human mind frustrated, starved, ill, deformed, and most importantly, afraid and manic.

While the body shows signs of need, like a growling stomach or a long yawn, and even cars display lights and sounds when it’s time for maintenance, the mind does nothing. It simply conforms and occupies itself with automatic tasks, namely worry, fear, anxiety, and the rest of that gang. 

You could say that the “Devil” takes over. An idle mind is the Devil’s play thing, or something like that. Your mind takes on a mind of its own. Be serious; can you honestly say that you have control over your mind? And yet, we try to control our body without it. Has science not proven a connection between mind and body?

Instead of wasting mental energy on the past or the future, leaving it on ‘auto’ to create bogus emotions that engulf you, then formulating ways to either alleviate or enhance those emotions, why not commandeer it for its intended purpose, to grow closer to the Divine?

As adults, we are out of shape mentally. We need to train, and that doesn’t mean watching the Discovery Channel or doing a crossword puzzle, not even suffering through college courses, even if you are enthusiastic about it. I’m saying study yourself, by yourself. Observe why you do certain things or think a certain way.

It is all about mental observation, and that means emotions too. Once you expose the unattended mind as a fraud, you can gain control of it again. Instead of becoming captivated by your thoughts and feelings and allowing your undisciplined mind to run rough shot, like a bull in the old china shop, dragging you along with it, just WATCH the bull. DON’T try to lasso it, just watch it. Let it buck and kick you around, while you just watch.

I understand that it is against everything we know to not resist, but remember, Jesus did say to turn the other cheek. Simply being aware of your mind, watching it operate on you, and eavesdropping on your own mental chatter, which goes on constantly, is the only text book you will need. I know how crazy that sounds; I really do. Because you see no results in your future, that is, you don’t know what to expect. It is the fabled leap of faith.

A good comparison would be those novelty wall pictures that showed up in shopping malls years ago, where you are supposed to stand about 3 feet away and stare at it until the confusing series of tiny dots changes into a cool 3-D image. They are very frustrating in the beginning. Some people still can’t get it; some catch a glimpse here and there, and others, who have worked at it and, more importantly, were open to the experience, just see it.

An even better parallel would be anything that you devotedly wanted to learn, which may have seemed too elaborate to grasp in the beginning, but ultimately became second nature, or even first. This was my experience when I studied Audio Engineering, 15 years ago. I would cram my brain everyday, but the confusion was overwhelming. Then one day, everything became so clear, first basic electricity, signal flow, and sound, then different equipment and techniques.

Surely, I’m not the only one who has experienced that type of sudden illumination while studying. It‘s born out of persistence, which comes from truly wanting to know something. Now, how could you not want to know everything about this magnificent gift, given to you by the Divine God (the top-tier name brand)

Imagine receiving a futuristic computer or game system (or a car, anything), whose technology was centuries advanced, as a gift today and deciding it was just too complicated to bother with, despite the outrageous claims made about the product, its glowing testimonials, and free tutoring offered by the manufacturer. Would you be satisfied using it as a paper-weight? I suppose those who spend hours on their computer playing solitaire would be just fine with it.

Human beings, with our home theaters and beefed-up car stereos, walk around sporting a stock brain with only the factory pre-sets and their foreheads flashing "12:00 am." And God shakes his head.

1 Please add your thoughts to the discussion.:

kathy said...

So true, if only we spent as much time and money on perfecting our minds as we do our bodies. Thanks, Prof, for your enlightenment.

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Thanks for reading that. Please add some comments, give an opinion, ask questions, disagree. I would love a healthy discussion on this, not to find a winner in this debate, but to find the truth.

- Professor Plume

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