Friday, February 25, 2011

For Where Your Treasure Is

There your heart will be also.

Matthew 6:21.

There is an interesting dichotomy between body and soul. As an aside, or perhaps more accurately as a precursor to what I am about to say I have long pondered what exactly is the soul. What is that thing, that substance that defines the human soul? I have come to a conclusion that the soul is comprised of numerous attributes all culminating in that which is the essence of the person. One might call it the Self, the Center, the Christ. The Logos.

The attributes that define the Self, the mental and emotional, the unseen attributes, you cannot actually locate within your physical body but given a little thought you know it to be there nonetheless. You cannot see or hear your emotions or your thoughts, all that makes up your non-physical existence but that does not make them any less ‘there’. That we cannot view them underneath a microscope does not make them any less real.

As an aside this is where our scientific thought fails us in so many ways, or rather I should say this is where the notion that science reveals all truth fails us. Science declares that in order for something to be true, let us use the word ‘fact’, it must be observable and repeatable given the same set of external criteria, which is to say that if all factors in an experiment remain exactly the same every time than every time I should get the same results. Scientific fact. The truth. So let me ask, is that they way emotions and thoughts work? Hardly. Can I view emotions and thoughts in a laboratory on a petrie dish, define the physical conditions and know with confidence that my test will yield the same result time and time again? Hardly. Yet we know that thoughts and emotions exist. We know that humanity is comprised not only of material but also that which is immaterial. No scientist would dispute that.

But that’s another story for another time and let me get back to my original thought which was the dichotomy between body and soul.

That which ultimately decays and dies and that which lives on forever.

Our mental and emotional systems are meant to operate. If they are shut down for years and years they do not wither and die as will a physical body part. Use it or lose does not apply to that which comprises our souls. The pressure of non-use builds over the years, like a pressure-cooker. Steam building up in a closed container, it does not dissipate but rather increases in strength, searching, straining for a way out until one day it explodes. The pressure finally exceeds the level at which the heart and mind can bear and the result is bursting forth of contents, most probably in a very destructive and ugly mess.

Use it or face the ugly consequences would be a more apt way to describe the phenomenon.

There is a good reason for this.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Free Your Mind

And the rest will follow.

Sometimes when I’m driving at night on a dark highway in the pouring rain I can’t see a thing save the lights of the car ahead of me. In those times I always have the same thought which is “if this guy in front of me drives off the road I’m going right off the road with him”. Because the only thing keeping me on the road between the lines is the tail-lights of his car. In the driving rain and darkness I have no peripheral vision. To the left, to the right and above me is blackness and I am concentrating too intently on that which is in front of me, which amounts to nothing much more than his lights.

That’s a perfectly fine way to get home safely on a dark, rainy night. It is however a hell of a constricting way to live a life.

Tunnel vision would best describe my manner of living for all these years.


There was a dream, and one day I could see it. Like a bird in a cage I demanded that somebody free it.

I have to admit that I’m not a big one for listening too closely to song lyrics. I generally prefer instrumental music and even those tunes that I have liked over the years it’s always been more about the music underneath the lyrics.

But every now and then…


Let us say that you have a child, a boy but really it doesn’t matter. The key is that you have a child and this child is over eighteen years-old making him legally an adult. For arguments sake we’ll say that this child, this boy is twenty-three. Legally an adult, too young to have matured fully. In fact very far from having matured fully (as anyone with a 23 year-old son knows). Anyway…

The 23 year-old son has cancer that requires chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is not a pleasant experience as we all know. Nausea, vomiting, hair loss, energy loss, etc. Unpleasant. To the max.

But he does it because he has to and he experiences all there is to experience with a round of chemotherapy. Sick as dog and bald to boot.

And just as he is starting to feel better, getting his strength back, getting his hair back, getting his 23 year old life back the doctor tells him he needs to undergo another round of chemo.

And your son, your child, that walking, talking, living and breathing PIECE of you says thanks, but no thanks.

Ah, you say, nobody would do that. No rational, intelligent, reasonable human being would make such a decision when his life is on the line.

Clearly you have never, ever encountered a 23 year old boy.

Some might say I should be using the term ‘man’ when referring to a 23 year old male person. I would refer you to my previous sentence.

What would you do? Well here is what (at least most of) you would do. You would tie him up, in chains if you had to and you would physically drag him to the hospital if you had to. There would be no question of letting him make his own decision. He’ll die without the treatment, you are his parent, there is but one option and you will not stop until you see him sitting in that chair, hooked up to that I.V. drip. And you will do it again, and again and yet again if you have to. And nobody but nobody would question you for your guerilla tactics.

But what if that sickness that your child carries around is a sickness of the soul? No less potentially lethal and manifesting itself in a hundred different ways simultaneously.

You know that the only potential “cure” is going to be with a healthy and continuous dose of psychotherapy (and medication if necessary).

What does a parent do in this situation?

And at what point does it become ok for the parent to ask the child to sacrifice themselves in the interest of saving the parent?

Because as any parent knows the loss of the child takes the parent also.