My last post included a video about how those with mental illness have a body/mind sickness, not a “self” sickness. After reading some of the comments, I had some follow-up thoughts which I wanted to share here as well, for my own mental reminder and hopefully, for the benefit of others out there in Blogland.
What is our make up as “beings?” I believe the human or mortal part is made up of the mind and body, and the spiritual or immortal part is the “self” (a.k.a, the Divine, God, etc.) Thinking of it in terms of God, our Creator, connects all the pieces of the religious/spiritual puzzle for me. I can’t quote the bible verses, but phrases like “the Great I am,” “be still and know that I am,” “what you do unto others you do unto me,” and “made in His image” all point to this “self” – the part that isn’t sick, the only part that really matters, because it is forever while the mind and body are temporary.
“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” ~ Teilhard de Chardin quotes (French Geologist, Priest, Philosopher and Mystic, 1881-1955)
As the Universe would have it, another blogger posted some relevant information just yesterday, from The Upanishad (introduced and translated by Eknath Easwaran.) The Upanishads are the oldest and one of the most universal of messages which inform us that there is more to life than the everyday experience of our senses – including our physical and mental illnesses!
Some excerpts from Indian Spirituality:
“The Self is one, though is appears to be many. Those who meditate upon the Self and realize the Self go beyond decay and death, beyond separateness and sorrow. They see the Self in everyone and obtain all things.”
“Control the senses and purify the mind. In a pure mind there is constant awareness of the Self. Where there is constant awareness of the Self, freedom ends bondage and joy ends sorrow.”
“The Self, pure awareness, shines as the light within the heart, surrounded by the senses. Only seeming to think, seeming to move, the Self neither sleeps nor wakes nor dreams.”
“When the Self takes on a body, he seems to assume the body’s frailties and limitations; but when he sheds the body at the time of death the Self leaves all these behind.”
“Brahman is the infinite, supreme soul. Brahman is all-prevailing, and the visualized world is a tiny part of the same. Whatever we see or feel with other senses (as in Biology) is Divine Illusion or Maya, and is Asat or untrue. The Only Truth or Sat is Brahman. We, or our souls (Jeev-Atma), are infinite small parts of Brahma.
In Hinduism, Brahman (ब्रह्मन् bráhman) is the one supreme, universal Spirit that is the origin and support of the phenomenal universe. Brahman is sometimes referred to as the Absolute or Godhead which is the Divine Ground of all being. Brahman is conceived as personal (“with qualities”), impersonal (“without qualities”) and/or supreme depending on the philosophical school.”
That last sentence is what makes me completely baffled by so-called “religious wars,” because really, we seem to all believe in the same thing. So, what are we fighting over? Semantics??? How sad!
Anyway, back to the “self.” I have heard people greet one another with the word “Namaste.” I always thought it meant “peace to you” or something along those lines. Yesterday, however, when I was watching a video on The Light Way blog about Rapid Eye Technology, I learned the true meaning of namaste, which made for the third time in three days from three different sources that the same message of this “self” was delivered to me. I love when that happens. It’s like God frantically waving His arms over His head saying, “Are you hearing me??? Are you paying attention?”
According to Organic Spa Magazine,
“the literal translation [of namaste] is a little more nuanced and suggests that it is not a superficial gesture or word but has deep spiritual significance” such as:
“All sacred in me greets all sacred in you.”
“Honor the peace within.”
“The light in me honors and respects the light in you.”
“I bow to the divine in you.”
“The light in me recognizes the light in you.”
In order for these truths to help me cope with my mental illnesses, I have to continue searching and learning more about them. It’s a never-ending spiritual journey that doesn’t always “feel” good. I also have to talk about it with others, who understand, daily and honestly. And finally, I write a lot and create a lot of digital art (and some paintings) that reflect these truths, so that I am constantly reminding myself. (btw, the digital art in this post is not mine but listed on elfwood.com as public domain. Thank you to those creators.)
What beliefs do you have that help you cope with yourself as a person with mental illness? How do you keep these beliefs in the forefront of your mind? I would love to know. Please share!
This is nice peace. It was good learning for me. I believe that in addition to learning and writing, which are activities of the mind, we have to take time out and to actually do the work, which is meditating. It’s interesting that meditating, which is in a sense doing nothing, is the hardest thing to do.
meditating, yes, thanks for the reminder. It is hard to do but the most important part. Funny how I left it out. 🙂