Mindful When It Seemed There Was No Mind

Leave the first response August 16, 2014 / Posted in Mindfulness, Uncategorized

Crystal Buddha1

Last Monday I went to the Ken Theater to see the movie: Alive Inside. In communication, the seemingly inert brain comes alive. To me it is an example of where the mind is not synonymous with the brain. The brain is a secondary organ like heart, liver, lungs. Often mind and brain are seen as the same.

Lee Thayer in his most recent book: Mental Health shares:

The healthy mind cannot be reduced to a healthy brain. The brain is a biological phenomenon. The mind is a social phenomenon. The brain is initially created by our genes. The mind is created by those who surround us from birth. The mind is born and evolves as a matter of social necessity. We function in the human world as we do not – because we have a brain, but because we have a mind.

In simple and complex ways, our mind is a social creation. it is something that is created in us by how others talk to us– verbally and nonverbally. it is in the meaning of what they say to us that our our mind is born, and originally nurtured.

Lee talks about our minds are created, maintained, or altered through communication. Our communities are created by people talking to each other. Those before us created our culture…and then our culture creates us.

So we see Henry how he comes alive once he is touched with what communicated with him from his past. What have we done by believing that our elders are lost in dementia, Alzheimer’s and DSM-V diagnosis. Have we forgotten that DSM stands for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. My mother, father, brother, sister, best friend, grandfather and grandmother are not abstractions. What have we done by the misunderstanding of statistical when applied to an individual?

Bruce West in his book Where Medicine Went Wrong talks about medicine choosing to use the Standard Error of The Mean rather than the Inverse Power-Curve. That choice and the Gaussian or bell-shaped curve is about about averages where individuality is replaced by the idea of “average value.”

Where Medicine Went Wrong explores how the idea of an average value has been misapplied to medical phenomena, distorted understanding and lead to flawed medical decisions. Through new insights into the science of complexity, traditional physiology is replaced with fractal physiology, in which variability is more indicative of health than is an average. The capricious nature of physiological systems is made conceptually manageable by smoothing over fluctuations and thinking in terms of averages. But these variations in such aspects as heart rate, breathing and walking are much more susceptible to the early influence of disease than are averages. It may be useful to quote from the late Stephen Jay Gould s book Full House on the errant nature of averages: … our culture encodes a strong bias either to neglect or ignore variation. We tend to focus instead on measures of central tendency, and as a result we make some terrible mistakes, often with considerable practical import. Dr West has quantified this observation and make it useful for the diagnosis of disease.

What are we learning about community? While we call ourselves social animals may forget that we are also herd and pack animals? We are one in our uniqueness. How do we honor the unique contribution each of us brings?

The Fifth Agreement says: Be skeptical but listen. It resonates with the skepticism of philosopher Schopenhauer who influenced many modern thinkers:
In his essay: “The Wisdom of Life” he reminds us:

“With health, every;thing is a source of pleasure;
without it, nothing else, whatever it mat be, is enjoyable. . .
Health is by far the most important element in human happiness

Buddha says it another way in the Kalama Sutra. Basically he reminded the people of Kalama to be skeptical, even of his own teachings saying:

However, after thorough observation, investigation, analysis and reflection, when you find that anything agrees with reason and your experience, and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, and of the world at large; accept only that as true, and shape your life in accordance with it; and live up to it.

When you get the opportunity watch Inside Alive. You may be able to affect changes in the way you communicate with your own loved ones. You may want to become part of founder Dan Cohen’s iPod Project intentionally or unintentionally.

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