HOW MY MIND FORMED, VANISHED, REBUILT
As a kid I walked everywhere.
Point A to point B, one step at a time.
The body is engaged and the mind is free.
FREE TO THINK.
I took my "mind" with me on my walk as a 'companion’ coordinating the physical exertion with the mental exertion.
Fresh air, the scent of grass with frying eggs and bacon mixed in the air.
A thousand natural sounds of life became stimulus---the actual world. Reality.
I thought up games and challenges.
I loved tongue twisters such as:
"The Silent Sea ceaseth, and thus sufficeth us."
Or, "The sixth Sheik's sixth sheep is sick."
"Rubber baby buggy bumper."
If I could enunciate precisely while speaking quickly I could articulate confidently.
I took 3X5 cards with historical dates and figures. I memorized them as I walked along.
Muhammed: 570-632 A.D
Battle of Thermopylae: 480 B.C.
Sinking of Titanic: 1912 and so on.
A Sense of History was developing. Who and what came first, next, and afterward.
On my 3X5 cards I printed Vocabulary Words.
16 per day.
Etc. I learned the Latin and Greek root words as hints.
A mail order memory course enabled me to create long lists in my head which could remain firmly in place.
I recited long passages of Poetry.
Then, a kind of Zen exercise of SIMPLY EXISTING without thinking.
It is the ON/OFF switch. It came in handy later on.
"MIND" as a machine, a tool, a gizmo I needed to learn how to operate...self-operate...skillfully.
I was tall and thin and easily targeted by bullies at school.
I couldn't understand my exclusion and it hurt me deeply. I sought comfort and refuge on my INTERIOR.
As an only child I discovered how to self-entertain.
All I need is me.
But I grew lonely.
I met a Friend who was in a religious cult. How do you suppose this will impact my MIND?
In Jehovah's Witnesses, there was a place for my MIND.
All I had to do was apply my efforts and I'd be on the side of Goodness and Rightness!
I made friends. I received direction on what was “important” and how to meet strangers and shake hands and look people in the eyes.
I learned how to organize sermons and stand before a crowd and speak persuasively.
I was encouraged to SACRIFICE my youth to my Gawd.
I went to prison ....voluntarily...to please my Deity and "Christian family".
What is a crucible? It is a place to be broken--UNmade--and reformed.
I was pounded into tiny pieces and intermixed with strangeness, vileness, and pain.
I came out the other side shattered on the inside...but CALM and COMPOSED on the surface.
The Old Me was buried without a funeral. A New me arose.
I did as I was told, worked hard at it. Learned doctrine. Kept track of hours spent preaching, reciting god-words to strangers.
I longed to be NORMAL. What did NORMAL people do?
I got married, fathered children, worked at meaningless jobs.
And then...it all fermented.
I exploded into dust. I came apart. The Old Me and the New Me unshackled.
I WANTED MY MIND BACK.
I planned the escape carefully.
I moved my family far, far away from cult influences.
I secured a job--a creative career... in Art.
I made new friends...(GENUINE FRIENDS) and started life all over again.
Trial and Error. Many mistakes. Much pain.
WHY do we exist? (Fill in your new answer)
WHAT is my purpose? (Fill in your new answer)
Listening is not the same as hearing.
Seeing is not the same as observing.
Blurting is not the same as articulating.
How I formed my mind was by learning to feed it, cultivate it as one cultivates a garden.
Then I surrendered it. Lost. Got it back again.
AM I THE SAME BOY who walked and smelled flowers and bacon?
Am I less? More?
Think of A WALL made of BRICKS. If we replace one brick at a time until none of the old bricks remain--is it THE SAME WALL?
In our body and brain, we replace our constituent parts each year. Our "bricks" aren't the same.
This I what I believe. We B-E-C-O-M-E who we are. Never the same moment to moment.
Consciousness is like the weather; wafts of winds,in constant flux and subject to every distant influence no matter how small.
MIND is a peculiar illusion we bag and tag and label.
WE CANNOT understand or know who we really are because we are changing while insisting we’re the same.
Confusing? Yeah. No choice but to “Suck it up and deal.”
I am my writing. I'm in my children. I'm in my Art.
What we create and leave behind is ultimately who we are.
These words are my thoughts.
When I die, if the words exist anyplace at all--then I AM THERE.
Now, go back to your day and it’s thousands of little wafts.
Become, become, become who you are.
Above all: THINK!