This was a text heavy post over on Tumblr that’s gotten no traction. In an effort to engage the community in some serious discussion about the role of mental illness and similar conditions in our spirituality, I’ve decided to cross post it to my blogs. Below is the original post with all it’s typos and such.
Concerning the Mind
“Thoughts of the mind neither pass away, nor vanish into air. For every thought is a builder in the subtle world that lies about you. Thoughts of beauty and of things of the Spirit refine and purify the soul, making them fair to look upon and graceful in their movements, uniting them with the universal music of eternity and gathering about them the servants of the angels. But harsh thoughts harden the soul; coarse thoughts coarsen the soul; thoughts bound only to material things load the soul with heavy chains.” – Teachings of the Daughter: The Thoughts of the Mind: verses 1 – 5, The Clear Recital, CDV
My friends, this lesson has been rattling around in my thoughts ever since I first read it in the AAV. There are minor differences in the two regarding the language. But the message is the same, regardless of which version of The Clear Recital you pick up. That message is in three parts:
- You are responsible for your thoughts.
- If you think about the correct things, you will draw closer to Déa.
- If you think about the incorrect things, you will move farther from Déa.
This is generally all well and good for neurotypical people. But what of people who lack the ability to have the degree of control over their thoughts to prevent the incorrect thought patterns from emerging persistently, be it via immaturity (i.e. children), via a medical condition (i.e. dementia), or some other reason that can not be resolved at the time of the incorrect thought (i.e. distressful situations). I suppose the child could be taught and trained in mental discipline, this perhaps removes them from the list of persons unable to control their thoughts.
But what of persons like myself who suffer from an illness that impairs their ability to control their thoughts on a regular basis. With great willpower, we attempt to control our thoughts so that the undesired ones do not occur but it is not possible to eradicate them or mitigate the frequency of them. No matter what I do, what medication I am on, or how formidable my will might be, I can not help the anger and harshness that comes when I am in a mixed episode nor can I help the thoughts of suicide in a depressive episode. My brain just isn’t wired right, it’s got the wrong amounts of neurochemicals despite the best treatment.
I have given this a lot of thought while I have been in a range of mental states over the last few years. I’ve cycled through all of my mood states and this question of how does Déa regard my inability to control my mind keeps coming up. If we accept the premise that Déa is a merciful Mother and understands our failings, I think we must also accept the idea that Déa extends forgiveness to us when we can not meet a standard that is set. I think that we must accept the idea that Déa views us in our impaired state and sees that we are trying our best.
Thus, through Déa’s grace, even though we may struggle to think the correct thoughts, when we fail because we are unable to do otherwise, we are not moving farther from Déa. The thoughts we have when we are impaired or injured do not disfigure the soul, do harm to the subtle body that is referenced in this teaching of Our Lady, or prove something that makes us fundamentally repellant on all levels. I think that Déa sees my struggle and allows grace and mercy as long as I try my best.
Your thoughts, friends?
ETA: typo corrections because I haven’t had enough coffee yet today. LOL