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‘Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today’s Epidemic Social Problems’
“Why should I give them my mind as well?”
– Dalai Lama, when asked if he wasn’t angry at the Chinese for taking over his country (1935- )
We human entities are composed of many parts. Our physical parts, the body parts we are most familiar with, are but components of a much larger whole.
Most of us understand that our brain might be considered in some way different from the rest of our body parts. It doesn’t function the same way as any other part, it doesn’t receive blood supply the same way (the blood-brain barrier is even a defence against invasion from outside of it), it doesn’t get sick like other body parts and no other body part can tell it what to do if it wants to do otherwise.
We have a component of our persona we call a mind, a part not generally recognized by science because it can’t be measured or tested. Yet our existence as an individual is wrapped entirely in the mind, a fact that cannot be denied because no other body part can take credit for it.
The mind, we usually take for granted, is somewhere in the brain. We reach that conclusion simply because the brain is the least understood physical part of the body, so an even more mysterious non-physical part must be located in this part we know little about.
Whether the soul and the mind are the same thing or separate elements of our being is a moot point since we don’t have any understanding of either.
People exist and carry on fairly normal lives with one half of their brain removed (though this is not common, it’s not rare either). The mind of such people is not diminished in any way, so far as they or anyone else can tell by the absence of half of their brain. If the brain and the mind were one and the same, you might conclude that part of the mind would disappear when part of the brain was removed. It doesn’t.
The mind is who we are. It’s how we perceive our existence. It’s how we know that we exist. It’s the means by which we devise what we believe is the reality around us. I say “what we believe is the reality around us” simply because others do not necessarily agree that the same reality exists, given the same set of circumstances. Our reality is our own and no one else’s.
The Dalai Lama, spiritual leader of one of the three branches of Buddhism, based in Tibet, believes that his body has been imprisoned, in effect, by the Chinese government taking over his land and forcing his followers to abandon many of their religious practices. While he lives in northeastern India when he is not travelling, he believes that his body is not “home” elsewhere than Tibet.
While he has given up part of his person by living in a foreign land to avoid imprisonment or death in the hands of the Chinese, he remains himself, the Dalai Lama. He leads his people and he leads his life as he must.
He said that he will not give up his mind to the Chinese by subjecting himself to anger or hatred toward them. He deals with realities, not with imagined realities that are the product of anger or hatred.
We are who we believe we are. Who we believe we are depends entirely on ourselves, on what our mind believes, not on what others tell us about ourselves.
When we accept or adopt for ourselves what others tell us we are, we become what someone else wants us to be. Sadly that rarely matches the potential for what we could be if we directed our own lives. We are always lesser people for accepting what others say about us as truth about ourselves.
Only one person counts when we evaluate ourselves. That’s us. What we believe of ourselves becomes who we are. It is who we are.
If we believe we are better than the circumstances around us indicate we might be or than our past behaviours suggest we might be, then we can and will reach that greater potential.
It’s more than simply a self-fulfilling prophesy about ourselves. We don’t have to create who we are. We only need to believe who we are and that reality will eventually make its way into the minds of others around us.
If that person we want to be is considerably different from what those around us perceive us to be now, then it will take longer for us to convince them. But it will happen if we continue to play the role we carve out for ourselves. We must be who we believe we are or want to be.
The delay will be for others to catch up, not for us. We can create a new reality for ourselves in as little time as it takes to make a decision.
If we delay it’s because we aren’t certain what we want to be or who we want to be. Sometimes that’s a tough choice because we have become so used to what others believe us to be and tell us that we are.
That can change.
Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today’s Epidemic Social Problems, striving to make it clear that a new life is one decision away.
Learn more about yourself and your potential at http://billallin.com