November 21st, 2008

Generic Meditation Issues: Spirit, Mind, Body

Body, I sort of understand; at least I've heard plenty of opinions and so-called facts about it.  Mind, I believe in, I will not be convinced that neural farts and firings produce thought, at least not all thought.  Spirit, gives me trouble, I live in a very secular age and I am a product and producer of that age.  But I want to believe that spirit exists and until proven otherwise that the real reality is the realm of spirit.  From a "spiritual" point of view it is believed that Spirit produces Mind which produces body.  If Jesus alone is the "word of God; the rest of us, at least are "thoughts of God."  Actually we are "words" of God also if we believe the ancient legends God "said let us make man in our image."

There is no doubt that our minds affect our bodies and vice versa.  Spirit, we must believe, created both mind and body.  Does it continue to influence them?  Do body and mind influence that part of spirit which is "the image of God" within us?  These questions come to me, in part, because I recently changed anti-depressants.

Unwanted thoughts, offensive behavior, and feelings of despair for a meaningless existence were major components of my life prior to antidepressants.  I don't know whether I am or was clinically depressed, but without antidepressants wicked thoughts and wicked behaviors were too frequent and with antidepressants they are nonexistent.  Early this summer, I went off serataline (zoloft) and on Wellbruten which didn't seem to work as well so I switched back.  My mind went into the toilet and it seemed to take my spirit with it.  In just the last day or so, the zoloft has started working again and I'm starting to feel like a person with some energy and some hope.

Some saints and geniuses seem to disregard the body and its needs altogether.  I have a picture of Mother Teresa of Calcutta's feet after 50 years of walking barefoot or in sandals through the slums of Calcutta and elsewhere.  They have to be seen to be appreciated; they look nothing like human feet.  Some mystics are supposed to have survived on communion wafers, Einstein looked like he never brushed his hair, and Edison once said that the only purpose for his body was to transport his brain from one spot to another.

Yet my little pills seem to decide for me whether life is bearable or unbearable!  They shouldn't matter, but they do: I probably will never go off Zoloft again.  The body--mind--spirit connection is problematic in other ways as well.  It is my body that acts or refuses to act (Brother ass!), that sleeps or doesn't sleep, that follows habits or breaks them.  My mind told me to quit smoking 40 years ago, then about 15 years ago, my mouth and fingers simply stopped smoking--I have no other way to explain it.  Unfortunately, my body's choices are not usually so healthy.

"The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak."  Yes , the flesh is weak; but the spirit is willing.  Now, how do I know the spirit's will, and how do I tap into it.  All traditions (except maybe the Protestants) say that knowing the will of God (Allah, Brahman, Tao, the pure light of the void, Ahura Mazda, etc.) and tapping into its/her/his spirit is a function of meditation.  OK, lets get with it!