15 February 2009

The journey to health, begins with your mind.

Ruth Gledhill, writing on her blog, speaks of the need "to face up to the inevitable and split my blog and personal Twitter accounts" and I see where she might be coming from. In writing my own blog, and indeed my twitters, too, I have decided that they remain very much 'public' in so much as they are who I am. Of course, I moderate myself, as you might expect. This raises an interesting point, considering Ruth's extensive quote of the Dalai Lama, which I also quote here:

'For a start, it is possible to divide every kind of happiness and suffering into two main categories: mental and physical. Of the two, it is the mind that exerts the greatest influence on most of us. Unless we are either gravely ill or deprived of basic necessities, our physical condition plays a secondary role in life. If the body is content, we virtually ignore it. The mind, however, registers every event, no matter how small. Hence we should devote our most serious efforts to bringing about mental peace.

'From my own limited experience I have found that the greatest degree of inner tranquility comes from the development of love and compassion.

'The more we care for the happiness of others, the greater our own sense of well-being becomes. Cultivating a close, warm-hearted feeling for others automatically puts the mind at ease. This helps remove whatever fears or insecurities we may have and gives us the strength to cope with any obstacles we encounter. It is the ultimate source of success in life.

'As long as we live in this world we are bound to encounter problems. If, at such times, we lose hope and become discouraged, we diminish our ability to face difficulties. If, on the other hand, we remember that it is not just ourselves but every one who has to undergo suffering, this more realistic perspective will increase our determination and capacity to overcome troubles. Indeed, with this attitude, each new obstacle can be seen as yet another valuable opportunity to improve our mind!

'Thus we can strive gradually to become more compassionate, that is we can develop both genuine sympathy for others' suffering and the will to help remove their pain. As a result, our own serenity and inner strength will increase.'

Surely, if we encourage some 'split' between the private and the personal, then we encourage, or at least risk, a sort of schizophrenic approach to our lives. That we can do and say and be one thing to most people and yet something very different to those closest to us. The difference can be such that we end up bearing little similarity between the two, or fail to realise the huge impact one on the other. For example, we might publicly condemn extra-marital sex and be engaged in such an affair ourselves. If others look to us as an example, then we must ensure that the private is as close as possible to the public. Or, indeed, that the public reflect the private.

Our life in Christ is, after all, a very open relationship with our Saviour. Clearly, we want to keep some aspects of our life private. Is it really necessary that another person need know all in my life that I am ashamed of? Well, no, it is not. But if that shame impacts on how I treat others, or infringes on my ability to love the other completely, then yes, others do need to know of it (even if not the details) in order that the light of Christ shines forth.

I offer up a prayer, that all may know the peace of Christ in their life, and may have the strength and courage to believe them self a child of God, wholly wonderful in all aspects of their life.


  1. Hi Paul yes I did ponder long before doing this, I am not really splitting myself totally as there will be plenty of links from one to the other. I'm later going to set up two more Tweet sites, it is the only way. In my personal life I am a)a guitar player b)website designer esp of husband's music website http://www.alanfranks.com. c)Pokemon trainer. In my Times life I am a prolific news and blog writer. My personal friends, eg other Pokemon trainers, or simply other mums at the school gate, would be overwhelmed by all the tweets from a blog and news source in which they have minimal interest. It is not that I want to keep my private side set apart or secret, not at all, I don't really think that is possible. I just don't want to be too 'in your face' with friends, contacts or readers with either side. People interested in faith issues, for example, might get rather irritated if they are overwhelmed with tweets on how my Ranger Almia Manaphy is now at level 21 but still not properly EV trained because those annoying Haunters give so few points.

  2. This is a wonderful article with much to contemplate. Thomas Merton has written a lot about the dangers of compartmentalizing our life vs. integrating it as a whole in Christ. This article brought to mind some of the lessons he presents. Very valuable lesson here.

  3. Ruth, I take your point wholeheartedly. Thank you for your comments. They are helpful for me in determining just what I do and do not blog about. I guess we are all seeking an holistic presentation of our lives, yet mindful not to overwhem those with minimal interest in some aspects. I hope you manage some improvement in your EV. Fascinating!



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