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Monday, August 25, 2014

A Battle With the Mind

I'm going to go out on a limb here, so this may get messy.
Over the last few months, I've been working through the ramifications that one of my children has ADHD.  Right now, he's in his room fighting some kind of battle with aliens that will go on for hours.
His little mind races from thought to thought and image to image.  He's a good lad, but most of the values of today's schools don't include his.  Like his father, he's in for a long road of exile.
Many a night I have been unable to sleep because my head would not shut off.
I was always told that there had to be some deep, Freudian explanation for all those thoughts.  I searched high and low.  Never found it in most cases.  Yes, there were times when I knew EXACTLY why I was freaking out at 3am.  There were other times when I knew something was up, and eventually I learned the skill of soul-hunting.  The underlying cause would be brought out and addressed.
But, most of the time, it was just my head doing its thing.
No amount of inventorying or soul-searching or even cheap bourbon could triumph over the mind that simply won't stop.
What makes it worse is that not only is it many times unpleasant and counter-productive, but it has been popularly demonized.  Our recent flirtations with pop-Zen-Buddhism and the romantic notion of 'no mind' has made those of us that have race-car-engine imaginations feel like Cave Trolls.
I'm tired of it.  I am tired of people telling me that something is wrong with me... or my son. 
I can't fix him or me by 'trying harder' or saying more Jesus Prayers.  As a monk, I would fail.  If you want to call me a failed Christian because I can't stop my head from flitting from thought to thought (even though I desperately want it to stop), then go ahead.  I've been called worse.
No, my house isn't shaking with loud music.  In fact, I don't listen to much music at all.  It is too hard at times.  Most of the time, it is dead silent other than the sound of power tools.
What I have learned to do is not kick myself so hard for being distracted.  It is going to happen.  What I have also learned is that real peace lies beneath the thoughts and the distractions of the 'busy mind.'
I am never going to be able to master the Philokalia's demands that I roll my thoughts up into a ball and insert them into my heart.  My 'hands' aren't big enough, and I will just make more anyhow.  I will never know silence until it is given to me, because there is no natural way for me to stop my head.
It's over... I am done trying.  I pray amid the chaos, and I can only trust that far below is the stillness and tranquility that I have only had momentary glimpses of.  Though I want nothing more than that blessed silence, it is just one more thing that is outside of my grasp in this life.
So, I will continue to leave around a thousand half-done projects.  I will miss appointments or be late because I can't remember half the time where I am or what comes next (I am also dyslexic with numbers, and so dates and times befuddle me).  With all my best efforts, I will still disappoint those with high expectations, or even moderate expectations.
I will not feel bad anymore for being a failure.  It is my Cross, which means that it is also my gift.

1 comment:

  1. Blessings to you Father. You're right - it'll be OK.