In My Heart, In My Soul, and In My Mind

Burning the midnight oil trying to express some of my most personal thoughts on a typical late night writing session.

As promised, my explorations and rummaging through the accumulated items surrounding my writing space have prompted me to consider a few additional important topics suggested by the review, and this week I veered off the beaten path a bit to elaborate on the process. 

In a very important way, the items which surround me suggest the existence of a foundational source—rendering a rationale—for nearly everything I have saved and held onto. While there certainly are a few quirky items that may not fit neatly into the specific task of reviewing them in particular, in the broad scope of the project, the answers may be understood a bit better. 

It will require a degree of patience and fortitude on my part to sew all the fabrics together ultimately, but I have spent a lifetime working towards a greater understanding of my own experiences, and the benefits I might gain from all of this may actually be useful to others in some way, so it feels right to persist in the effort.

Some of the objects around me still have some useful purpose, but stacks of books and papers accumulate quickly these days.

This initial offering takes into account some of my deliberations after the fact, as well as reflections on what was transpiring within me at the very moment in which the events took place.  There is much work to be done to arrive at a time and place where I will be able to release the hold I have on many of the souvenirs and memory prompts clogging up the room where I work, as well as those in some of the storage solutions that became necessary when the volume reached a level that was quickly becoming less manageable as objects on display.

I am earnestly and methodically making every effort to trim away the objects which are redundant or obviously no longer useful, as well as those which have already been sufficiently documented along the way to make retention no longer necessary. It is still challenging to abandon even these objects at times, but considering the enormity of the task, every little bit that I can trim brings me that much closer to my goal.

Photos of family vacations are especially precious now; these are from July 1962 when my youngest sister was only one year old.

For example, scanning and rendering old photos with modern digital programs eventually makes retaining the originals unnecessary, but abandoning photo albums filled with these historic images gives me pause, supposing that some computer or hard drive failure might wipe out generations of family history.

Physical objects acquired during epic experiences, while not specifically evocative of those experiences for the casual observer, are nonetheless evocative for me personally, in spite of having no particular intrinsic value themselves. The solution here seems to be to photograph them and to describe the event within which they were acquired well enough as to explain the story behind them.  Museums retain physical objects from historical events and put them on display in ways that any observer can appreciate, but my artist’s easel received as a gift from my parents at age sixteen, which saw the production of a limited number of artworks, clearly has served its purpose now, not having been used in decades.

It may look useful in these photos, but the wood of this easel is dry and brittle, held together by hope, and probably wouldn’t be safe to use.

Retaining the full range of objects acquired through a lifetime of experiences goes well beyond any reasonable degree of usefulness for anyone except perhaps to satisfy my own interests, unless, I suppose, a museum were to be established in my name.  The power of these objects for me has a value only in explaining the broader scope of the events in my lifetime, as a biographical story.   

The following report erupted spontaneously from within me as I contemplated the stirrings brought to the forefront of consciousness by reviewing the items in my writing space, and it sets the stage for describing what it is about all these things that made retaining them so important.

In My Heart, In My Soul, and In My Mind

In My Heart

In my heart, I feel life.  Ever since I was just a small boy and I finally started having memories, I knew there was something happening in my heart.  It felt strange, and it felt somehow incongruous, although I never could have described it as such as a young child, but that was the feeling.  I remember the feeling well.

Nothing seemed to fit for me.  I found myself often trying to please others.  It was one way to soothe my heart—to be recognized and encouraged and told that I was good.

In My Soul

In my soul, I knew—I knew the extraordinary was within me and awaited me in the world outside of me.  I knew it, but I could never have described it as a young child—never could have articulated it, but I remember it now.  I remember it well.  I remember the feeling inside of me that was not my heart—it was not my emotions; it was not my body; it was my soul, my spirit, my very essence—what is truly, truly, me.  And it seemed to guide me at times, and it seemed to warn me at times; it seemed to extract me from danger, or push me toward risk, in spite of risk. 

I often followed my soul—took the guidance of my soul and pushed forward through risk and danger, and at other times stepped away.  I never could have articulated it then, but I remember it now. I remember it and I know that it is true—my soul—my spirit—was one with the Universe, and the Universe had other plans than those that I tried to make and others tried to insist that I take.

It was always a constant struggle; I would frequently find myself at odds with everything because my soul was pushing me in the opposite direction.  A lifetime of submission—a lifetime of subverting my own soul—took its toll on me, and now, as I near the end, I still haven’t broken free completely.

In My Mind

In my mind, I feel as though I am rational, sensible; I have my wits; I am not delusional or simply mistaken.  I am, however, challenged. 

I read everything I can get my hands on about the brain, and neuroscience, and physiology, and the science—what they call the “Science of Consciousness.”  It’s something we are seeking.  It is not something that exists currently. 

There are parts of the “Science of Consciousness” that they put out and suggest that it describes and explains things, and almost always, in my mind, I say to myself, “Yes, that is a fair explanation of what the brain does,” or “that is a fair explanation of how physiology acts upon behavior, and how we need an intact brain and spinal cord and central nervous system, and bodily carrier of all those things—something that keeps us mobile that feeds it,” but in my mind, it’s not enough.

I spend a lot of time writing, and often I find my mind engaged at particular points and I try to run with it—I try to take full advantage of my brain, and spinal cord, and central nervous system, and my physiology, and everything that I bring to my thoughts and ideas about consciousness, and at no time have I ever lost the thread leading out of that labyrinth to the true source of consciousness.

Even in my mind, I cannot deny that I am intimately connected to the source—a transcendent source—of all things.  Some people want to describe this transcendent connection in some religious connotation—in a religious context, but in my mind I can’t see it; I can see religiosity being a path to the spirit.  You can get there through religion, but religion does not explain it—it simply speaks of it, refers to it—alludes to it. It does not constitute the whole of it.

All the sages, all the prophets, all the religious figures that we adulate, even now in the 21st century—every one of them—inferred a transcendent source.  They called it different things based on the culture from which that mythology sprang, but at the heart of it—at the source—there are no boundaries; there are no borders; there are no “them and us.”  There is only “we”—all of us.

In my mind…

2 thoughts on “In My Heart, In My Soul, and In My Mind

  1. “A transcendent source, in my mind”

    Hmm, what a coincidence, I have just published some thoughts along much the same lines. perhaps it is our advanced age that pushes us along these paths, although like you I have felt the same way and had similar thoughts throughout my life.

    Perhaps it is only now as we approach the end of our lives on earth that thoughts of transcendence become more poignant.

    Connection with the infinite, an increasing sense that all is one and the one is timeless. I am with you, what you write makes perfect sense to me.

    Lovely post John.

    1. Your kind words in this generous response are most welcome. While it is certainly true that I have been searching for opportunities to pursue these paths throughout my life as well, retirement from full-time work has been the very thing that has brought many of my previous efforts into a more intense focus these days. I keep busy with my immediate tasks and attention to the requirements of modern life, but as is the case with your own “gardening of the soul,” it seems I have become more attentive to my connection with the infinite and am spending more time synthesizing decades of efforts in the exploration of my own “inner evolution.”

      I recently acquired several new volumes of the writings of Carl Jung, including his “Liber Novus,” or “Red Book,” as well as the seven volume “Black Books,” which I have wanted to read for years. It was Jung who truly turned the tide of my explorations when I encountered several of his “Collected Works,” in the early 90’s, and discovered his autobiography, “Memories, Dreams, Reflections,” which helped immensely with trying to sort out a way to understand better my own experiences.

      Kindest regards….John H.

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