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We don’t even have to think about it

I am not educated in the functions of anatomy. I write here what appears to me as self-evident. I realize that for years people thought it self-evident that the earth was flat, and if one sailed too far he risked going over the edge. So much for what may seem self-evident. So write me off as some kind of a nut; but you may find this something to think about. Sometimes we make things more complex than they are.

My life is expressed through the body that it occupies. I have no idea how my body operates. Nobody really does. If I cut my finger, I don’t worry about it. I am confident it will heal properly. The blood will clot and the surrounding cell structures will grow around and seal the wound. In a short time I will have forgotten all about it.

I cram my belly full of whatever I feel like eating. My stomach will reduce the food into its various nutrients to be sent through my intestines, to be taken into my bloodstream, and delivered as growth and energy to the needful areas of my body. As near as I can tell this is all done by how my brain has been programmed. That’s the organ that controls my body, and my life. It’s where I live. My stomach, intestines or bloodstream cannot do this on their own. They are just tools the brain uses to maintain the body. The brain is our controlling factor. It is connected by nerves to all parts of the body. It’s our master mechanic and helmsman. It controls us beyond our conscious awareness. It has an intelligent function we cannot comprehend.

Although the brain, perhaps I should say our minds, make our life what it is, we are ridiculously careless in how we consciously train or service it.

We should combine the best insights from antiquity and today on how to use our minds. One of the earliest chapters in the Old Testament gives us the Ten Commandments which were inspired by Moses. My point here is only to point out that all 10 of them have one basic thing in common. They all encourage us to avoid dwelling on negative approaches to living. There is also from antiquity a caution to avoid what have been described as the seven deadly sins. They are called that as they are said to cause spiritual death. They deal with negativity, but also with self-obsession. You can find them under deadly sins in the dictionary.

Our brain’s basic task is to maintain the proper functioning of our body. Does our dwelling on confusing contradictions, self-serving hatreds and other antisocial behaviors affect its efficiency? Wouldn’t it seem that a healthy body requires a healthy mind? Are many of us ignorantly careless with the way we allow ourselves to think?

Modern science has told us many times that one’s mental attitude has a greater influence on our health and organs than we dare suspect. Do some of us believe that there are no true laws of life, no principles, and nothing really matters? Take what you can, while you can, for tomorrow may never come. Perhaps with such an attitude tomorrow never will come. … Will we reap what we sow?

A psychiatrist, G.B. Chisholm wrote; “The only real threat to man … is man himself … the difficulty man has with himself is that he cannot use his highly developed intellect effectively because of his neurotic fears, his prejudices, his fanaticisms, his unreasoning hates, and equally unreasoning devotions; in fact his failure to reach emotional maturity, or mental health.”

That sounds like quite a challenge doesn’t it. It may be worth noting that our progress to date has come from those dealing realistically with our world as it truly is. Our troubles seem to come from self-obsessed or fearfully negative people with an ax to grind. Now, at this treacherous time, if we can respond with reason and reality in a mature way, we just might make it to another renaissance, and all live happily, well beyond 100. May God bless America.

Richard Westlund is a Collins resident. Send comments to editorial@observertoday.com

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