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meaning | ˈmēni ng |
noun
what is meant by a word, text, concept, or action
adjective
intended to communicate something that is not directly expressed

meaningful
| ˈmēni ng fəl |
adjective
having meaning
• having a serious, important, or useful quality or purpose


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Caregivers, Healing and Traumatic Brain Injury

Question
My husband and I have been married for 35 years and have two sons. Almost 10 years ago my youngest son who was attending his 5th and final year of university for computer sciences was hit by a car. We lived in a motel room for a year to be by his side while he was in a coma and slowly was able to be brought home. Our son has severe brain damage but is aware of who he was and how close he was to reaching his dreams that he had worked so hard for. The lawyer we hired ended up leaving our son so short of money that we cannot afford for him to be placed in residential care where we know he would flourish with peers and activities.

We live in rural Canada and there are no services for our son. He requires 24/7 care and this has taken a huge toll on us... and all those who love him. My son is lonely and unable to even watch t.v. or amuse himself for a minute... he requires one on one care day-in and day-out. It is beyond heart breaking to look into the very eyes of your child and miss him as you do. Our greatest fear is what will happen to our son when we are no longer here to watch over him.


We have been banging our heads against walls trying to find help, and each time the bottom line is, you don't have enough money. And now our son's behaviours are so bizarre and socially unacceptable that we can no longer even go out in the community... I have maintained a positive attitude throughout and yet nothing seems to ever be enough. Our oldest son has drifted away, no one visits us because the injured son is all consuming, and we can't even have a conversation without him needing something.


I was wondering if you had any word of advice for us. We feel hope fading, we feel helpless, scared and heart broken. Our lives, all of our lives, have been twisted and there seems to be no end in sight. My dream is to see our son happy and content among peers and have activities; to feel he belongs and that he counts. I appreciate any input or advice that you might have for us. Thank you.


- Mother of a family in distress for too long

Answer
First of all, let me say how sorry I am to learn of your story. As a father, I understand the hopes, aspirations and unconditional love that we have for our children. To see them suffer and unable to enjoy life is a pain no parent should ever suffer. My heart goes out to you and your family.

I can only imagine how difficult it is for you to maintain hope in your lives with the constant care that your son requires, his apparent lack of progress and the impact it is having on your lives. Thus my counsel to you is twofold, one part for your son and another for yourselves. As caregivers, the healing energy that flows through you is directly correlated with your well being. What this means is that you need to nurture your Body, Spirit and Mind so that you can help your son. And as difficult as that might seem to be for you, it is imperative that you nurture yourself. We all need nurturing, but those that care for others need it the most.

I want to assure you that there is a path of healing for all of us including your son. As an individual, your son consists of a Body, Spirit and Mind that was on a path to becoming complete before this unfortunate accident. In this, try and imagine his growth from birth until the accident in terms of his Body, Spirit and Mind as separate entities. For example, your son was born with no knowledge whatsoever but his Mind began a rapid growth towards becoming more complete up until his accident. In his fifth year at University, your son was at the pinnacle of his mental growth. And then this unfortunate accident occurred and his mental growth plummeted.


As you can see in the chart above, your son's Mind was rapidly growing up until the moment of his accident. With a traumatic brain injury, your son's Mind is unable to grow on its own because his brain is not directly providing him with the usual inputs, information and experiences. It is as if the foundation of his house was suddenly built on sand rather than solid footing. Thus his efforts to continue operating as usual are thwarted because his brain isn't sending him the same signals as before. But that doesn't mean that his Mind is unable to function, he just isn't getting the information he needs to grow.

So too his Body was maintaining health or a slight decline due to aging. I can't tell anything about your son's physical condition from your letter but I surmise he was living a youthful existence:


Whereas we would expect your son's Body and Mind rapidly growing towards becoming complete at this stage in his life, the chart above depicts the opposite occurring as you described. Without the ability to function as before, your son's Body and Mind are not being nurtured as they should. And as much as you try to facilitate this for him, I'm sure you've experienced the difficulties present in doing this for someone who cannot function on their own.

But your son's Spirit is undamaged and unencumbered through the accident. In fact, your Son's Spirit is not only flourishing, but is capable of sending everything your Son needs to heal. The reason for this is because our Spirits are not constrained to our physical Bodies and are connected directly to God. As such, your Son's Spirit has direct access to the healing life force energy of God.

Whereas your Son's Mind and Body may be on the decline, your Son's Spirit is strong and needs the Body and Mind in order to thrive. We are all called to fulfill our purpose by choosing love, uniting Humanity and expanding God's presence in the Universe. Your son is no different in this regard and God wants nothing more than for your son to be a healthy, thriving member of Humanity.

I know it is difficult in these situations to not conceptualize God as a judgmental being that chooses who gets in car accidents and who does not. But God neither chose this for your son nor chose not to intervene. In the limitless lives we experience with God, this is but a moment in the immortal life of your Son's Spirit. Thus this temporary time is but an isolated experience in the total life of your Son. But that doesn't mean that he must spend this lifetime trapped by his injury. Healing is possible.

The key to healing is to communicate to the Spirit that your son is a thriving, contributing member of Humanity in the present moment. Your job is to express to his Spirit that your son requires more, not less, life force energy to achieve his purpose. As you'll see in Inspiration Divine, the Spirit lives in the domain of the future and therefor only aspires for what your son can be. While the Mind lives in the past and the Body in the present moment, the Spirit's focus on the future is what provides the means to channel God's healing life force energy to your son.

The Body communicates to the Spirit through the language of sensation so enlivening the five sensual dimensions is how you'll open up your son's line of communication to his Spirit:
  1. Hearing - speak in the Body's present tense and communicate how your son is a thriving member of the human race. Tell the Spirit what it wants to hear by describing how your son is choosing to love, uniting Humanity and expanding God's presence by creating that which didn't exist before. You know your son better than anyone so imagine what he would be accomplishing if the accident weren't to have happened. Let your prayers be vocal and convey what is going to be but in the present tense.
  2. Smell - awaken your son's sense of smell by incorporating a wide range of smells into this communication experience. From pungent to sweet, employ a dynamic range of aromas to bind your son's experience and trigger distant memories.
  3. Taste - bring your son's sense of taste to the surface by incorporating different flavors. Bring your son's favorite foods into the mix.
  4. Sight - regardless of your son's reaction, expose his eyes to stimulating visuals of the human condition. Before his accident, your son experienced a whole host of visual experiences and you should stimulate his visual senses like you would strengthen a muscle. Variety and intensity (within range, of course).
  5. Touch - You mentioned that your son was studying computer science prior to his accident and I can imagine his fingers touched a keyboard several times a day. Thus one of your son's primary input sensations was through his fingertips. Without expectation of function, provide him with the feel of a keyboard, the experience of typing or any other tactile sensation from his past.
Think of these techniques as therapy. You're slowly opening up the lines of communication between the Body and the Spirit. By flooding the Spirit with input of your son's experiences and communicating his active lifestyle necessitating energy for expansion, your convincing the Spirit to give your son everything that he needs to heal.

And as the Spirit communicates to the Mind, the healing life force energy of the Mind is directly channeled to where your son needs healing the most. By continually bathing your son with God's healing life force energy in this way you'll be awakening what has gone dormant.

I can't tell you that this will bring swift or dramatic results. But what I can tell you is that the healing life force energy of God knows no boundaries and healing is possible for your son. As his caregivers you are also his primary healers. During this time, I highly encourage you to practice your faith and include your son in your religion. As a member of your family, his Spirit needs nurturing and the nurturing of your Spirit will also nurture his Spirit.

I look forward to the complete recovery of your son. God wants your son to be at his best and I hope this provides you with hope for the future.

Namaste,

Darwin Stephenson

Monday, November 2, 2009

Finding Your Path

After this morning's yoga class, I had an engaging conversation with a couple of the other students about energy. One of them has started a zoning practice and she was explaining to me how the work helps her too, because in preparing to rid her clients of negative energy, she first forms an intention to build up lots of positive energy within herself.

I commented that, in general, I would have a tough time with that approach to healthcare as I fundamentally don't believe in the duality of positive and negative energy.

"What?" the other student chimed in. "You don't believe in negative energy?"

You would think I stood up in a church and proclaimed that Jesus Christ never existed (which, for the record, I would never say). "No," I responded. "I don't buy into the whole evil spirit possessing people theory of life in the Universe."

"Oh, well neither do I," she responded. "But how can the energy that causes an injury, for example, not be negative? It surely isn't positive."

"Au contraire," I replied. "You label it as negative and bad because it doesn't bring you pleasure and it hurts. But that doesn't necessarily mean that it is evil."

I could go on describing this dialogue and, in fact, it wasn't as if we were debating each other on the topic. My actual point is not to necessarily convince her (or you) that I'm right and she is wrong. And neither do I aim to change the world's acceptance of this duality. My point is that these are the underpinnings of our belief systems and we should explore them.

From the day you were born, you have lived in a society that expresses to you how things operate in the Universe. Chances are you grew up around largely like minded people and your upbringing brought with it a fair amount of their beliefs. I would challenge anyone that believes otherwise (presumably because they pride themselves in being an independent, free thinker) that they are deluding themselves. The truth of the matter is that we cannot help but be influenced by the beliefs of the community in which we live. This is not to say that we cannot step outside of these belief systems, but they are inherently part of our understanding of life.

Before you get all fired up about the duality of good and evil or how your community is influencing what you believe, consider the concept of truth in a very simplistic level. Without getting too deep, we're simply going to distinguish what is true from what is not true. Philosophy students, settle down. This isn't intended to invoke a model for finding the truth, but rather to open up our Minds to the truth.

On one side, there is the truth. And on the other, there is the absolute furthest point one could get from the truth. Graphically we can represent this as a gradient of color ranging from white to black:


In this example, we'll let white represent the truth and everything that isn't white to represent "not-true." As you can see, there are many representations of not-true and only one representation of true (pure white). However in our lives we live mostly within this grey area and rarely spend any time in absolute truth or absolute not-truth. We may spend a lot of time aspiring to live in the truth but the reality of our everyday lives is far from this.

In this, imagine if you needed a ride to the airport and you had two people to choose from. However, your flight isn't for a couple of hours and both myself and another driver have offered to run you around town for some last minute errands. Lucky for you, because this allows you to preview our driving skills and decide which person you trust to get you to the airport safe and sound.

In this example, you getting to the airport alive and in one piece is represented by white and every other outcome is represented as not-white (with presumably the option where you die in a car accident defined as black).

Your first test drive is with me and I demonstrate fairly normal and reliable driving habits. I drive on the correct side of the road, stop firmly at intersections and I'm extremely polite to other drivers. Heck, I even managed to get you to the store and back without texting on my phone.

And now the "other" driver. In comparison, this driver appears to be crazy. He drives on whatever side of the road suits him, obeys hardly any traffic laws and seems to gauge how fast to drive based on emotion rather than logic. Whereas I calmly offered other drivers the right of way in an intersection, he enters intersections boldly with his horn honking.

It is time for you to leave for your flight. Between here and the airport one of these two drivers will get you to your flight safely. Who do you choose?

Beyond choice ask yourself, "Which driver is the right driver to choose and which one is wrong?"

You've got a long flight ahead and you were looking forward to catching a little nap in the passenger seat in route to the airport. Have you made your choice yet?

Before you make up your mind, let me share one additional piece of information with you about where you're at right now. Instead of your home environment, you're in Bangalore India. Before you make your final choice, watch this video that my good friend Mark Charmer filmed in Chik Ballapur:



Suddenly my driving skills don't seem all that useful. In fact, my following the rules might actually get you killed (especially if we're driving one of those motorcycles). In fact, honking your way through an intersection might be the difference between life and death. Yet, despite the apparent chaos depicted in this video there is also a rhythm to the traffic. Our sense of order is completely displaced but within this culture the rules of the road are quite clear.

And thus we're back to the concept of positive and negative energy. I'm not advocating one belief over another, but instead asking that we peel back the layers of our belief systems to expose that which we never question. Our decisions of right, wrong, happy, sad, fun, horrific, etc. are all based on this fabric of belief that contains both concepts we've thought a lot about and a whole lot of "stuff" that we've never questioned. And because we logically analyze everything according to what we believe to be true, our acceptance of new thoughts is often so heavily influenced by these underpinnings of belief that we decide before we've every really considered.

So before you decide so quickly about such topics as divine, evil, reincarnation, negative energy, pathways to healing or anything else new, consider what logical framework you're operating within. Have you really given the new thought proper consideration or is your determination of truth overly influenced by what you've experienced by way of upbringing, cultural heritage and individual experience?

These are not heavy topics only to be considered by philosophers, theists and stuffy university professors. Your entire framework of how and why you operate in the world the way you do is based on these beliefs. You owe it to yourself to consider them fully before making snap judgments about what is true and what is not.

And, for the record, I wouldn't choose me to drive myself to the airport in Bangalore. I'd call at taxi.