“The mind is its own place and in itself, can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.” ~John Milton
Procrastinating as long as possible, I reluctantly endured the annual wellness exam required by my employer for a lower insurance premium. As I expected, my weight was slightly elevated as was my blood pressure, but to my surprise I escaped pretty much unscathed, especially since I successfully evaded the less than desirable manual prostate exam by choosing instead a related blood test. In the end, the physician declared me healthy, if not slightly out-of-shape. I understand and appreciate the requirement to physically check-in at least once-a-year, and came away with heightened motivation to lose weight, exercise more, and generally improve the state of this body I’m strapped with for the duration. As a wise sage once said, old age is not for sissies.
While regular attention should be given to our physical well-being, much of life is lived in the mind. Yes, there is the doing of things, daily routine carried forth often with barely an awareness of the individual acts that collectively form the day. Much like when asked “How was your day?” We aren’t really wanting a recitation of moments and feelings, simply a label, more often than not, a benign “good.” Life largely consists of the considering, weighing, planning, deciding, reflecting, grieving, rejoicing that is imperceptible to even the closest to us. This quiet living occurs in our hidden place, the spot no one sees but only learns of second-hand. For that reason, this sacred space deserves and demands our highest cultivation. I have no problem with those who warn against “garbage in, garbage out.” But my greater concern is that we return to feeding our minds with strong nourishment and sanctified inspiration. Memorization is one such food of substance all but ignored by the vast majority. Quiet contemplation, sacred listening, expansive reading—these too foster a better living in the mind. Lest someone label these sentiments as New Age hooey-gooey, hear well and heed the sage advice of the Apostle: “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”(Philippians 4:8 KJV)