A Mind Divided

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A house divided against itself cannot stand.

That is a quote from Abraham Lincoln in 1858. He was using it in the context of the division in the ‘United’ States between slavery and non-slavery states. Ultimately it took a disastrous Civil War to finally unite the Northern and Southern states although there are still some who feel ‘divided’ and unjustly treated even today, over 150 years and 5 generations after Lincoln’s speech.

While Lincoln said it, it was not his original thought, like many great quotes it was first stated in the Bible, Matthew 12:25 and others,” Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.”

I believe however, that the quote also applies very well to each one of us as an individual.

How can that be? How am i, how is anyone of us, a ‘House divided’?

It is an undeniable fact that we all live in our own physical ‘house’ – our human body. What is perhaps less clear, or at least not very well understood by the majority of us, is what that body ‘contains’ within, in terms of our consciousness; the thing that allows us to perform actions with that body as well as to think thoughts and experience our human desires and emotions.

While science has made unprecedented progress in discoveries external to our body and has made good progress in medicine and understanding of the physical human form it has made little to no real progress in helping us understand our internal nature, our consciousness, our mind and that poorly understood term, spirit.

I contend that within our true nature are two opposing ‘sides’, for want of a better word. The physical side that contends with our daily life and experiences (since conception/birth) of the physical environment around and outside of us, and a spiritual side that operates differently to our physical nature, one that is so very easily overlooked and hard to ‘pin down’ for our examination or dissection, unlike our physical side.

As we grow from our childhood into adulthood in our physical nature, gaining from every single life experience in the physical world, so too are we to grow from spiritual childhood into adulthood, by living and gaining from our experiences with the things of Spirit.

The trouble here is we tend to confuse both as being one and the same thing when it should be quite clear that it is nothing of the kind.

We live simultaneously in two ‘minds’ – one dedicated to the physical and one to the spiritual side of our nature. We are a house ‘divided’, subject to two differing and powerful ‘forces’ (attractions). As Lincoln and many others have long known, we do not perform to our full capabilities if we are of two minds, one must take precedent over the other so as to prevent working against our own best interest. As the Union was to be under one government to best serve it’s peoples’ interest, so too we are to be under one ‘government’ to best serve our self interest.

The Bible states ” No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.(material wealth)” Matt 6:24

The truth is most of us feel like we need to follow the attraction (force) that is dedicated to our material world, that this is necessary in order to feed ourselves and our families, to provide shelter, to educate ourselves and to ‘enjoy’ our (physical) life. Since this is the world we spend most of our time having to experience, the tendency to give it our highest priority is a quite natural and understandable one.

However, this largely ignores, and in some cases directly opposes, our spiritual natures, what some call our ‘highest’ ideals; we compromise ourselves out of expediency or physical ‘necessity’.

It does not have to be this way though, indeed – i feel it should not be that way!

The alternative is to find ways to follow the attraction (force) of Spirit in our life, to give our spiritual ‘child’ as much nourishment as was given to the physical child we once were. It requires a certain self-discipline, a willingness to even consider that the option exists in the first place and then to be able to overcome the attraction we feel to the physical and all the fixed behaviour patterns in it and to it we have developed since childhood, our materialistic desires and wants and likes; to gain control over our emotional states that oppose our spirit: Anger and rage, envies,greed, lust of physical form, hatred, selfishness, self-pride, etc, etc.

Some achieve this ‘naturally’, through a debasing process where an individual falls down so far and comes to realise how futile their life has become through ignoring their spiritual nature and paying attention only to the physical world and self. That such a life has no longer anything of value to them and they see a new way of being – their spirit reaches out to them once all the appeal of the physical has ‘died’ or is very near to death, to having nothing left of any permanent value to the individual.

Some take a longer route and achieve it through various devices, of a religious or ascetic nature. Whatever the path it is possible for anyone to choose to become more ‘in tune’ to their spiritual nature and to begin practicing living a life where the spiritual ‘mind’ takes control over the physical body.

We can ‘walk’ in Spirit.

But we have to crawl before we can walk, and ultimately run, as our spirit desires.

It is not just my philosophy, but that of many of the world’s greatest minds since humans began to write their thoughts down, that considers our spirit is a part of a greater ‘Whole’: that we can connect to a vastly more complex unity than we ever experience from our own self viewpoint and can learn how to operate in total harmony with that Unity, the Oneness, God.

But it requires us to recognise that the physical and the spiritual are most often working towards different aims, that there is an imbalance inherent in us that we have to learn to overcome, and that we can only do this by accepting the Gift of spirit we all have been given and using it in the manner in which it was intended to be used.

If we choose to ignore the spirit, we do so at our peril, knowing the consequences and taking what benefits we may in the short term.

But the spirit has a longer term objective, one of far greater reach than we can achieve using just our physical body alone, it desires to be re-united into that from which it came, even as it is certain it can never be parted from it for more than a single lifetime.

Once we become aware of this we then have the choice, to live with our physical mind commanding our thought and action, following the physical attraction, or to choose the spiritual mind to lead us and follow that attraction, each one will pull us in one way or the other – only we can choose which one is to have our full attention.

it’s your choice now.

© B Thursfield 2013

 

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