“When we die God will ask to see our scars.”
This adage hung in my mind everyday of trailwork. I cherished the tally marks left on my arms by broken branches. Bruises and blisters had their own satisfaction. The satisfaction of a body well used. A life well used.
This is all the more true of our emotional scars. It’s just not as gratifying or glorious. They hurt more and don’t leave you looking cool. Or maybe we don’t let them heal as well as the body.
In the frequency of cuts and bruises I lose sight of how amazing it is that the body heals. Nothing else in the universe puts itself back together: as Yeats said- things fall apart. But for the little pieces of the universe that live: things come back together too. This is a very peculiar tendency.
There are so many different trains of thought to get on here. We could take the science line to talk about emergence versus entropy. We could get on the teleological line and imagine what this tendency is aimed at. The theology train asks whether this implies a creator and what type of creator that would be….
But I’ll restrain myself and stay right here with the simple fact that there is a force in nature that heals.
I don’t want to go into theory, because I’m more curious about its practical importance. If the body tends to heal, what about the mind?
The mind follows many of the same patterns as the body. It can deal with mental scratches and bruises. More severe traumas may require the bone to be set or some psychological stitches.
The main difference between the mind and the body is that we don’t know how to let the mind heal. Instead of giving these wounds a clean bandage we pick at them. I know that’s a nasty image, but seriously: when we fret and worry, when we dwell in guilt or shame… doesn’t the analogy hold?
This is why meditation works. I don’t think it’s magic. It’s not the gift of some Buddha, Krishna, Jesus ghost who is happy to see you quiet. I think meditation is like rinsing with water. Then the mind can do what it does naturally. Heal.
It doesn’t have to be meditation or prayer; a conversation with a good friend can have the same effect. Just like those moments when our attention turns to something larger than ourselves. Whether it is the beauty of nature or worship of the divine, these moments act like as Neosporin. (dare I make theology jokes: Theosporin…. groan)
The mind is mysterious, I believe it is the greatest unexplored frontier. But I think it is time we stop acting like mysterious implies we know nothing about it.
It would be absurd to walk around with a broken femur. Yet given the stats on trauma and abuse, so many people must be doing just that mentally. The truly amazing thing is that we are as sane as we manage to be. Which attests to that force of healing.
I urge helping that force and plan to work towards this healing, because I am deeply curious what it would do with a world of healthy minds.