Dementia

These  days; more than ever, I value conversation and communication with others that explores, rather than asserts. I value the question over the conclusion. There is something intimate and expanding in that. Thinking; when it is rigid and mindlessly reflecting dogmatic claims is unappealing  to me. Even claims about how one should practice in a spiritual way are not appealing as such. Buddhism has no shortage of claims to expertise.

In my own search  and experience I have discovered that there is something of my intuitive essence that is aware of deeper truth that somehow, was conventionally  deferred to other , assumed experts. It is  something of a more authentic being  that had been covered over in my learned attentiveness to beliefs, assumptions and deference to others. I support the search for scientific understanding but in the end much of the ;research regarding dementia and Alzheimer’s disease relates to a  more conventional understanding of the self. Coming to a point where I am more clear about dogma and my own experience and the contradictions between them has been a most beneficial arising.

Recently I was involved in a discussion  about the concept of dementia with a group. The discussion was not neccesarally focused on scientific explanations. As a social worker having worked in crisis, mental health for many years I am aware of these. There was some discussion about how it relates to self and/or no self but in the end there seems to be an absence of a sense of what a very Buddhist notion points to; that attachment to the small self and its related beliefs and assumptions have a lot to do with prolonging and perpetuating our suffering.

I cant help but think that the onset of dementia does nothing to alleviate all of  this; in fact it might possibly intensify this experience of suffering.

Awareness of the truth of Self  and how our attachment to the self, influences the thinking process has been very helpful for me in reducing suffering that was once an affliction that was the consequence of my attachments and delusions.

The Story

We seem to habitually look to our words and the story they form for resolution of our difficult experiences. But could it be that the story we create insulates us from that direct experience as do the emotions that arise in that selective speculation.

It seems that it is fundamentally important to be with that experience and to pass through it unfettered by thoughts that might provide superficial and fragmented understanding. Nothing in our words can replace that experience. How can we be sure that our analysis, configurating and differentiating mind and arising related emotions can be creating a complete and authentic grasping of  the whole of that experience.

The Most Beautiful Thing

“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead, a snuffed-out candle. To know that what is impenetrable for us really exists and manifests itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty, whose gross forms alone are intelligible to our poor faculties -this knowing, this feeling … is the core of the true religious sentiment. In this sense, and in this sense alone, I rank myself among profoundly religious men.” Albert Einstein 1879-1955