by Sudha Hamilton
Published in WellBeing Magazine
“O, what a world of unseen visions and heard silences, this insubstantial country of the mind! What ineffable essences, these touchless rememberings and unshowable reveries! And the privacy of it all! A secret theatre of speechless monologue and prevenient counsel, an invisible mansion of all moods, musings, and mysteries, an infinite resort of disappointments and discoveries. A whole kingdom where each of us reigns reclusively alone, questioning what we will, commanding what we can. A hidden hermitage where we may study out the troubled book of what we have done and yet may do. An introcosm that is more myself than anything I can find in a mirror. This consciousness that is myself of selves, that is everything, and yet nothing at all- what is it?
And where did it come from?
Exert from Julian Jayne’s book, The Origins of Consciousness In the Break Down of the Bicameral Mind.
This journey of mind we set out upon hopefully fearlessly, but invariably not, is unique to each of us. It has been indelibly influenced by our childhood and the love we did, or did not quite receive in the particular manner that we would have preferred. From the very beginning we start with a sense of our self, a nascent spark that will emerge in time like a sculpture quite unlike any that has ever been before. So defined by our life experiences and in turn our reactions and responses to them, that the twisting formless space that seems to be located behind your eyes might be beautiful art or something else again.
Does the aging process effect our thinking and feeling sense of self and if so how does it?
I once read, that according to a study conducted amongst a cross section of age groups, most people feel in their mind’s eye that they are twenty five years old, irrespective of their actual body age. That whether they be fifty, sixty or seventy years old, inside they see themselves as that bright, shiny twenty five year old. Perception and self image are powerful things, and perhaps we function best when we feel young at heart. It beggars all sorts of questions, like what is wisdom and how does one get it? Is it the stoic acceptance of the vicissitudes of life and the bearing of tragedy with uncommon grace? Is a flexible quality of mind something that we should foster in the hope of a life well lived?