15 December 2021
Healing Broken Minds
From our previous two essays on Mind, the reader should
have gotten the idea that current medical and psychiatric pictures of
the human mind are woefully lacking. In the absence of a Bigger
Picture, they turn to equate the mind with the brain seeking to
materialize it. Thus, it makes sense to physicians to address mental
ills with drugs and other material means.
But, mind like soul and spirit is an ethereal, non-material thing. So,
we definitely need other means to approach, understand, and treat the
We Can Do Better.
We have begun to seek clearer understanding with It’s All in Your Mind and with Pieces of Mind – Lost and Found.
Following this relatively simple and direct approach, we want to
outline means which can bring real aid to our fellows who suffer from
disjointed and tattered, frayed and fractured minds. These descriptions
are pictorial as well as factual from an inner energetic view.
The 21st century has provided us with goods, comforts and technology
that kings of a few generations past could not dare to imagine. At the
same time despite Einsteinian physics, medical scientists persist in
looking at mind and mental health with narrow materialistic eyes.
Physicians freely admit that the causes of most “brain diseases” aka
mental illnesses are almost completely unknown after decades of time
and many billions – maybe trillions – of dollars in research.
Schizophrenia and depression, epilepsy and dementia along with a wide
range of other ills of the mind are much less understood than bodily
diseases like heart ailments, circulatory disorders and cancer. At the
same time, many physical ills themselves are neither well understood
nor well treated.
Moving beyond shortcomings to possibilities.
We have already proposed a simple, global, holistic way to look at body, mind and soul.
• That is the Body is in the Mind, rather than the reverse.
• The former fits normally in comfort into the latter – like hand in glove.
• Both Body and Mind reside within the subtlest state of Soul.
• Every thing that occurs in the body is due to Soul-Mind activity.
• Bodily and mental illness result ultimately from disturbances at subtle levels.
Generally speaking, major mental ills occur after single or repeated
episodes in which fear, shock, and similar forces shake and rattle the
integrity of the mind. Less dramatic but prolonged stress in weakened
beings can cause the elderly and more sensitive humans to LOSE their
minds, to greater or lesser degree.
We should emphasize that FEAR is almost as potent a Force as LOVE. FEAR
can be so powerful as to cause a human to be “scared to death”: to
break the subtlest of contacts between Soul-Mind and Body. Short of
Death, all manner of mental and physical ills can follow on humans
being traumatized. Anger, guilt and other negative emotions can also do
great damage to human beings in the course of time.
To truly heal Body and Life functions, the powers of Soul and Mind must
be tapped, stimulated, quickened. Let us suggest different healing
means which can be brought to bear for the mentally ill.
But before we do, remember how –
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men
Couldn’t put Humpty together again.
Orthodox medicine has been much like the king’s entourage in the old poem. We surely can do better.
Over the centuries, remedies for dementia – meaning loss of mind – have
covered a wide spectrum. Too often they have been versions of
restraint, even imprisonment. Today, it seems we have learned to
restrain with chemicals instead of straitjackets, handcuffs and bars.
Along the way, somewhat more enlightened practitioners have
occasionally tried “shock therapies” for those who were incapacitated
from trauma or fright.
Physicians actually endeavored to restore the mentally disturbed
through attempted drownings or sudden frights, and the like. Sometimes,
such efforts had beneficial results. More often than not they were
fruitless, even though the healers appeared to have some sense of
causation of many mental ills. The results surely depended on the care
and concern of the treating persons as well as the karma of the
Let’s take a breather from our
narrative, and give a hint of how “countershock therapy” can have
effect even in the hands of a layperson in a much less traumatic
The actress Sarah Miles tells in her second memoir Serves Me Right
how her assistant had been suffering for days from hiccups which
nothing was able to relieve. [The cause was not mentioned, but may well
have been a fright or shock.] So: “As I watched poor old Frannie
standing there at the window, hiccuping away with her back to me, I
suddenly had a brainwave. I crept over to her and, with phenomenal
dexterity, slid my hands up her skirt and pulled her knickers right
down to the floor. The look of shock on her face was perfect. What an
unforgettable matinée that turned out for the pair of us, for it was
the day her hiccups left her completely, apparently never to return.”
In the modern era during the past century, “shock” therapies took on
much more powerful methods. Those who have experienced them or even
seen them administered can be pleased that they have largely passed
into history. We refer to what amounted to traumatic even violent
experiments intended to jolt human brain-minds into sanity. Prominent
among them were insulin coma and electroshock therapies.
Insulin coma was a form of treatment in which patients were repeatedly
injected with large doses of insulin in order to produce comas over
weeks of time. Electroshocks produced generalized seizures by passing a
direct current through the brain, from milliseconds to a few seconds.
These procedures appeared to benefit a percentage of patients who
underwent them. But, they fell into disuse because of their own
frightening nature at the same time that powerful psychoactive drugs
An even more horrendous treatment known as lobotomy had a thankfully
brief vogue. Even cruder than insulin or electroshock, lobotomy was a
procedure in which nerve pathways were severed in areas of the brain
thought to be the cause of mental disorders. The surgeons appear to
have selected their operative sites with little “scientific” detail
when making their incisions into brain substance. Rosemary Kennedy was
one such person subjected to this barbaric operation. Prior to
operation she was intellectually disabled and experienced seizures.
After surgery at age 23, Rosemary’s mental capacity regressed to that
of a two-year-old, she could no longer walk nor speak intelligibly. She
was housed in an institution for the rest of her long life.
Back to sane and sympathetic human treatment for mental ills.
There have been a few imaginative systems of psychiatric treatment. Let
us mention one which has sadly disappeared after producing 50 years of
simple yet wonderful results. We refer to the work done for decades at
the Still-Hildreth Sanatorium in Macon, Missouri. That institution was
founded upon the genius of the original osteopath Andrew Taylor Still
and guided by two of his sons, Charles and Harry, and one of his
students, Arthur Hildreth. The Still-Hildreth Sanatorium had impressive
successes with the depressed, demented and psychotic long before
psychoactive drugs became widely used.
The regime at the Still-Hildreth Sanatorium was drugless for most of
its years from 1914 to 1968. While also functioning as a local
hospital, the Sanatorium consisted in the grounds of 270 acres with a
main building, an annex, a gymnasium, a pool, a large sun parlor, a
library, a music room, 2 lakes, a boathouse, tennis courts, stables, an
archery range, vegetable gardens, an orchard, a greenhouse, and an
The mission of the Sanatorium was to cure patients of psychiatric
disorders, whereas many contemporary and present-day institutions for
the mentally ill focus on combatting symptoms with pharmaceuticals and
restraints. The atmosphere of the institution promoted cleanliness,
courtesy, respect, rest, good food, exercise, group activities, and
socialization. The surroundings were cheerful and homelike, the
Activity, nature, care, and touch via OMT – Osteopathic Manipulative
Treatment –were provided in a supportive and inexpensive environment.
Patients received OMT at least 3 times a week, and it was described as
the “basis of the cure of the patients.” CURE
was the aim of care and treatment at the Still-Hildreth Sanatorium. The
Sanatorium method was able to return up to 70 percent of patients to
full lives in a matter of weeks.
In a later generation, other therapies and psychoactive drugs were
introduced into the regimes of patients of some of the attending
physicians. Those doctors chose medications over the personal touch of
OMT. That change may well have been the beginning of the end for the
Osteopathic and orthodox approaches to medicine and psychiatry have
been two different horses. Orthodox – allopathic medicine has long
relied on pharmaceuticals to “combat” illness and disease. In the
modern era, the advent of powerful drugs in the likes of Thorazine
appeared to Do Battle with
all manner of mental disorders. They and their descendants do produce
profound mental changes. But, inevitably they are sure to include
wide-ranging side and ill effects.
We are reminded of a close friend who was prescribed and used a swath
of drugs for mental distress for years. And probably still does.
Decades ago, she was taking hundreds of dollars a month of psychoactive
drugs to combat her ills. By phone, she once remarked, “I feel good.
But, I can’t balance my checkbook.”
There are better, simpler, and less expensive, dramatic and dangerous
means to approach mental disorders – and even to heal them, as were
used at the Still-Hildreth Sanatorium. Rather than combat symptoms,
they quite naturally tend to repair tattered minds, to restore lost
functions, to heal broken psyches – a manner similar to how nature does
quite invisibly and gently over time with broken bones. With such bone
breaks, we give Nature time and space while supporting Her work of
restoration. Why can’t we act similarly with fractured minds?
Paradoxically, medical practice to this day relies on Nature to be the
Healer of Last Resort. But, shouldn’t Nature, which is the Handmaiden
of God and the Real Healer, be called upon first, last and always. The
greatest of human healers have always consulted and bowed to Nature in
their attempts to bring forth health and healing.
MEANS TO HEALING SERIOUS MENTAL ILLS
The means we suggest are simple and gentle, and support Nature’s own
continuous efforts to restore and revitalize human minds and bodies.
Let’s be ever reminded to invite Nature into the equation like
osteopaths in Missouri did generations ago.
The following practices can be readily undertaken by most anyone to aid
the demented, disturbed and distracted. They are not specific,
“scientific” one-on-one treatments. But, they can join forces with each
other to heal all manner of ills – including mental ones which are our
particular focus. They can also help make healthy ones healthier.
Please remember: Those with sick minds often do not respond to reason.
Words often don’t get through to them. That is why the means outlined
require little or no talking. While gentle, supportive words can be
helpful, these wordless methods go beyond the conscious mind.
Would-be helpers, healers and healees should focus on ––
Inactivity can lead to or add to problems and even to disability in all
of us. “Use it or lose it” is an aphorism worth considering. Once a
person is immobilized it is often very hard to get him/her going again.
Likewise, mentally distracted and disturbed people need to move their
bodies regularly and frequently. Their minds will be carried along with
them and the activity will be stimulating and can be liberating. As
with all of our suggestions, gentle guiding hands to share if not lead
the way can be quite health enhancing.
Many of elders and disabled folks find themselves not only with little
activity but little apparent usefulness. If efforts to be more active
can be charged with purpose and value, all the better. We all like to
imagine that at least some things we do add to the side of goodness and
beauty in the world. Thus, finding ways to promote the sense of being
useful can be life affirming and mentally stabilizing.
Whenever possible, the mentally disturbed should be encouraged to
participate in arts, music, dance and the like. These parts of life
touch into depths of body, mind and soul. They are innately fluid and
can stimulate flows in beings whose streams of life have been blocked,
even broken. Oliver Sacks’s work with patients suffering “the sleeping
sickness” detailed in his book Awakenings gives clues to how the Arts and especially Music can stir the mentally ill into health and action. Sacks’s Musicophilia widens the scope of ills which involvement in music benefits.
Nature itself should be part of any healing process. Now, Nature is
everywhere. But, it is much more freely accessed in the out-of-doors,
in fresh air sunshine, amidst the elements, and surrounded by the
greenery of animate life. The Sun has been known over the ages as not
only our immediate Source of life but also as a focal point of health
and healing. Most everyone has experienced the wonder and magic of the
Natural World. Nature in its greenery and grandeur is ever waiting to
share more of its abundant life for the betterment of humans and all
sentient beings upon the planet. So, let’s get those with mental ills
into the flow of Nature as much as reasonable.
We all certainly have the potential to heal ourselves – and the healing
force must work out its will within the individual’s form. But, in
serious illness – whether appearing as physical or as mental, aid
beyond the affected one is needed in most cases. Illness in some sense
is a loud call for help from others. Unfortunately with the
civilization and specialization of modern life, we have often lost
community involvement in some of the most important areas of life. “It
takes a village,” to do many things. Healing should be on the list.
Family and community care can have huge impact for those with mental
illness. Indigenous cultures around the world know how important this
factor can be to sick and injured.
Contact and Touch:
Personal contact and especially touch is also lacking in modern life.
Even in medical situations, so much is protected and distanced,
sanitized and sterilized. How often do the elderly and ailing make
appointments to see professionals just because they need someone to
talk to, to listen to their woes, and maybe even to touch them? The
mentally disturbed also fit the bill in needing to be touched.
Re-education of the whole of western society is necessary to promote
contact similar to that naturally given to animals and shared
instinctively by mothers to little ones. Simple fact: subtle forces
pass between humans through personal contact and especially the touch
of a hand. Vital, healing forces directed through touch have long been
known – from Biblical times and before – to pass from those in health
to those in need.
Like Nature, the world of Spirit is all around – and even within us.
“The Kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17) There are angels and
spirits waiting upon us constantly, however unnoticed. They can come in
force to our particular aid when invited at the darkest moments of
despair and distraction. Then, there is an even greater Power which can
be attracted through communal effort, “Wherever two or more are
gathered in my name …” (Matthew 18)
Lastly, all of these means should be harmonized to stimulate those in
need toward wholeness. Harmony itself, as in a musical selection, can
bring beauty and joy to one and all. Helpers ought to promote security,
flow and balance of the whole life for the ill. As they do, they will
find their own lives becoming more harmonious and happy. We ought to
remember: Healing others is really healing self.
It may seem impossible to blend all of these means in seeking to aid
the mentally challenged. But, helpers can start by taking them on one
at a time. When they do so with sympathy, compassion, and love, the
results may be magical.
Comments always welcome at
theportableschool at gmail dot com.