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 mind properly.

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.

Humpty Dumpty


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 afflicted ones.

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 fashion.

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.”

Sarah Miles book

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 appeared.

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 on-site dairy.


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 treatment dignified.

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 Sanatorium.
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.


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.

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