Vital Ways to Heal Your Mind
Notes on the Sunday address by Dr Francis Macnab, 6 December 2015.
By John Abbate.
“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”
—Ecclesiastes 3 (KJV)
There are times in life when we fall apart, and other times when things come into focus for us. For every time of trauma there is a time of healing. Dr Macnab spoke of the New Testament tale of The Good Samaritan, which begins with a man who undergoes five traumas: he is attacked, beaten, stripped, robbed and left for dead by the side of the road. The Good Samaritan tells of “the shocking traumas that human beings inflict on other human beings,” but it also teaches of the caring of strangers, of a time for pain and a time for healing.
Travelling by fives, Dr Macnab explores the ways, the means and methods, of the healing and un-healing of the mind. “Today…I speak in that awareness that as we heal the mind, the mind might speak to the body, and there will be healing both ways,” he said.
Dr Macnab first lists five ways in which we might unnecessarily prolong our pain and remain unhealed.
Five ways to remain unhealed
- Repeating, regurgitating the past; reliving painful memories (generally picking at the wound)
- Believing that nobody cares anyway (the self-pitying slump)
- Resigning to being permanently damaged (denying the possibility of healing)
- Blaming (others or ourselves – focusing on blame)
- Refusing to recognise that a new life is waiting for us, free of self-sabotaging, negative emotions.
Each of these unhelpful habits of thought must be challenged. What are the positive ways to heal the mind, to settle the unquiet mind?
Five vital ways of healing the mind
- Sustaining a balanced view of things; keeping an eye on the positive
- Containing restless , destructive emotions
- Developing strong, supportive environments and relationships
- Developing the behaviours of healed minds
- Embracing a caring philosophy of life.
Five things we need for healing
- A good, helpful presence
- Some soothing for our unquiet minds; self-soothing and the soothing of others
- Some influence, from without or from within, that gives strength and inspiration to get back up on our feet
- A safe place, with genuinely supportive people and influences
- A belief in a better future; that essential “fantasy of the future,” as Dr Macnab calls it.
“Whenever we speak of healing of the mind, restoring the self, strengthening our inner resources,” said Dr Macnab, “we are embracing that existential insight that says: There is a time for hurting, and there is a time for healing. There is a time for weeping, and there is a time for us to be consoled. There is a time for great noise, and there is a time for quietness and silence. There is a time to sit still, and there is a time to stand strong.”