mind stretching

i’ve been having my mind stretched a lot lately. this is good, because i’d gotten a bit lazy in the depth of my thinking. to really think about something i have to do a lot of mental rooting and ruminating before i’m satisfied. that is good! but it takes time and energy, and it’s sooooooooo much easier to just not think.

so, inadvertent mind-stretchers, i thank you.

sometimes, though, this stretching wanders, through no fault of its own, over some pet idea or turf i’ve claimed for myself, and i wake up from my nap away from thinking, grumpy and mildly outraged at having to examine the situation all over again.

here’s a recent cause of consternation:

you don’t have a soul.  you are a Soul.  you have a body.

                                            — c.s. lewis

now personally i find that beautiful — so beautiful i wrote a poem about it — but i found out yesterday, or the day before, perhaps, that not everyone agrees with it. well, really, i’m glad of that now more than anything, but i was a bit peeved about it yesterday because it made me think. harrumph! gasp! you mean you actually want me to not take something at face value because of the person who wrote it and actually examine the matter for myself? how shocking!

don’t you just love italics? they remind me of how silly i am.

anyway — so i thought. i thought all day, actually, about all kinds of things, including platonic forms, the trivium and quadrivium, the resurrection, world war ii, economics, saint george, lorum ipsum, and the swiss cheese-like state of my knowledge about history past and history present and the world at large … and about the soul and body and the nature of humanness.

i’m mildly surprised my mind didn’t explode from all that, because there’s some fascinating, weighty stuff there. i thought of all kinds of books i need to read  or re-read now, in addition to the ones i already knew i needed to read.

when i don’t understand something, writing helps me keep track of my thoughts all in one place so i actually end up with a resolution of some kind after a while. so here are my rambling thoughts, such as they are, on the lewis quote and the discussion it inspired that made me get to thinking in the first place.

— — —

through a glass darkly

i have trouble containing this

the collision of mind and heart and body,

soul and spirit,

at once indelible and corruptible

the discontinuity of existence between

and beyond life and death

and the everlasting resurrection

in re-creation —

can i possibly understand this

in the present dimness of sight?

is my mind big enough to hold this idea fully formed —

is it strong enough to keep asking questions beyond

my expectations of understanding?

can i know in life

the finer points of how

God in His infinite wisdom

will parse and define me

after death?

is this thing i live in just my house,

or as intrinsic to my existence

as its animating genius?

there is something of earthy realism


— if you prick me, will i not bleed? —

that belies the platonic shadows

of unconscious disinterest

but the disambiguation

of things my own sooted

lamps cannot illumine

remains elusive.

now i’m trying to be profound

to mask my own confundity.

yet, one day, this mystery

will explain itself

when i walk through it

from the lesser darkness

into greater light

and know the Answer

to every question

face to face