Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Wick Fisher
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

The mind is the hardest to quiet

Wick's World


December 14, 2017

The mind is not only the hardest, but often the last part of the human anatomy that one can tell to keep quiet. Try to fall asleep after praying the first prayer many of us learn as children, “Now I lay me down to sleep.” I never did figure how this prayer to God was supposed to comfort me, a small insignificant little human being living in a scary, large adult world. The third line of the prayer hints of a death sentence.

“If I should die before I wake,” should frighten the heck out of any tiny tot who has barely begun to live the dream called life. Why would God even bring up the subject of death to one who has lived but a few years on this sinful planet? Most 4-year-olds should assume to have plenty years of playing and even sinning ahead of them without having to end each night worrying what epitaph they want on their tombstone. Life should give enough time to repent. But life is not that way.

When a friend of mine died, his son put it this way, “Nobody told me life was this short.”

A Shaman, my teacher for over 20 years, explained life in the most simple of terms. He said it this way, “The gift of life is the most wonderful and costly thing a human can experience. The price is death.”

He went on to say that his explanation of life in this world applies without exception to every living thing — every human being, each elephant and mouse, Sequoia tree and blade of grass, every goldfish and whale. I bring the subject up, because often I am plagued with some bodily or mental issue that keeps me from getting a safe and restful sleep. Often it is my wounded, aching back that is the culprit. But far and away, the mind is the hardest part of a human being to quiet down. Entire belief systems and religions are based on quieting the mind. Yoga and meditation are two common ones that teach how, or how to try. For me and I assume many others, the lesson we first learn from these practices is this: The mind is a complex body instrument that will not shut up until you accidently fall asleep and enter the dream world.

Last night was a rarity for me. I fell asleep at my computer holding the mouse in my hand. My wife woke me up and as I dragged myself downstairs to the bedroom, she incredulously asked, “Are you going to bed? It’s only seven o’clock?”

I think I had already returned to the dream world before I could answer. I had caught my first cold, not of the season, but of the decade and then some. I hadn’t had a cold since retiring as a postmaster almost 13 years ago. My job required contact with the public on a daily basis. The day of retirement, one of the best days of my life as I like to put it, was almost 13 years ago. Little did I know the bountiful future that lay ahead for me. I didn’t have to live in a hermit cage either just to avoid contact with the public, but I did learn to make money without leaving the comforts of home.

Now I will share another lesson my Shaman taught me, albeit one that he didn’t originate. It has probably been around since time immemorial. It is the lesson that says, in the span of life, it is not how long you live your life, but how you live it that counts. A close friend called yesterday with the shocking news that his brother was rushed to the hospital.

To make a long story short, his doctor said, “Your brother has so much cancer, including in his brain, pancreas and even in his bones, that we aren’t even going to keep looking.”

I will remember his brother as the most talented singer/songwriter to come out of the Northland, Bob Dylan being the exception. His 63 years is not a long life by today’s standards, but neither is 4 years old. Maybe my Shaman’s right when he says humans are allotted a certain amount of years to complete the purpose for which they are called. That certainly explains why a child or an adult gets called back home to the Holy before we as humans think it is their time. It also explains why we should live each day to the fullest because the cost of the gift of life is death.

“If I should die before I wake” is beginning to make a little sense.


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