What makes the mind?

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the concept of “mind,” since I started this blog. It’s true, my brain is a bit “broken” — from an assault ’round about 1972, when a couple of kids who didn’t like my looks heaved rocks at me and struck me on the forehead above my right eye, about an inch below my hairline… as well as a 2004 re-injury, when I slipped and fell down a flight of stairs, smashing the back of my head on the top 3-4 steps in the process.

The closer attention I pay to my brain, the clearer it becomes that it just doesn’t work the same way as other people’s — and it never has, since I was about 8 years old. Funny thing about TBI — the very piece of the puzzle that can put things together : the brain : is the very thing that’s damaged, so self-assessment about how things are really working, can be a tricky thing. And as you go along, other people may never realize that you’ve got “issues” because you’re merrily swimming right along, clueless about there being a real problem.

Until really big problems surface, which is more or less what happened to me.

Now, some might say that not having a fully functioning “normal” brain is the end of the world. The end of regular life as you know it. We’re so conditioned to think of the brain as being “command central” in our lives — the organ above our neck calling all the shots and being responsible for all the big decisions and control over vital aspects of our lives.

But I’m inclined to believe that our “mind” is even more powerful than our brain — “mind” being the collection of all the different faculties we have that make it possible to walk through life with grace and dignity and intelligence.

Howard Gardner’s “multiple intelligence theory” (check out his book, “Frames of Mind” for more info) explores the different ways in which people can be intelligent. And different traditions propose that true “mind” is more about one’s ability to connect with the Divine Spark within — through a religious or spiritual connection/experience — than it is about the human brain.

That’s the approach I tend to take — I consider my “mind” be a collection of my cerebral intellect, my physical intelligence, my emotional intelligence, as well as my spiritual connection with the Divine. Together, mind, body, heart, and spirit all work towards a higher “mind” than my brain alone can achieve.

This not only comforts and reassures me, but also impels me to draw on other resources that are not above my shoulders and between my ears. And the net result is a life lived in ways that are far more effective, more thorough, more deep, more meaningful, than I would probably be able to achieve if my brain worked “normally.”

What makes your mind?

Technorati tags: brain damage brain mind Emotional Fallout Head Trauma Mild Traumatic Brain Injury mtbi Personal Experiences with TBI psychology psychotherapy tbi tbi survivor TBI Symptoms testimony traumatic brain injury

Author: brokenbrilliant

I am a long-term multiple (mild) Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI or TBI) survivor who experienced assaults, falls, car accidents, sports-related injuries in the 1960s, '70s, '80s, and '90s. My last mild TBI was in 2004, but it was definitely the worst of the lot. I never received medical treatment for my injuries, some of which were sports injuries (and you have to get back in the game!), but I have been living very successfully with cognitive/behavioral (social, emotional, functional) symptoms and complications since I was a young kid. I’ve done it so well, in fact, that virtually nobody knows that I sustained those injuries… and the folks who do know, haven’t fully realized just how it’s impacted my life. It has impacted my life, however. In serious and debilitating ways. I’m coming out from behind the shields I’ve put up, in hopes of successfully addressing my own (invisible) challenges and helping others to see that sustaining a TBI is not the end of the world, and they can, in fact, live happy, fulfilled, productive lives in spite of it all.

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