brains and prayer

Dear friends

I wanted to share this so I don’t forget.  And I wanted to write it so I remember. 

It’s a short passage from Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons.  Leonardo Vetra is explaining prayer to his daughter, Vittoria:

He took a model of the human brain down from a shelf and set it in front of her.
‘As you probably know, Vittoria, human beings normally use a very small percentage of their brain power. However, if you put them in emotionally charged situations – like physical trauma, extreme joy or fear, deep meditation – all of a sudden their neutrons start firing like crazy, resulting in massively enhanced mental clarity.’
‘So what?’ Vittoria said.  ‘Just because you think clearly doesn’t mean you talk to God.’
‘Aha!’ Vetra exclaimed.  ‘And yet remarkable solutions to seemingly impossible problems often occur in these moments of clarity.  It’s what gurus call higher consciousness. Biologists call it altered states. Psychologists call it super-sentience.’  He paused. ‘And Christians call it answered prayer.’ Smiling broadly, he added, ‘Sometimes, divine revelation simply means adjusting your brain to hear what your heart already knows.’

And then, this weekend, in preparation for a lesson, my dear husband shared this quote with me, from February 2003 Ensign, James E. Faust (belated Apostle):

“An important part of the spiritual being within all of us is the quiet and sacred part from which we may feel a sanctification in our lives. It is that part of us wherein no other soul may intrude. It is that part that permits us to come close to the divine, both in and out of this world. This portion of our beings is reserved only for ourselves and our Creator. We open the portals thereof when we pray. It is here where we may retreat and meditate. It is possible for the Holy Ghost to abide in this special part of us. It is a place of special communion. It is the master cell of our spiritual battery.”

I know that that part of us where no other soul can intrude is within us all; it’s part of who we are as human beings, and probably part of that portion of our brain that lies dormant so often. 

I believe we can all do much to adjust our brain, come close to the divine and receive the personal messages that Father wants to tell us. 

thoughts on racism et al

Dear friends

The first time I became aware of a potentially racist action towards me – at least that’s the way I perceived it and still recall it – it was my first day at full time school. I was nearly 5 years and with a summer birthday it meant I started in the summer term – the older children would have started at the beginning of the school year,  the previous September.   I went to the toilets; someone else let off gas (to put it politely) and I heard all the other children blame it on me. I sat in that cubicle and cried.

At secondary school I faced it again – the older children (boys & girls) called me Kissi – Alex Haley’s Roots was on TV and I wore my hair in plaits.  This time I faced up to them –

My name is not Kissi

They stopped the name calling and, even as they hung around the school gates smoking, they greeted me by name, Vanessa.

The events of the last several weeks – Sousse, Charleston et al – have led me to think, maybe there are more people who are racist out there than we think?  Why do they feel that way?  Maybe I work with someone who would not ever speak with a black person given a choice?  Maybe, seeing me, in my role as a woman, a black woman, really winds them up? Should I trust anyone?

I personally feel that ignorance lies behind any type of discrimination – I’m sure many people feel the same.  When I dwell on questions like those above,  I don’t feel right.  1. I’m not going to live my life in fear – that doesn’t mean I’m going out looking for trouble.  And 2. I want to love my fellow beings  – we are all part of the human race and that’s enough for me.

I really don’t know how people feel the way they do. I’ve heard and read things like: “the only good white man is a dead one.” And I’ve no doubt there are equally hurtful phrases about negroes.

“Show me your tail” is what my mother heard when she came here in the 1960’s – and that was from work colleagues genuinely asking her and her friends. How ridiculous!  How awful!  How stupid and ignorant!!

Where’s the love?  It’s largely gone.  It’s the 21st century,  we have incredible communication technology. So is there really an excuse for ignorance?  

There is no doubt in my mind that these are the last days spoken of long ago by prophets of old, even Jesus (see Matthew 24 verse 12):

the love of many shall wax cold

And so we do live in a time where guns and ammunition exist, where they can be obtained, and where innocent people can be killed while worshipping or while lying on a beach,  simply because of the colour of their skin.

I do have a hope – it will come to an end one day. Not through military strikes, but through a Man who will return to Earth.  Meanwhile,  I will continue to treat every as my fellow brothers and sisters and not be bothered if they can’t see past my beautiful brown skin and black curly hair 😉

somniloquy

Dear friends,
Take a look at this article – this is me, my soul!  I’ve been a sleep talker all my life and, according to my dear mother, a sleep walker as an infant. I may have mentioned this before in another post, but I thought I’d grown out of it until my dear husband mentioned, some months ago, that I do talk but most of the time he doesn’t take much notice.
However a week or so ago, I got hit with the bombshell – actually, you’re sleep talking disturbs my sleep – and combined with our 16 year old bed, my dear husband has been developing quite a pain in the neck!
So, I thought I’d read up on sleep talking and try some self help before totally humbling myself and going to a doctor – I need help with sleep talking!!
Somniloquy is the professional term – I can barely say it without thinking Shakespeare soliloquy –  and, according to the Huffington Post (not quite the fount of all knowledge but a good read!), appears to be more common in young people and males – so a mid 40’s female such as I could be considered a little unusual.  Also possibly related to stress – mmm… I understand that I do talk about work projects a lot…
And I’ve only had one really embarrassing incident involving somniloquy. It was when I was serving as a full time LDS missionary (where I shared a bedroom) and, well, I was struggling to like my companion, who was the senior companion, and the next morning asked me if I had a problem with her… Not really; why do you ask? 
“You spoke my name last night and the tone in which you said it…”
Busted, I thought, so I had to come clean…  I’m not sure if there were other incidents, at least, none that I got told about! Not a bad quality for encouraging honesty in close relationships 🙂
So, I think we’ll go for a new bed before I face a health professional with this little peculiarity.  Oh, but with my commitment to exercise more regularly, I feel that will help to free my spirit when I’m awake, rather than allowing it to race when I’m asleep!!  And from Doctrine and Covenants section 88, verse 15:

And the spirit and the body are the soul of man