Tuesday, March 26, 2013

It Is All In Your Mind.

Well, as many of you will no doubt recognize, I've been more and more erratic lately as to when I make these posts. 

 I apologize - I have been very, very busy. 

A big part of the scheduling conflict is that I am now performing every Wednesday night, and so the time I used to take to make these posts has been consumed elsewhere. I've tried to make it work, but I am going to have to change the day I post to Tuesday. 

So, having said that, I wanted share an interesting anecdote today regarding one of my sons. He has always had an active imagination, and when he was much younger, he was terrified of the dark. The blend of these two elements constantly resulted in my boy having bad dreams. 

This situation persisted for years. About four years ago, my mother returned from a trip to somewhere or other in possession of a dreamcatcher (among other gifts for my children). Now, this particular son had spotted it and asked what it was. 

I told him that it was a dreamcatcher. 

He asked what it did, and I told him that it was supposed to prevent bad dreams from entering the mind of a person while they slept. I did not credit the idea, and naturally did not expect for my son to pay any credence to the idea. 

To my immense surprise, he blurted out "Hey! I need that!" Spotting an opportunity to help relieve my child's nightly discomfort, I acquiesced and demonstrated to him how to hang and position the dreamcatcher. 

An accomplished skeptic, I was astonished when my son enjoyed peaceful sleep for several nights in a row. This string of restful nights was eventually broken, and, in the middle of the night, my son complained in the aftershock of a nightmare: "My dreamcatcher is busted!" He said this holding up the offending article in dismay. 

I was faced with a conundrum. I did not want to lie to my son, yet he had evidently placed such faith in the power of this new acquisition that it had eased his mind to the point that he could sleep peacefully with regularity. 

In the end, the decision was not hard to make. I made a great show of holding the dream catcher up and looking the contraption over. "There's nothing wrong with this," I said with evident mirth at my son. "You've just never cleaned it out! It is full - you have to shake it out every night!" My son considered this and went back to his room, evidently satisfied. 

He has shaken his dreamcatcher out every night since then and has had only a handful of nightmares in the five years since that night. 

This experience has made me wonder about the nature of the subconscious, and the power of belief systems on a level that is deeper than conscious thought.  I have no doubt that my son's implicit and guileless faith in me and my pronunciations enabled the belief in its efficacy to take hold.  It has also made me consider the power and implications of the simple statements that people make to each other daily - especially when those making the statement hold the full trust of the other party.  

How many children are naughty and annoying because their parents tell them daily that they are?  By contrast, how is a person's self-confidence shaped by their interactions with a trusted peer or colleague?

I have my theories, and not all are to be shared here.  

But I will say that I believe in the power and strength of words and ideas.



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