HOW WE COPE: the Miracle of Brain. Intrduction.

Welcome back most warmly to ; What has been offered hitherto in the form of previous blogs posted on this website, has throughout, focused on issues and concerns of day-to-day coping, with cancer and other life threatening illnesses. Unfortunately, I have been away from such activity for an extended period of time, due to ill-health. Now well into my eighth decade, I cannot expect too much. However – and thankfully – I am able to recommence; hopefully from where I, of necessity, left off some months ago now.
I am rather hoping that you may have already read at least some of my earlier blogs, so that you may be reasonably familiar both with my style of writing and also to reinforce the underlying purpose for my so doing in the first instance. Consequently, there is little else that I need add here by way of initial introduction. If on the other hand you have not read my earlier writings, then apart from the obvious recommendation that you do so, in order to extract maximum value from this present correspondence, there is little more that I can add by way of introduction – or welcome back – as the case may be. In the intended forthcoming of blogs, it is my purpose to, in greater depth, consider the role of brain, which after all, is the key to all our coping needs and skills, whether in good times or bad.
Ordinary mortals that we are, we depend upon others and that key sense of self, to energize our lives and give them meaning and purpose in the day-to-day round. This, in turn, focuses sharply on that common-to-all learning process which is surely apparent to all, especially as one reviews the early and formative years of life. It, does of course, also happen to be an input, which can vary in its rate of uptake dramatically. Sometimes we experience those genuinely inspirational moments of rewarding surge. On other more common occasions, learning appears to plateau and even at times ‘descend’ into a kind of uneasy and indefinite stasis.
Happily – and under normal circumstances – its overall trend is more likely to journey in an onward and upward spiral. Day by day, month by month, year by year, we learn, both individually and corporately, to negotiate our passage through this wonderful world, hopefully, increasing in knowledge – both theoretical and applied – in confidence; and with a developing sense of meaning and purpose. Indeed, the latter it is that is established via a complex relationship with that constant flow of crucial feedback information which lies at the very heart of growth and development, through to maturity and – who knows – hopefully even beyond, to sagacity.
Dependent though we undoubtedly are (and will remain throughout life) on others about us, it is from this very interdependence that we come increasingly to develop an essential insightful awareness of our independence. Such then are the initial conscious steps to our individuality and uniqueness. Hence the paradox wherein we each possess an inimitable sense of self, yet regularly refer to it in terms familiar to, recognized by and – to some degree or other – experienced by others.
“Body”, “mind” and “spirit” are all terms, which possess a homely ring of everyday familiarity. We use them endlessly, in widely different contexts, seemingly devoid of much by way of thought as to how they define that essence which is man. The Concise Oxford Dictionary says of “body”, “The physical structure, i.e. bones, flesh, organs etc. of a person or animal”. “Mind”, it declares to be “1. The seat of conscious thought, volition (will) and feeling” and “2. Intellectual powers”. “Spirit”• (in this context) is defined as “That vital animating essence of a person or animal”. (See below for additional definitions).
In my last series of blogs/postings, we did, of course, refer to elements, inputs, convergences and consequences of all three of the above, occurring both separately and in combination in day-to-day coping with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. Throughout that last series of my writings, the emphasis was, you may recall, placed firmly throughout on the clinical and psychosocial implications of cancer and other life threatening illnesses.
In this series of writings, I want to take matters somewhat further, in that it is my hope and intention to explore more about the complex but – as is being increasingly shown in studies carried out on the subject matter – crucial outcome for health and general well-being of optimal body, mind and spirit convergence, functioning and interdependence. Conversely, we shall, hopefully, also witness and attest to the disruptive consequences, in terms of disharmony and conflict, where this healthful relationship of cooperation and balance between body mind and spirit is neglected and ignored. (c)SB.

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