Monday, September 20, 2010
Sorting it all out...
In my day job which pays my bills, I work with the severely mentally ill. Recently I called my boss for some supervision on a particularly difficult situation that had me somewhat off center. I respect my boss for his clinical skills: he's experienced, well trained, and he's no drama queen. It's a good combination.
He's new to the job, so he is just getting to know our clients and their stories. Thus I had to do some "catch up" for him about this particular case, and he very quickly realized how complicated it is. I shared with him all the relevant points of my thinking and concerns and I could tell that he was really listening. Finally, he said to me, "I'm hearing all your reasoning, but what does your heart tell you?" My answer was, "My heart doesn't tell me anything!"
He was surprised and I needed to explain. I gave him a shortened explanation. Here is the long one:
In all my years of living, I have never encountered anyone, anything, nor any situation that was simple - not for the heart nor for the mind. This experience has only become more true over time. To be quite truthful, I have never, never understood the "split" between the heart and the mind. And that was what he was asking me to do, to give him that non-existent split.
Did he want me to tell him that I could see (my mind at work) the improvement in the child's life in foster care? Did he want me to tell him that (my heart pumping) I begrudged this child's new found advantages or that I (my heart pumping) do not share the child's mother's heartbreak
I don't understand the so-called split between heart and mind because my mind does not concern itself ever with anything that the heart does not care about and the heart, not an entirely blind spot, does make calls and recognizes the sometimes wrenching complexities with which we humans must deal. A heart without a mind as companion births a fool as does a mind without a heart.
I suppose for some the idea of a "Data" (familiar to Star Trek fans) - an entirely rational entity - is an ideal toward which we all should strive. I do not share this wish. For if life is meant to be entirely rational, then what is the role of human passion which so consumes us and presses us forward toward the impossible? And if we have no emotions, then what, indeed, is the purpose of being human?
Do I have answers for these questions? No, absolutely not. I just know in my Soul of souls, that our being so human, so flawed, and yes sometimes so irrational, is not an accident. There is a purpose. I don't "get it." I'm still trying to "get it" in my own life, never mind trying to help others get it in theirs (which I'm supposedly paid to do). Should I try to compartmentalize myself into "heart" and "mind?" I don't think so, for indeed, what would be the point?