I was driving to Manchester to teach a meditation class the other night, and I had the radio on to listen to the evening news. (I find the daily articles about how wonderful mankind is treating itself, very uplifting…).
There was one tragic news item that caught my ear. Two adults had been convicted at the Old Baily for murdering a small child. Now this is obviously tragic for all concerned. But the newsreader then said that these two adults had murdered the child because they thought he was possessed by evil spirits.
The newsreader went on to say something else that made me shake my head in dismay. Apparently, every diocese within the United Kingdom employs the services of an Exorcist. That’s right, an Exorcist.
So, it is wonderful for me to talk to God, or Jesus, or any other ‘approved’ saint, but if I start talking to the Devil or any other entity that does not appear on the approved list of fantasies, I need an exorcist…. you couldn’t make this stuff up!
A friend of mine works in one the highest security mental hospitals in Britain. Obviously there are many ill and dangerous people incarcerated there. His job is to look after the day to day running of the ward. One of his duties is to give out medication, as and when he is told to do so, by the Doctors.
If a patient sits and talks to God all day, this is regarded as healthy behaviour.
If the patient sits and talks to the Devil or demons or any other ‘unapproved’ entity, then they are instantly prescribed heavy medication to knock them out, as they are displaying mental illness…. you couldn’t make this stuff up!
Now I am in no doubt, that from time to time, we all display behaviour that is out of the norm. In fact, I am sure there have been times in my life when I have been so ill, or stressed, that I have given people around me cause for concern about my ‘mental’ health. But to explain abnormal behaviour away with the explanation of ‘possession by evil spirits’ is, in my mind, lazy, ignorant and primitive.
Have a look around you at the people you know. I am sure that you can think of someone who is ‘out of the ordinary’, (maybe even yourself). The person may be suffering from stress, anxiety, depression or one of the hundreds of mental illnesses, or ‘syndromes’ that are diagnosed or invented every year. But possessed….?
It has been proven that many food colourings can greatly influence a child’s behaviour. How do they know the child hadn’t had a tube of Smarties on the day in question? It has also been proven that by ingesting certain minerals can greatly improve the mental health of many people. The food you put in your mouth can literally effect the thoughts that you experience.
The human consciousness can be likened to an old radio set. They used to use crystals in old radios to pick up the radio signals. If you adjusted the crystal you picked up a different station. In the same way, in the same way, if you put minerals or substances in your body, you too will start to experience different thoughts.
Don’t believe me? Go in your kitchen now, get the wine out of the fridge and drink it. I guarantee that it will change your thoughts until it is out of your system. On a more subtle level, if you eat fresh fruit and vegetables for a week, your thoughts would change. You do not need to believe me, try it for yourself.
Sometimes the use of Bach Flower remedies, or tissue salts, or even simple mineral supplements can really calm the mind down. These are available from most health shops.
As a meditator, we sometimes need to explore simple solutions like these, to improve the quality of our meditation.
And as far as exorcisms go, two things can ever occupy the same space. Just as no one else’s physical body can occupy the space that your body occupies, no ‘mental entity’ can occupy the space that your own mind occupies. You cannot be possessed, least not by an external living entity.
I am not a Doctor, or anything like that, so I am not aware of all the causes of the hundreds or even thousands of medical conditions that could cause the appearance of severe mental disturbances. From my limited knowledge, treating mental disturbances with a chemical cosh doesn’t get to the root of the problem.