My dad uses a quirky turn of phrase that (unintentionally I’m sure) is quite profound.
In describing a complicated or unique situation, he’ll often use the phrase “You think in your mind that…, but it’s really….”
The first time you hear it, it feels redundant. Naturally you’re “thinking in your mind.” You’re not thinking from your toenails or spleen after all.
But it’s really rather brilliant. You think in your mind all sorts of things. It doesn’t mean they’re true or real.
In some cases, your understanding may simply be limited and learning will help bridge the gap. But some things will never be understood by thinking in your mind. Some things must simply be felt. Some things are true and real and defy all logic or reason.
Most importantly, you are not the things going through your mind. You’re thinking even as you’re digesting, breathing, sweating, aging… It doesn’t mean you are any of those things.
My dad is a highly intuitive learner. He sees patterns, has a strong visual memory, and is generally able to stay in the present moment. (Unless he falls asleep. The man has a serious gift for catnapping.) He doesn’t have a lot of ego attached to ideas which means that he can step back and look at them from many angles.
This makes him able to successfully build things with minimal planning and visualize complicated electrical circuits. It also makes him a surprisingly good home health care assistant to my mother. He carefully observes everything about her day and considers the impact it will have on any given night’s dialysis treatment.
He knows that joy has as much an effect on her health as what she eats. He cares nothing about his own appearance, but knows that for his wife, having her hair look nice is a key ingredient to her ability to face the day – nearly as important as the myriad pills she takes. He’s a naturally holistic thinker. It causes him no end of puzzlement (and frustration) to meet with certain doctors: the rigid linear thinkers who see her only as a collection of blood test results and not a whole person.
So now whenever I hear him ponder something out loud, I wait for the “You think in your mind that it can’t work, but it turns out…” And then I smile a little inside. And I learn the lesson all over again.
I am not my mind.
But I am very proud to be my father’s daughter.