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Families and Mindfulness
Shaun Kerry, M.D.
Diplomate, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology
Mindfulness is at the very heart of the family.
Much has been written about healthy family functioning, but please consider this medical and psychiatric perspective.
Politicians often speak of 'family values'. The mind is not an empty vessel into which you pour information. It is a complex and delicate apparatus and we must take the time to learn how it works.
In general, men have the most difficult time adjusting to family life. They have difficulty with commitment, showing real love, and being good fathers or husbands. Many years of study have led me to the following medical explanation of these problems.
Today's schools are utterly unsuited for most boys. The experience constitutes prolonged, sustained, mind control. This creates bitter feelings in the mind's emotional center, the limbic system. To ease the pain, the brain gradually severs the neural connections between the limbic system and the rest of the brain. We can damage personality with the best of intentions. The limbic system is responsible for human bonding, love, empathy, and commitment.
Although a full explanation is far more complicated than this, most people are unwilling to read a long and detailed discussion. If you wish to learn more, please examine the books listed in the bibliography section.
To many people, this notion will seem very strange, even inflammatory. After all, most schools exude the appearance of maturity and stability. But it is our belief systems that are at fault.
- We have the power to change some things, but not others. A psychiatrist has to face this issue just like everyone else.
- A family with problems is a group of individuals who lack mindfulness.
- The most productive way to foster mindfulness in society is to attack fundamental misconceptions that exist among our leaders.
- In doing that, we will have the greatest positive impact upon the family.
- It is far easier to prevent a problem, than to cure it after it has started. This is particularly true when it comes to psychological issues.
Many people blame the parents. But the parents were raised in the same school system. It is better to attack false ideas and damaging practices; blaming people solves nothing.