A question - would it be better that the body is a prisoner and the mind free or that the mind be a prisoner and the body free

I was thinking of that, also. Hawking is not a bad example. If his mind had become imprisoned somehow, would we know who he was?

I had a friend who developed ALS. Very sad. And difficult for him and maybe even more so for his wife in terms of all the practical problems it created. He was a retired lawyer and she is a psychologist, though, so they were fairly well equipped to deal with it financially.

As his body stopped functioning, though, his love grew. When I visited him, I could feel it, no question. He could only communicate by using his eyes to type on a special computer. It was quite moving and heartbreaking.


We lost a friend to ALS a couple of years ago. It was heartbreaking. She was a young mom with four small children and it progressed very rapidly, from onset to passing in only two years. Recalling one photo of one of her little boys looking questioningly at his mom in the wheelchair with her looking lovingly back at him makes me weep even now.


Thanks Jennifer. Seek ye first the kingdom of God resonates with me also.

This comes to mind to me where Jesus said that we “cannot serve two masters. If you love one you will hate the other”.So who is the master our flesh or our mind?

I wonder if what Jesus said applies “that what you bind on earth will be bound in heaven and what you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven”?

In the worst case for either example I would rather be dead.

Kevin, I am very sorry about your friend with ALS. It’s a terrible disease.

I also think about people with Alzheimer’s how terrible that disease is as the body is often healthy but the mind is diminished. How terrible is it that the body lives while the mind is wasted?

I had a beautiful aunt that had the most marvelous mind and as she aged she lost her ability to walk. She simply said walking is overrated and went on to live many years thriving because her mind was what she treasured.

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Thanks Scott. Your aunt sounds rather amazing. I’m happy for her that she could see her situation that way!

Alzhemer’s is indeed terrible. I have no way of knowing, but I wonder if it’s worse for those who love and have to take care of the one who has it. At least the one who has it is constantly forgetting whatever terrible experiences they’ve had! But I don’t mean to be flippant. My brother works in a long-term care facility, and some of the residents have alzheimer. One of them is constantly afraid and disoriented because he has so often confused about what’s going on and everyone is a stranger to him.

The loss was very dramatic with my friend. Just weeks before he was diagnosed with ALS we’d gone on a 6 day backpacking trip in the Grand Canyon. It was our 2nd hiking trip together, and we were both looking forward to many more. We were able to take one more, to Havasu Falls, which was spectacular, even if marred by the evidence of the disease his body presented along the way.

The thing about such forms of imprisonment of the body, though, is that ones experience is heavily dependent on ones reaction to the situation. If one dwells on the loss, discomforts and near impossibility of stopping or even slowing down the degeneration, it could be a particularly terrible form of hell, filled with anger, anxiety, helplessness, isolation, etc. My friend coped with the situation through Buddhist learning and practice. He came to appreciate and be aware of things that before had gone unnoticed.

When the Bible says that God uses for good what is done for evil, I think this points not only to God’s nature, but to the nature of reality. Both God’s interventions in the system of material reality AND that system exemplify that assertion. I think this is why so much of what Buddha said about reality, the mind and the results of the practices he taught are true. He observed and came to understand reality very deeply and, even though he did not believe in a personal God, he saw God’s nature in God’s creation, far more accurately than anyone had at the time. Basically, in my view, Buddhism is as close as one can get to salvation through works.

And the implication of this, I think, is that no matter how terrible something looks from ones own perspective, no matter how hopeless or unchangeable, if one accepts it as God’s will and surrenders to God, rather than dwelling on ones own negative perspective, one will come to see the good it makes possible. Jesus’ crucifixion is the greatest example of that, but there are many others, such as Paul’s response to being beaten and imprisoned and Joseph’s response to being betrayed by his brothers and imprisoned in Egypt.

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Thats very sad, Dale. I’m sorry to hear that. Such a thing must be extremely difficult for children. I pray her kids find whatever good there is to be built on that tragedy.

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There is truth in that, but I don’t fully agree. Happiness is just a state of mind, literally. It is a particular complex of electrical and chemical processes producing an emotional experience. It is not dependent at all on how “educated” one is. Yet, knowing certain things enables one to enter and remain in that state through a variety of circumstances. An analogy is the state of balance. If you find yourself on a tightrope and you don’t know how to balance, you are not going to be to remain there and there is nothing you can learn that will enable you to except how to achieve and maintain your balance. Happiness is a form of balancing act within the heart and mind.

So I would argue that “education” is way too broad a term to be meaningful in that quote.

For me that is a bit like asking whether it is better for your car to break down or your body. The mind is a lot closer to who and what we are. Just as the car is useless without the body, so also is the body useless without the mind.

But, no matter how hypothetical this question is, the details are important. How do you put shackles on the mind or put the mind behind bars? There can be considerable interaction between mind and body.

habits? Bad habits of thought can be ultimately more far reaching, but some habits which might be called bodily can be nearly as devastating because of effects on the mind. Do we count a chemical dependency as making the body prisoner or the mind?

I don’t have any experience with ALS. I have an aging parent (mother) who has lost mobility due to lack of muscle strength. Her mind is still pretty good. From that perspective I would still say the mind is far more important. My mother cannot do much but she is still there. I have experienced the other, where the mind is gone, and for me it is more like visiting a grave than a person.

Kevin. Thank you! Great post you have a lot of good stuff here. I think I understand what you are saying and agree.

Consciousness perspective creates our human reality. Most teachings place consciousness as central to reality. There s no reality without consciousness. Our view of any situation is biased by our perspective and only God can have a view of true reality. Placing faith in our wants and desires of the body above that of Gods is a mistake. Jesus says that we cannot serve two masters we can either serve the body or the spirit. Jesus talks of the heart as do others as the center meeting point of the mind and body. It’s the heart that governs our actions if the body governs then we will live for the flesh but if the spirit governs then we live for the spirit.

I think Consciousness (and unconsciousness) are central to most teachings including “seek ye first the kingdom of God” opening your heart to Jesus. Essentially letting Christ perspective to govern the heart and guide the spirit and body. I like that you mention Buddha as these teaching as those of Christ can lead to a conscious transcendence. There may be many paths for one to fall down the mountain but really only one true path to ascend the mountain.

Jesus tells us that what is Bound here on earth is also bound in heaven while that which is loosed here on earth is loosed in heaven. So that which binds here will bind in heaven just the same that which frees here is freed in heaven. So we need to choose our master wisely.

Any individual that has not been born of God is still a slave to both.

John 8:34 Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

True freedom is freedom from sin. The new birth is the birth of the inward man, the spirit of man. He is created a new, born of the Spirit by the Fathers will, recreated in Christ Jesus. This is the new covenant. This is our only hope of true freedom. Christ in you, the hope of glory. Unless a man is born again by the Spirit he has no life in him and is not free but still a slave. An unregenerated man is controlled by the nature of the flesh and therefore is a slave to sin and cannot please God.

Rom 8:5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you . Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. 10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness . 11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. 12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. 13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”

Cody. Thank you! This is very helpful. Can’t say it any better than that!

You are fortunate to understand it is helpful, for many do not have that understanding. I daily need to put my trust in what Jesus accomplished on the cross for me, for it is the power of God unto salvation.

Eph 1:18 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20 which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

Jesus is always the true, better and final Word.

Amen. The Lords truth prevails over all.

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