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Aha! Moment
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A person in my meditation groups works with schizophrenic people. The meditation focus yesterday was "Who am I? Who are you?" During the discussion after the guided meditation (we have silent mediation after the discussion), he said that when he builds a relationship with his clients, he creates a connection to the person, to who they are, not to their disorganized, hallucinatory, fearful persona.

It was an aha! moment for me, because intuitively that was exactly how I related to my mother. I never (if it was possible) engaged her schizophrenic self, but spoke to her authentic self.

For instance, one dark night she was sure there were men with guns hiding in the forsythia bushes alonside the kitchen garden (we lived alone on a remote farm accessed by a dirt road). Instead of saying, "No Mom, there aren't any men out there," (which would have been confronting her craziness), I took a flashlight and said, "I'll go and look."

I was speaking to her authentic self, which was cowering the the background and was terrified of strangers, and reassuring her that I would protect her and re-ground her in reality.

Out I went, bravely waving my flashlight, and proceded to demonstrate the innocence of the forsythias.

I was eight.

This was the pattern of our relationship until she died, fifty years later. I never engaged her illness directly. That was for the professionals (who weren't, I might add, very successful until, in her 70's, she met a therapist who sized up the sitation and pretended his birthday was the same as mine. She therefore trusted him implicitly and made good progress.).

My friend's observation was right on the money.

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