Since this is a web site dedicated to the studies of the spiritual side of life, I thought it quite appropriate to present the spiritual side of Alzheimer's Disease.
Alzheimer's is a disease that is affecting many families at this time. With the devastation of this disease, many have come to ask the question, "Why? Why would it happen to my family? What did we do to deserve this disease? Why were we singled out? How can this be prevented? " ... And the "why's" never stop because it is a more recent disease shrouded in mystery for the patient, family and care givers.
Because my heart goes out to many of my friends who are coping with aging parents who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's I decided to bring forth some very enlightening perspectives of this disease and the fall out that it leaves in its path. Truly a challenge that summons up the strength of all involved, Alzheimer's can set the stage for a quantum leap of spiritual growth within families and communities.
After observation and research, it is with the relief of your anxiety in mind that I combine some of the resources from a spiritual perspective and offer them to you. It is my intent that some of which you will read touches your heart and relieves you of the pain that accompanies your witnessing the progression of Alzheimer's in a loved one.
And yet, in the midst of the absence of coherence, a great tree is being given shape. Beneath its branches are the flowers, leaves and seeds of the collective past of the person who is witnessing them. They are the particles and parts of the unrealized self, the rejected self, the wished for self, the hoped for self, that are being gathered up in an apron in order to be looked at and evaluated imaginatively by the one who sits beneath this tree catching the leaves float by - the wisps of thought that float through an inner landscape.
The fragmentation that occurs does so because in the time in which these mental and imaginative fragments were created, the need arose to keep them hidden in order to create barriers of reason and logic around the functioning of the effective personality.
And so they remained part of a floating and unstable world of inner possibility. And not just a world of possibility, but a world of fragmented possibility. For among the central features of Alzheimer's are the strangeness of its thought patterns and sudden change-ability of their focus. Both features are present in many with Alzheimer's and both serve the purpose of dismantling the rational element of functioning in order that the emotional and imaginative elements be given freer reign.
Despite the loss of outer functioning that Alzheimer's brings, one may say that within the secret inner world a transformation is taking place. Where mental functioning may have been a priority before, now the functioning of a child begins to appear. Where judgment and critical analysis may have been valued heavily, now innocence begins to be given space and room in which to breathe. And where unrelatedness to the spiritual world may have been present, now the absence of self-definition creates a greater sense of oneness with life and a kind of innocent spirituality which accepts all that is.
And what of those for whom Alzheimer's brings anger, irritability and extreme outbursts of rage? These, too, are fragments or aspects of self that have been previously dormant. In their manifestation, they offer the opportun-ity of being experienced by the inner witness. As upsetting as these outbursts often are, they nevertheless, produce a kind of self-confrontation with aspects of consciousness that have previously been restricted from awareness.
For those who seek to understand the greater spiritual good that comes from a situation whose external features appear to involve great loss, limitation or hardship, it may be said that accompanying the loss of mental functioning which Alzheimer's brings is a reorganization of the basic personality structure so that a new birth can take place - one that will have positive consequences for the soul in their future development and evolution. This birth does not come without a price. And yet it comes because of the soul's deep wish for healing and wholeness and for bringing together fragments of self into a new configuration.
For those who must stand and watch the progressive deterioration of the personality of a loved one, there is need to be gentle with oneself, for many feelings are possible and are evoked by this situation. Yet it is important to note that in the midst of sorrow and progressive loss, there can also be a view of the emerging new self that is being born. If the eyes of the heart can be focused not only on the pain and the loss or on the difficulties of the care, but also on the unfoldment of the new, it may be that the inner Tree of Life can be seen under which the loved one sits, gathering the leaves and petals of their own imaginative process in order to meld them together into a new fabric of wholeness at some future date.
A spiritual view of the inner world of Alzheimer's disease, it's meaning and purpose, and the inner reorganization taking place as outer functioning diminishes.
The fact that there is a greater incidence today of Alzheimer's disease than in previous centuries has not gone unnoticed by some observers who seek to account for its increased presence among the aging, one that occurs at great personal cost and grave conse-quences for families and loved ones.
The primary cost of Alzheimer's disease lies in the loss of 'presentness' it brings to the one so afflicted - an increasing absence of the known and familiar self from awareness, reflection, memory and an increased departure of the interactive self from relationships that have been significant in the past.
Indeed, the loss of presentness that comes with Alzheimer's disease is so great, and the sadness it brings to those who feel they are losing a dear parent, friend, partner so pervasive, that it is important to try to find a spiritual meaning and purpose for the sequence of deterioration that seems to strip one down to the bare bones of humanity, with sometimes even that being in question due to the deterioration of physical as well as mental and emotional functioning.
All that is known about Alzheimer's today has given us some hope for modifying the disastrous effect of its course and for making the passage gentler, with less distress to those who remain in loving relationship with the one who is ill. Yet, these modifications are far from offering understanding of what spiritual good might come from such an illness - what gain to the soul might equal the significant loss of the familiar self which the disorder creates.
The truth of the matter is that the spiritual world in which Alzheimer's plays a significant role is a very different world than what appears on the outside.
It is a world in which the play of imagination takes precedence over the functioning of rationality, and which the mind becomes the playground of random thoughts, inner events and memories. These inner movements arise from various places - some from bits and pieces of the past; some from wishes that have never been expressed; and some from a place that can only be called the dream-self - the self that the unconscious mind projects upon the physical plane in order to bring something that has been hidden into the light of day. Because of the fragmentation of the images, thoughts and emotions, as well as the uncertainty concerning their validity, the outside observer can generally never really tell what is real and true and what is fantasy about what is being communicated by someone with Alzheimer's disease. What the outsider witnesses is a unique world, a world of one, and others, often to their great sorrow, feel they are locked out of it.
Here, in the center of this very private world is a great garden of spiritual flowers - not flowers of reason and clear thinking, but flowers of impulse and imagination, flowers of emotion that were never given exposure during childhood, during dreams or during other lifetimes. These now wait to be experienced and expressed. Because the rational element of communication is largely absent, the imaginings and voices of the unexpressed self are revealed mysteriously, without any seeming meaning or coherence.
For a spiritual perspective on mental and emotional disabilities of various kinds, please see the Omega Light Reader, especially "A Spiritual View on Mental Illness" and "The Wisdom Within Depression: A Spiritual View".
In Louise's first book, "Heal YourBody" published in 1978,
she wrote this about Alzheimer's, dementia and senility:
This disease is a result due to the"refusal to deal with the world as it is. Hopelessness and helplessness. Anger. Returning to the so-called safety of childhood. Demanding care and attention. A form of control of those around you. Escapism."
That may sound a bit harsh to the care-givers and loved ones surrounding an Alzheimer's patient, but after assimilating this truth it just may relieve some of the guilt that accompanies those who are witnessing such a process as this form of dementia in a loved one. Those encountering the fall-out of Alzheimer's just may begin to realize that the apparent suffering of their loved one was ... gently, here, Holly ...
Each and every physical manifestation in the human body is a result of an underlying belief or emotional issue.There are no "victims" of a dis-ease ... only experiencers interested in their own spiritual evolvement. Each of us chooses how we are to experience our physical lives here on earth in order to line up with the opportunities for the expansion of our spirit.
All dis-eases begin with those choices ... and over time, as we compile the beliefs that have stemmed from the many choices that we have made before and during this lifetime, we see the manifestations of those choices as we create our own reality, that which we call life on planet earth.
With the assumption that we do, indeed, create our own reality, gathering from the nudgings of our soul, ... we, can, then, understand that the individual suffering from this dis-ease, or anydis-ease ... has devised this experience for himself.
We are not to judge. We can merely observe.
Each soul independently requests the opportunity to experience that which results in a lesson (I really do not like that word ... it is just an experience ... not a pass/fail class) to add unto the expansion of the wisdom of the soul. That goes on for many lives and many lifetimes ... over and over and over again. Sometimes we are students and other times we are teachers, but each and every moment we are moving forward to growth, to expansion to evolvement through physical life experience.
Conversely, the loved ones, the on-lookers, the care-givers have also asked for the experience to be part of this process in another ... most likely, in the pre-birth planning stages of this present lifetime.
There are spiritual teachers in all things, all phases of our life, here, on planet earth. The care for any other human being gives us a front seat perspective of another's evolvement without actually personally experiencing the details of the situation itself. We expand, evolve and grow from observation of another, also. We learn from that teacher.
When we seek the good in every situation, even if at first blush it appears to be negative, we are actually seeing the God in everything. Whether it be people, places, events or things ... it would be to our own benefit and growth to understand that all of it is in DIVINE ORDER. God is in all ... even Alzheimer's. I agree that this is a dis-ease that is a radical teacher ...but sometimes the experiencing soul, as well as the observing souls, need just that!
As with every experience sometimes it is necessary for the observers to understand the contrast so we can choose to be appreciative and live in love long after the the experience has faded. Sometimes, witnessing a dis-ease such as Alzheimer's is because our soul wanted to learn forgiveness as we live our daily lives. Sometimes the survivors learn what is a priority in life. For others this experience opens the doors to their own spiritual path.
For every person, it is, indeed, quite personal and from what I have observed, a dis-ease, such as Alzheimer's puts those involved on a "fast track" to expansion, for sure. In fact, after all is said and done ... those who have witnessed this modern dis-ease can pound their chest and scream to the world that they have truly had a concentrated course in the evolution of their very own souls !!! It is unimaginable that any soul observing another soul with Alzheimer's could remain unchanged.
So, begin today, knowing that your own life, as every life, is one very important thread that contributes to the total tapestry of ALL THAT IS ... and it is all in perfect timing ... we are many but we are ONE.
The affirmation from Louise Hay's book, "HEAL YOUR BODY" for senility, dementia and Alzheimer's patients is:
"There is always a new and better way for me to experience life. I forgive and release the past. I move into joy."
And because those souls participating in the witnessing of the experience of this particular dis-ease have, for some reason or another, chosen to do so ... I suspect that that affirmation would be a wise choice ... for a loved one or care giver of an Alzheimer's patient, too!
There are many metaphysical books on the imbalance of the physical body ... start with any and all written by Louise L. Hay and expand your knowledge. I am certain, that once you confirm or begin to understand that your beliefs direct what manifests in your life, you will gain comfort in knowing that even the "WHY" questions can be answered about death and dis-ease.
It is my intent that I lovingly bring this information to you in hopes that you will find PEACE.