OVERWHELMED???

by Dr. Joseph A. Bailey II, MD., FACS on 7th-March-2017

An ancient idea of one “Overwhelmed” was ones mental energy so great as to cause ones mind to swell-up into the shape of a bowl and then that bowl would turn upside down.  Thus, instead of ones mind looking toward the Sun’s brightness, that mind’s view from being flipped upside down was to look over everything in a gloomy way.  Of course, being overturned covered up any bright and clear thinking. Another early idea was of an overpowering mental force rolling into ones mind and burying everything in its path—a force thought of as a mighty wave sending its power through, around, over, and under the mind so as to envelop all sides.  Hence, the mind became suffocated and useless by three things–the over-spreading hurricane-like force; the crushing weight; and the cutting off of the mind’s thinking supply lines. These three ideas were familiar to sailors in their navigations of ships, especially when they were unable to resist the combined forces of the weather conditions being faced.  The effect was greatest when they were buried (i.e. covered and hidden) by an on-rushing and breaking sea, as occurred in broaching (i.e. piercing a hole in the ship).  The resultant violence and weight would capsize the ship. Etymologically, “Overwhelms” root means “over,” above in place + “whelm,” to submerge, to engulf. In 1535, the Coverdale Bible defined “overwhelm” as “to be overcome completely in mind or feeling.” A current dictionary defines it as: “to defeat completely and decisively”; “to affect deeply in mind or emotion”; and “to present with an excessive amount.” 

Being overwhelmed has occurred in my life many times. The first episode was during my University of Michigan freshman year of Chemistry. I felt hopelessly “overwhelmed” at being unable to get my mind introduced to the subject—i.e. from not being able to get a “big picture” of it. Through my frustration, I saw different levels of complexity–many kept intertwining into pretzel shapes + some being turned upside down + some being “covered up” + some being smothered by the sheer weight of numbers, amount, or forces. Since my efforts were in vain in trying to handle all of these at the same time, I went to my female chemistry teacher. All she said was: “start where you are!” The “That’s it! Moment led me to disconnect all of my past and future thoughts about myself so as to see, in the present, who I was and what I was doing. Like looking through a knothole in a fence, the “Who I Am” was looking through a knothole in order to see only the “What Am I Doing?” part of myself. By now seeing simply the “what it is” of me led to getting “As” on my subsequent chemistry examinations. So, even better than Self-Forgiveness is to “Let the past Go”–focus on the “here and now”–and re-establish the “Home Base” of Selfhood Greatness one had at birth. From there, get out of present messes by “starting where you are”—fashion a Human Ideal goal–and handle all problems as they come up. Here is a Process:

Step I: Exercise Spiritual Selfishness by first focusing on oneself for the purpose of healing. Go into Nature, the home of God—get into Nature’s rhythm–and be quiet. Step II: Write every tiny bit of turmoil so as to shed every root of ones boiling Acquired Emotions. Do not let anybody know about it or read it. When one gets things on paper, one does not have to keep thinking about the same thing and that gives space to think of what is underlying. Step III: Draw a mental picture of a skyscraper building, with the Home Base upon which it rests; the underlying Foundation resting on the underground Home Base;  and the above ground structures situated on the underlying and below ground Foundation. Next, focus on the Foundation underlying the overwhelming chaos and conflicts. Searching for the consistent, permanent, stationary, and unchanging Pattern (imparting a significant meaning) that constitutes the Foundation; write out all ones hard times; Mull over how they might fit into a consistent pattern that heads one in a given direction along a certain path; shed that Pattern’s bad mosaic pieces; and regroup. For me, what I did not realize early on, when wallowing in being overwhelmed, was that each episode represented a piece of the puzzle of what led me to where I am. Then, as now, I have used the “what worked/didn’t work” processes as tools to force out my inner powers; to make good workable plans; and to cultivate Human Ideal habits that continue to head me toward my goal, destination, and/or mission. In looking back, I can clearly see how they all fit into the pattern which enabled me to be experiencing a “Good Life.”jabaileymd.com; JABLifeSkills

Category: Dr. Joseph A. Bailey II, MD., FACS.
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