The Man With Dementia

The dew of compassion is a tear”
Lord Byron

I’ll start by saying that I’m fairly uneducated when it comes to dementia.

I know very little about it, other than the most common signs that accompany it, and I also haven’t had any experience with anyone close to me having it, so it hasn’t got a direct place in my heart as I understand it has for those who have experienced, or are experiencing it with people who they are close to.

This isn’t a fictional story, it’s something I witnessed yesterday and I wanted to write a short piece on what I saw, heard, but more importantly, felt.

This experience – though perhaps small and insignificant to some – showed me just how much I have progressed on the self-awareness and spiritual path.  It made it clear how much I have progressed and changed on my path.

I felt compelled to share it, in the hope it may resonate with others out there who have felt similar, in their own experiences.

My Heart Opened

I was sat in the waiting room of a doctors surgery that is open to the public.  I’ve been here quite a lot recently, so I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing all walks of life, and I’ve had some interesting conversations to say the least.

This waiting area is big, and it can have anywhere between 10-60 people in there at a time, easily.  As I said, I’ve seen all walks of life, and these have ranged from newborn babies to very elderly people barely able to stand up alone.

I’ve had conversations with some that are completely identified with their false self (or ego-mind), and some that are extremely present and self-aware.  All very interesting nonetheless, and all I could take something away from.

Yesterday, however, I was sat waiting to be called in as usual, and a lady walked past me who was a carer.  Alongside her she was assisting an elderly man to his seat.  They both sat down and something inside me made me instinctively turn in the direction of them both.  As I turned my head, the elderly man turned his head to the right and we both made a pleasant smile towards each another.

This man was in his seventies I would say, and at this point I hadn’t heard him say very much so I was unaware he had dementia.

A few seconds later, he started talking to his carer, asking her questions.  I was fairly zoned out minding my own business, but then I heard him repeat the same question he’d only asked a couple of minutes earlier.  Directly behind the elderly man and his carer was a mother and daughter waiting to be seen, too.  I’d noticed much earlier that they were both agitated at the waiting time from what they were saying to one another, but they were sniggering looking at this man and his carer.

A short time later, I was still relatively zoned out and I again heard the mother and daughter giggling and turning around to look at this man.  At this point I cottoned on to why they were chuckling.  I realised this man has dementia.

At this point I focused my attention to the conversation he was having with his carer.  Instantly I could tell he was a beautiful soul.  He was constantly smiling at his carer, and would look at her with a loving presence.

I noticed he was repeating the same questions, and they were as follows:

Does my wife know that I’m here?

Which door will we go through to be seen for my appointment?

It’ll be time to eat when we get back after here, won’t it?

Where did you live before here?

What area in the town do you live in?

How long have I been in the care home for?

And the one that made me smile the most…

I bet you’re fed up of me asking the same questions, aren’t you?

When he asked if the carer was fed up with him asking the same questions, his smile stretched from ear-to-ear and his eyes lit up.

I was smiling for my own reasons.  I was observing him and felt something off him.  The past few months I have really noticed my level of compassion and love towards others has increased tremendously.  This has happened as I have worked tirelessly on increasing my own self-love, and the two go hand-in-hand.

More self-love equals more compassion towards others.

This feeling of love and compassion was powerful.  I found myself looking at this lovely, gentle-natured soul whose eyes were so fresh and alive.  This presence – or awareness – behind his eyes is what resonated with me.  I wasn’t looking at the person, it was beyond that.

This man may have dementia, but there is something much more to him than that.  The same applies to all of us.  He isn’t his dementia, or any label he may be referred to as.  For many, the primary and only focus is someone’s illness or condition.

The beauty of being on the spiritual path is the more your awareness expands, you start to see and feel people beyond their body.  This might sound crazy to some readers, but if and when you reach this point on your path, you will completely understand what I mean.

This man’s soul was being expressed through his eyes.  The person who makes up this man may be slightly lost at times (though far from completely lost), but his kind, loving soul most definitely isn’t.  He was speaking through his eyes, and I was looking at him through my awareness with my mind free from thoughts.

When you look at someone free from mind chatter and judgment, you are coming from pure awareness; pure soul.  And the most beautiful part of all is that whoever you look at or observe, you feel the exact same pure awareness coming right back at you, that is beyond words to describe.

This man was exuding love towards his carer and others in his immediate environment, and I was part of that.

So my message is, try seeing past people’s personality, illness and condition.  Look in their eyes and see what feeling is returned to you.

You will feel love radiating from their being, and this is exactly what I felt from this man.

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