Spirit Mind Versus Body Mind…An Alternative View of Thanksgiving

What are you thankful for? Family, friends, big house, fully laden table? All of the above? But which are you REALLY thankful for? Your answer may reveal the health of your spirit mind and the power of your body mind, according to Little Tree, the five year old at the center of Forrest Carter’s republished book The Education of Little Tree.

Little Tree was orphaned at a young age and taken in by his Appalachian grandparents. His “granpa” was half Cherokee and his “granma” was full Cherokee. Little Tree learned important life lessons from them at their knees, in the woods, and under his grandfather’s tutelage at the family still, considered to produce the best hooch in the county. One lesson in particular was about the value of the spirit mind over the body mind.

Granma said everybody has two minds. One of the minds has to do with the necessaries for body living…She said we had to have that mind so as we could carry on. But she said we had another mind that had nothing atall to do with such. She said it was the spirit mind.

Granma said if you used the body-living mind to think greedy or mean…then you would shrink up your spirit mind to a size no bigger’n a hicor’nut…

Granma said your spirit mind was like any other muscle. If you used it, it got bigger and stronger. She said the only way it could get that way was using it to understand, but you couldn’t open the door to it until you quit being greedy and such with your body mind. Then understanding commenced to take up, and the more you tried to understand, the bigger it got.

Little Tree’s granma then spills the beans on what death is. The body mind dies. The spirit mind does not. So if you die with a big body mind, your spirit mind in the next life is too small to give you understanding to develop the spirit mind. It gets smaller and smaller. But the spirit mind can get so big that you understand all your lives and get to where there is no death at all.

So my wish for your Thanksgiving, and mine, is that you use this day of thanks to develop your spirit mind, to try to understand the mania, the needs, the loves, and the failures around us. As Little Tree says, “I see right out that I was going to commence trying to understand practical everybody, for I sure did’t want to come up with a hickor’nut spirit.”

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About Patti Albaugh

I grew up in Mount Vernon, Ohio, and graduated from Mount Vernon High School in 1965. I have a Bachelor's Degree from Mount Vernon Nazarene University and a Ph.D. from The Ohio State University. I am an Emeritus Professor at Otterbein University. In addition to writing creative nonfiction and fiction, I like genealogy, gardening, travel and Mah Jjong. I currently live in Tucson, Arizona, with my dog Tonto. I am the proud parent of children Justin and Amy and granddaughters Katherine and Zoe.
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