Checking out – are we sowing the seeds of our own dementia?
Updated: Jan 1, 2018
Checking out is a concept that I had never heard of until around eight years ago. I had for many years been suffering with memory problems for example remembering yesterday was always a struggle and I couldn’t retain anything in my head. I would have to keep checking my diary just to remember what I had organised for today. I would go to a room to get something and when I got here no idea what it was I came to get. I started noticing these symptoms in my forties but they were probably prevalent long before that. Since my teens I had been a regular drinker of caffeine and of alcohol. I would drink caffeine all day and then switch to alcohol in the evenings, seven days a week. I didn’t view myself as dependent on either of these substances, I just “enjoyed” them. In 2007 I started to listen to Serge Benhayon presenting the Ageless Wisdom and in it he talks about what alcohol and caffeine really do to the body and he also introduced me to the concept of checking out, what it was and how it can sow the seed of dementia if you allow checking out to develop too much. At this stage I had not met Serge Benhayon or done any of his courses, but what he was presenting felt true to me. I had no doubt that the alcohol and caffeine were harming me deeply and I made the choice to cut them out of my diet for good. The checking out information also felt like a possible truth. My mother and grandmother had both suffered with dementia and my mother’s psychiatrist had warned me that I was therefore in a high risk of developing dementia myself. I therefore chose to try the Gentle Breath meditation and to see if that helped me in any way. It helped me in more ways than I could have anticipated. In addition to starting to learn to be consciously present I also discovered that I had been living without a connection to the true me. That feeling I had lived with all my life of ‘there must be more than this’ was caused by this lack of connection to myself, in which as I discovered, I was only existing rather than living the life that was there to be lived. Words are really inadequate to explain the power of the gentle breath meditation but it is simple to test out for oneself.
Checking out is something most of us spend a lot of time doing without even knowing we are doing it. So what is checking out and why is it so harmful for us?
To understand checking out it helps to understand presence first because in essence it is our presence that we are checking out from. Presence is being completely with ourselves in what we are doing whilst we are doing it. The mind and the body are working together in union, so as Serge Benhayon puts it: what we are thinking we are doing and what we are doing we are thinking.
In other words, no extraneous thoughts are coming in to distract us. For example, walking in presence, we are aware in our bodies of our every movement and of feeling our feet as they touch the ground and we are also aware of everything around us. If a thought comes in about something that happened yesterday or perhaps about a meeting next week, this triggers us to “check out” from that presence and therefore we no longer have the mind and the body working together as one..
When we check out, could we be sowing the seed of our future dementia? Could dementia be the loss of the ability to be present, to the point that we are no longer there? Or to put it another way is dementia where we check out so much that we cannot check back in again?
Once I learned what being present felt like, I realised that I was actually living checked out almost all the time. I couldn’t drink caffeine and be present; it changed me into a more racy, on edge person. I couldn’t drink alcohol and be present; it numbed me and I realised that I was also using television to numb myself rather than be present. And so the problem was very much larger than I had thought and I could see where it was going to lead if I didn’t start making different choices.
From my own experience I can state that it is very possible to come back from living in a predominantly checked out state and thereby reduce our chances of becoming another dementia statistic.
The Gentle Breath Meditation and Conscious Presence are the tools that will assist us with this. The Developing Conscious Presence Meditation is a great place to start and learn more about conscious presence and how to incorporate it into our daily activities.
The Truth about Dementia Research
Dementia is a hugely costly disease for society and both the disease itself and the costs of managing it are escalating fast and are already at a crazily high level at US $818 Billion1 according to The World Health Organisation.
So far as I can discern, no one or organisation is looking for an answer. Of course there is research happening but what is this research looking for? Is it looking to really understand dementia so that we can all learn from it and no longer have it as part of our lives in the future? Or on the other hand is it looking for ways to support people to live longer with the disease with slightly alleviated symptoms? The way we have set the world up is to find solutions that make things better rather than to truly understand what is going on rather than to seek true answers in other words. Understanding the difference between a solution and an answer is key. A solution is always aiming to improve whereas an answer completely heals.
A couple of questions that answering may help us to expose why we are in the situation we are in with regards to research.
Who funds the research that is going on and what is their motive?
What if the true answer to dementia held no profit opportunity for the pharmaceutical companies whatsoever?
The way that business is structured it would be true to say that profits come first and people second and this set up cannot but help to manifest itself in dementia research. But what if we the customers of such businesses are asking for alleviated symptoms and the ability to live longer with the disease? Are we demanding true answers that might mean us having to change the way we live or do we want to be able to carry on doing all the same behaviours that led us to the dementia in the first place? The truth is we get the medicine that we ask for.
The Holy Grail for the pharmaceutical companies is to find a dementia drug that keeps people alive longer with the disease but at the same time improves their symptoms and their quality of life. The potential profits are beyond my estimation abilities, but they will have done the sums. But who can blame them when all they are doing is what we are saying we want them to do?
So far as I am aware I am the only person who has claimed to have reversed out of dementia, a disease considered by medicine as irreversible. Whilst it is easy to understand that I would be written off as a fruit and nut case, surely with dementia costing the UK alone £26 billion a year (2), it would be worth investigating my claim no matter how sceptical one was? I have written to the previous prime minister, the health secretary, the chief medical officer, the previous world dementia envoy and the CEO of the Alzheimer’s Society, offering each my services and to meet them to discuss. None have responded directly or taken up the offer to meet me. With the scale of the problem and the costs to society this surprises me.