Know Your Body – Know Your Mind – Know Yourself
Paradoxically, the mind can be described but not “scientifically” explained. We experience everything, including stress, with our mind. It would help to know our mind to better understand stress.
Like energy, the mind cannot be accurately measured. The only evidence we have that it exists is our own subjective experiences we have with it and the work it leads us towards doing. Where it
Our mind is all that we are and all we really have.
Philosophically, the mind is a combination of Will (Fire),
Intellect (Air) and Feeling (Water), which altogether,
housed within our being as a whole form Consciousness
(Earth) – the capability of being self-aware – something
which is much more than the Brain alone can hold.
gets the energy to function, how it conceives ideas, how it interprets the impressions it gets from our senses can at best, only be explained philosophically; the general scientific “belief” being, that it has something to do with the Brain, which in itself is a non-scientific conclusion.
In order to protect itself from unsubstantiated speculation, modern science tends to associate it’s reasoning around physical evidence only, which when it comes to the mind, is largely circumstantial. The main evidence that would tie mental activity to the physical matter of the Brain comes from the fact that when there are physical injuries to the Brain there are often corresponding mental impairments. This conclusion has merit but, it falls very short of explaining what the mind itself is.
The Traditional Versus The Modern View – Prove Them If You Can!
In regards to the essence of what the mind is, traditional thought is far more complex than it is often given credit for. In both the Eastern and Western Mystical and Herbal traditions there is general agreement that consciousness, mental activity, memory, emotions, thought, dreams – all that has to do with the mind, are believed to be housed in the physical Heart. From the Heart the “mind” uses the Brain as a tool to manage all aspects of the body as well as certain mental tasks and mundane memory storage functions. How and why this is possible is tied to the belief that the “Spirit” and “Soul” connect to the body directly through the Heart, giving the faculty a lot more potential than mere flesh could ever provide. Look at it this way; of what use would your cell phone be without what it accesses from outside of itself from the invisible airwaves and how much more potential does it have because of it?
Whereas some have postulated that the DNA is the software of the physical body, the traditional view workably marries science with spiritual concepts to explicitly state that the Spirit imparts the power of life into the Soul which in turn animates (literally meaning “being with soul”) all aspects of the physical body, making physical existence and awareness possible. Therefore the state of the physical body affects the ability of the mind to function within it – a sound mind in a sound body.
In the absence of a better scientific explanation, this, for the time being is about as close as it gets to explaining life, our ability to function and reason using our faculties while alive.
Furthermore, traditional philosophy substantiates that the Heart is regarded as the center of thought by the fact that the remedies that have been traditionally used to help the mind are often Heart and even Kidney related. This is something to think about. Other remedies used to assist the mind when it finds itself in distress have also been remedies directly associated with organ functions that at first might not appear to have anything directly to do with the Brain or Mind at all. Rather than address the Brain, these remedies addressed the body’s support systems; the systems that make and keep the blood, and other bodily fluids fortified and clean, preserving and restoring mental clarity and emotional calm as they do. Non-recognition of these facts by some does not equate to a lacking in soundness of principle or non-effectiveness in application of these principles.
The symbol to the left is the Caduceus of Hermes. In the West it traditionally represents highest wisdom; the understanding and crossover of the physical and non-physical aspects of existence. And, in the context of healing, because it was understood for millennia that healing requires a rational understanding of both universal spiritual concepts together with sound physical knowledge, it was adopted as the universal symbol of the healing arts; modality and conflicts of interest notwithstanding.
Healing Is More Art Than Science
There are at least three things that get in the way of a more complete understanding of life and health; the exclusion of:
Science is a great tool – a logical and methodical thought process intended to preserve objectivity that is not at odds with anything and should be respected. It is limited only by the prejudice of it’s user. The scientific method is nothing more than a formalized, disciplined thought process conceived at a time when the bluff of Western superstition had finally played itself out.
At that time in the West the contemplation of Nature became more physical evidence based and less superstitious speculation. It came at the right time too; giving everyone a much needed break from blind, baseless assertions based on misinterpreted spiritual concepts. If this were the case only among the ignorant it would have already been bad enough but, even those in the universities of the time held and taught falsehoods based on blind, misinformed Western half-beliefs. Healers like Paracelsus were few and for his attempts at trying to enlighten the ignorant was himself murdered.
Although measuring Nature physically often explains the how of things, the why often remains just out of reach, leading to still more ongoing, nearly endless research. Nothing is wrong with research. But, to prejudice the outcome of scientific investigation to satisfy a stubborn insistence that the answer to life has to be confined to strictly chemical and mathematical terms from within the physical matter itself, on the one hand prostitutes the science and on the other limits the potential scope of the science.
That said, it is good to realize that science is constantly researching to find a definitive answer to “why,” especially in matters of health, where it is generally not to be found because, to date, life itself cannot be defined within strictly physical or even scientific terms. That in itself is the limitation and scope of science as it is currently defined and what makes healing an art more than a science.
Aldous Huxley stated that, “facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.” Science cannot and should not be held responsible for facts ignored. It is the people using the scientific method with prejudice that are responsible for omissions and solutions circumvented because they cannot come to terms with them philosophically, politically or economically. This is why the term, “scientifically proven,” especially when used to sell something, is often misleading and rendered meaningless.
Not being able to define something does not mean it does not exist
Every person on Earth is actively experiencing and consciously interacting with life at this very moment. This is possible only because we exist and are aware of our existence within Nature. The physical reality of our existence is self evident and physically measurable. The awareness of our existence, although equally obvious is difficult to measure accurately because it is not an entirely physical experience. Still, these facts do not need to be proven as they are beyond provability. Should our explanations for existence be insufficient to explain the totality of our experience, then our paradigm needs a rethink, not Nature.
The lack of an “accepted” scientific explanation and not being scientifically measurable does not equate to the non-existence of what many experience. This in itself is a huge philosophical limitation of the main method we rely upon to explain things. This means that it is okay to question it and those who use it. Obviously, there is more than one way of exploring and explaining existence besides the “approved” method.
The nature of Nature or, “life” itself, being outside of the scope of our measurable three dimensional reality, places it beyond scientific reach, keeping us curious and continually searching. That we feel and think is fact yet, neither psychology nor chemistry can fully explain it. This is the threshold between physical science and mysticism. However, science is the late comer; mysticism has always been.
Science has afforded us some real perspective; a chance to step back to re-examine things. Whereas in the past, ignorance, politics and religious zeal had reduced valid mysticism to superstition – at present politics, greed and conflicts of interest seem to be eroding scientific credibility – at least as it pertains to the healing arts.
It has nothing to do with the fact that herbalism, acupuncture, homeopathy and others are not valid healing arts; it’s that they get in the way of enormous profits. Because they straddle the physics and metaphysics of existence, the limitations of science combined with prejudice are used against them more than the evidence of their practical effectiveness. Science freed of conflict of interest could be easily used to explain and validate them. Instead tainted science is used to attack them and politics is used to suppress them.
It Comes Down To Energy And Matter
At its most basic, physical Nature consists of matter and energy. The matter is obvious and measurable – the energy, even though it is the greater part of it, is not. All anyone needing proof of this has to do is look at a picture of an atomic blast. That energy release is coming from a single atom. After that, it would be hard to argue that what had previously been invisible as latent energy is not greater than the matter that had contained it.
It could be argued that the matter precipitated out of the energy to contain itself but, that is a whole other discussion.
The combination of matter and energy produce an indestructible, infinitely recyclable substance capable of bearing life. (Atoms and known sub-atomic particles are not intended here, what they are made of is. If they were the prime matter they could not be broken down further or be destructible.) The Order that ultimately forms them into animate life and the environment that sustains it are both scientifically unexplainable and yet, having an appreciation of it is at the core of healing because it is that Order and the environment that has come out of It that must be respected and understood to successfully heal. We call it Nature.
Knowingly identifying, feeding, capturing, containing and directing the energies within living organisms is the essence of healing. Whereas modern medicine often uses brute force which often carries consequences, the alternative view seeks to be compliant with the order of living energies. That compliance is not based on blind superstition. It is based on scientific observations made over thousands of years that have resulted in consistently workable healing methods that in the end are easier, less intrusive, more workable and less destructive.
Nothing can give what it does not have; life only comes from life. To be life bearing, matter and energy must be alive therefore, all things, being made from them, are alive. Nothing is truly dead only more or less active. From minerals to human beings, life is conscious and intelligent. Without these fundamental properties, effects are not possible. Biology, chemistry, physics, etc., reliably measure those effects but not what causes them.
Again, the sciences can only measure what life does but, not what life itself is. Science is capable of analyzing and measuring matter but, ironically it cannot conclusively explain how it may have come into being. Similarly, science is also very capable of measuring the effects or work being done by energy but, is not able to measure or even define the energy itself. This is not a word game. These are facts. It is considerations like these that turn science into art.
Mysticism is where science and eternal spiritual concepts meet and sometimes out of ignorance or arrogance clash. As science did not conceive itself, science can thank mysticism for it’s origins and existence. And, mysticism can thank science for freeing it of superstition.