I Think, Therefore I Am (The Mind-Body Connection)

(Editor’s note: This article is from a past issue of Brain World magazine. If you enjoy this article, please consider a print or digital subscription!)

In 1637, René Descartes said, “Cogito ergo sum” (“I think, therefore I am”). Originally written in French (“Je pense, donc je suis”), it is best known both in Latin form and as representative of “the mind-body problem” or dualism, a concept intrinsic to modern science and philosophy.

In essence, dualism promotes the idea of isolation and separation in the dynamics between thought and matter, between the cerebral and corporal. A striking example of this thinking is found in traditional allopathic medicine, wherein the human mind and body have been treated as separate entities for the past 400 years or so.

The Quantum Human: Dualism’s Demise

Quantum physics and quantum science are increasingly demonstrating that all matter arises from and is connected to an infinite (and likely unified) field of universal energy, which in its myriad forms creates everything in existence — including us. Physicist David Bohm classified this energy as either invisible (“implicate”) or visible (“explicate”).

Humanity represents a miraculous expression of these energies: We are the implicate energy of mind, and the explicate energy of body; there is no separation. Indeed, we appear to be quantum beings! Mind and body are inextricably connected and interactive, an idea reflective of ancient tribal philosophies. Ironically, what they simply accepted intuitively is now being proven by the very science that rejected their thinking as primitive and backward.

The Mind-Body

The implicate energies of mind — consciousness — comprise three interactive strata: the cognitive conscious, the automatic and autonomic subconscious, and the more ethereal superconscious — the spirit or soul. Living can thus be described as a multitudinous exchange of energies between consciousness and its environment. These energy exchanges create internal energies we call thought. Thoughts in turn create and interact with energies we call feelings, triggering the sensation of energies we call emotions.

The explicate energies of body provide the mind both a residence and vehicle through which to experience the energy exchanges of living. The body conducts incoming energies through our sensory apparatus to our internal processor, the brain. In turn, the mind, via the brain, uses these inputs to generate somatic sensations and conditions within the body, which then feed into the loop of thoughts, feelings, and emotions. This interconnection and communication defines a human being. The mind is the nexus, generating and integrating thoughts, feelings, and emotions with somatic sensations and perceptions, producing what we perceive as reality.

Oops!

While that’s how it all apparently works, it’s not how it all necessarily feels. Duality still holds sway; for example, most people would describe pain as distinct and separate from thoughts and emotions. Yet studies show that 70 to 80 percent of our perception of pain is emotionally generated.

And while most people would acknowledge that pain or illness generally triggers negative thoughts, feelings, and emotions, what many don’t understand is that the opposite is also true: Negative thoughts, feelings, and emotions can and do produce pain and illness. We can and do think, feel, and emote ourselves into mental and or physical well-being or illness. In “The Anatomy of the Spirit,” Caroline Myss described this process as “biography becoming biology”:

As our lives unfold, biological health becomes a living, breathing biographical statement … Every thought you have … has activated a physiological response … [Thoughts] produce biological responses that are stored in our cellular memory … woven into our biological systems …

Today there is an entire science — psychoneuroimmunology — dedicated to the study and understanding of the mind-body dynamic, and in particular the incredible phenomenon of placebo effect, wherein patients manifest curative results in the absence of any “real” medication, solely through the aegis of beliefs and expectations. The latest research suggests that all physical conditions occur as a result of mind and body working together or in antithesis, and therein lies both good and bad news.

The bad news: The subconscious mind — the human computer — will run its programs, positive or negative, on end, and most of us in Western society are subconsciously programmed to focus on the negative, the painful, what’s lacking in life. Thus, we easily fall into reactive and repeating patterns of physical, emotional, and spiritual pain, dis-connection and dis-ease.

The good news: We can take control over this process and reverse it. We can mindfully choose to reprogram our subconscious to be responsive and proactive in how we live; we can choose to focus on health, wellness, strength, and vitality, and the mind will happily inform and infuse the body with that energy and vice-versa.

What is even better news is that this is all so doable using simple, powerful mind-enhancing tools like exercise, hypnotherapy, meditation, therapeutic imagery, EFT, biofeedback, and other methods and traditions that naturally balance and integrate our cognitive energy with our more powerful subconscious energy and our infinitely powerful spiritual energy — through both mind and body — so that our biological biography becomes a mindfully conceived autobiography with a very happy ending —  a long, healthy empowered life!

Try an exercise in quantum mind/body dynamics. Sit quietly and comfortably, close your eyes, release all tension in the jaw and then let your body relax completely, loose and limp from head to toes.

  1. Take 21 deep, gentle breaths; breathing all the way in, all the way out, slowly, deeply, and easily. If you lose count, start over.
  2. Now imagine yourself in a beautiful, peaceful place — indoors or outside, real or imagined, your choice.
  3. Visualize, picture, imagine yourself in perfect health, feeling powerful, vibrant, and happy — stay with it until you actually feel it, and you’re smiling with delight. Repeat once or twice daily for 21 days; enjoy the results! You won’t stop.

John McGrail, Ph.D., is a renowned clinical hypnotherapist, self-improvement expert, spiritual teacher, and author of  “The Synthesis Effect: Your Direct Path to Personal Power and Transformation.”

(Editor’s note: This article is from a past issue of Brain World magazine. If you enjoy this article, please consider a print or digital subscription!)

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