Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Integrating Your Mind and Body


The concept of mind and body integration has been around for centuries and has longly been debated widely by philosophers and scholars alike. The 17th Century philosopher, Rene DesCartes, regarded as the father of modern philosophy boldly claimed "I think, therefore I am." Thus thinking (mind) was equated with being (body). Three centuries passed with this philosophy until another famous philosopher Jean Paul Sartre analyzed DesCarte's statement and dug deeper. "The consciousness that says 'I am' is not the consciousnes that thinks," stated Sartre. Thus began a new dimension of consciousness. If there were nothing but thought in you, you wouldn't even know you were thinking. This new dimension of consciousness and awareness has been proven to reduce stress, increase the immune system, fight disease, and thus slow or even reverse biological aging.

The human mind can be used as our greatest tool and it can also use us to it's disposal if the underlying consciousness provides no awareness of the mind's tricks and manifestations. Considering the mind and body as seperate entities, the body is a molecular field while the mind is a thought field. The interdependent relationship between the two happens constantly for example when a thought arises it precipitates a molecule in the nervous system which then influences the other molecules thoughout the body. When the human awareness is brought brought back to the underlying consciousness, meditation is taking place. How do most human beings attain this dimension? It usually begins with respiration, breathing is the bridge between mind and body, thus productive mind and body integration is usually dependent upon respiration. That's why if you've ever been to a yoga, tai chi or meditation course the instructor will always stress the consistent focus on respiration.

There are many disciplines to practice mind and body integration such as yoga, quigong, akaido and tai chi among others which stress conscious breathing and body movement to bring the attention to the inner energy field. Deepak Chopra M.D., who is author of Grow Younger, Live Longer and Ageless Body, Timeless Mind and pioneer in mind/body medicine scientifically proves mind/body integration is one of ten steps to reverse the aging process. You probably won't become the next curious case of Benjamin Button through meditation and yoga alone but it surely helps slow aging. Should you decide to give meditation a go, remember several things that may help. Focus on respiration constantly and relax when thoughts arise, be aware of the thought and let it pass with each exhalation. The understanding that thoughts pass constantly through the mind is crucial to realize complete awareness of the moment. Listening the the inner energy field of the body is equally, if not more, important as tuning into the exterior environment. You might be surprised how the body reacts when it is listened to. Another way to daily exercise the unique mind/body relationship is when eating or drinking. If you slowly ingest your food and listen to the body instead of the mind, you'll notice you're fulfilled much sooner than usually thought.

The only way any of this will make sense is if you personally try simple mind/body intergration on a daily basis and observe its effect, if any. Remember to focus on breathing, feel your body as a field of energy while listening to it often and realize that your being is not dependent upon your thinking. Happy Discoveries!

1 comment:

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