Why the mind/body division is no longer useful

by Penny Boreham

When we are emotionally distressed, numb and disconnected from others, when we are suffering from severe fear, anxiety or are deeply depressed we consider, and are often told, that these are signs that all is not well with our mental health, and our minds.

These symptoms are seen as separate from others, such as irritable bowel syndrome, arrythmia or asthma, which are seen as signs that all is not well in our bodies and the organs of our bodies.

Now with new breakthroughs in our knowledge about the interconnectedness of the brain and the body it is becoming clearer than ever that a mind/body division is no longer useful or valid.

We are learning now for example how the brain is an organ that is interwoven with the whole body and all its systems, how the body and its organs are constantly influencing the brain. There is a dense and complex system of interconnectivity that defies categorisation and separation.

Our whole nervous system is constantly in a state of flux, ever changing. As you are reading this blog new pathways are forming in your brain, there is an active dynamic continually in process.  This means that our nervous systems are susceptible to all influences, both negative and positive.

At two extremes our whole system can become either overwhelmed and manic, or shut down and rigid, but then when it is in a more balanced and integrated state we sense a feeling of peace, calm and spaciousness and of being really connected within ourselves and to each other.

The secret to finding our way to that more integrated state of being is to listen to our nervous systems. We have to understand that it is all connected and those symptoms always defined as “mental” and of the mind are indeed just as much part of our bodies and this is because they are one and the same thing.

As Peter Levine says (quoting DH Lawrence); “the body-unconscious is where life bubbles up in us”.

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