The easiest way to understand the mind-body connection isn’t through researching endless forms of scientific data formed through “clinical studies”, but rather through self-observation. By simply turning inward and self-reflecting we can use our intuitive ability to observe what’s going on inside of us at any given moment, but especially in moments of strong emotional reactions, major life events, and while experiencing stress around something. The saying “as above, so below”, which reflects the relationship of a higher source on a lower source of the same nature, and the inner with the outer, shows us that physical manifestations of any kind are associated to whole processes as the relationship we naturally form with life itself. While it is possible for illness, disease, and cancer to form without an associated thought or emotional state, it’s still due to what we exist in proximity of, or consume as artificial ingredients in our diet, which comes about by how we set-up and develop our lifestyle. Most physical maladies as well as superior forms of health, both mentally and physically, come through behaviors we employ routinely that stem largely from attitudes we take on, emotional states we live out of, and the behaviors we employ and activities we naturally engage in as a result.
While we often don’t think there’s a direct correlation between emotional states and physical manifestations, there actually is a very direct and immediate connection that we’re always in the process of “experiencing”, and we have only to become self-aware in order to recognize it. Probably the easiest way to understand the relationship between thoughts, emotions, and the physical body, is to notice where emotions are experienced in the body as sensations. Anytime you’re having a distinct emotional charge, for any reason, stop in the midst of it, shift your attention from the outer cause, and turn inward, and notice what’s happening inside your body. Where in your body are you noticing distinct sensations of some sort? After you’ve located where in your body the emotion is active, notice the nature of the sensation, how would you describe it? As tingly, buzzy, jittery, stabbing, fluttery, butterflies, sinking, rising and expanding, heavy, swirling, or aroused? Notice that not only is it located in your body, but it has distinct qualities to it. Now, allow yourself to notice that emotions are always felt in the torso of the body, and seldom ever in the head or extremities, though these sensations may follow as deferred responses, or as a chain of association that originates in the torso area.
Once you’ve identified where the emotion is located in your body, place your attention inwardly and simply become present with the emotion, and the feeling it gives you, and notice what thoughts as memories of some form are associated to that same feeling. What is it that you start immediately referencing and thinking about in response to that emotion? Notice that whatever is happening in the present that you think is causing the emotional reaction, is actually doing so only because of how it’s associated to a past event that’s connected to it by the emotion itself. They share the same emotion as a feeling. That same idea (as the memory) being played out in the present “triggers” the emotional reaction “in you” in a spontaneous and automatic fashion. The memory then becomes the mental filter you look through to give the same meaning as the past event had to the present event. You tell yourself, this means the same thing as that, and you react in the same manner, making it out in your mind to be true, and therefore real. Emotions “live in us”, and we hold them as the memory associated with them in our body as tension. As patterns (memory) that provides us with instant realities as the outward expression of internal imaginings.
As you grow and move through maturity, you’ll also begin noticing that you tend to live most of your life out of a only handful of emotions. You’re in the same type of mood most of the time. This doesn’t mean that you don’t experience the full range of possible emotional states; it simply means that for the most part, in your everyday life, as a general rule, you live out of and create your experiences out of the same type of emotional states. Which means, not only is your perception and how you interpret events to give them meaning born out of these same emotions as natural expressions of those states, but it also shows you how and where you’re consistently being stimulated in your body, forming tension as memory, that eventually manifests in the organs in that same region or general area.
The memories that we use to form our basic attitude and perceptions, which are married to the emotions being experienced when we formed those memories, connect us to those same type of events and behaviors in others and in everything around us, that keep us living out of the perceptual lens of those emotions, accumulating more of them while building them into our muscle, as tension that produces natural behaviors, as well as stimulate certain parts of our body with the same sensation forming tension patterns that bear a direct influence on the reproduction of our molecular structure, producing physical correspondences that are either disease oriented and deteriorating, or health promoting and rejuvenating. Our health, in the general sense (outside of genetic heredity) is a direct and equal reflection of our mind as our mood and the perceptions that naturally issue forth out of them. These are always acting in relationship with each other, and not only influencing each other, but acting to express the same feeling state “through” each other.
Allow yourself to notice that while we may have full memory of all or most of the events of our life tucked away in some form of memory bank that can be accessed in calm states of objective recollection, for the most part what we call memories, and the ones that are easily and consistently recalled at will, are the events of our life that had strong emotional impact, and the interpretation we formed as a way of making sense of them, became the primary mental filter and “model of the world” that not only structured our mind by way of them, but reprogrammed and restructured our cellular memory as an analogy and by way of the emotions that formed the chemistry of our body, altering our state (of mind) and the state of our cells, affecting our genetic expression.
The state we use to create and maintain our body out of as the chemical, biological, and energetic (vibratory) equivalent, is produced by the attitudes we live out of, which act to produce more and more experiences of the same nature as the memories being used to propagate them. This “reproduction” of the same living states, intensifies and seats the programming into our mind and body as unification brought about through their relationship as a form of marriage. Two aspects join together, mind merges into and is consumed by the body, becoming one with each other, and acting on each other to stimulate whole bio-chemical processes that act as the programming for cellular regeneration, that eventually forms coherence by reshaping the body to be the equivalent (same frequency) of the mind, connected by the emotional state they share in common, which reformulates both into a new combination forming a reality as a new variation comprised of both. Following the same principle as a marriage that produces offspring through the DNA of both the husband and wife coming together and forming a new genetic combination as a mixture of both that produces an offspring that shares qualities and physical features of both parents. The mind and the body, the inner and the outer, form new combinations as a formula for expressing the inward state as outward behaviors that produce the reality of that state as an actual manifestation.
So as you go through your day-to-day life, stop periodically, relax your mind and your body, and simply self- reflect while subduing the anxious story as a “broken record” always playing in your head in an attempt to justify and explain why you do what you do in order to be alright keeping it – and simply notice how your thoughts, the stimulus from outside of you, your feeling-emotions, perception as a storyline that interprets everything to create a consistent experience, your behaviors and the activities you engage in – all have in common by the relationship they form. Notice how they play off of each other and always act in a unified and congruent manner.
When you learn how to intuitively make connections that you don’t normally have an awareness of, you can begin to realize the real nature of the mind-body connection, and how one is always the direct mirror reflection of the other in the same reality. You can’t display depressed emotions while thinking happy thoughts. When you’re feeling happy, you can’t access memories of unhappy experiences. You can only access memories that match “happy”, memories you created and acquired while being happy. If you’re happy and someone around you starts talking about unhappy stuff, or triggers a different emotion in you and changes how you feel, then you begin thinking the type of thoughts, or replaying the type of memories that match that feeling.
The thoughts we think and their emotional equivalent, shape the cellular structure of the body by influencing genetic memory by saturating the bloodstream with hormones as emotional chemistry that alter the state of the cell and changing how it behaves. The memory we form through our primary conditioning, formed partially through our genetic expression as inherited traits, acts to first shape our subconscious mind as an adaptation that modifies it according to the physical conditions it exists within, forming the initial patterns of the mind that become the mental paradigm as the marriage between mind (perception) and body (behavior as personality) joined by the emotional state that binds them together as a unified mechanism. Make changes in one, and it systematically produces an equivalent change in the other two.
Through self-awareness and our ability to see the relationship that exists between our thoughts – emotions – and behaviors, we can begin taking control of the process and directing it in an intentional manner. We can begin choosing new memories that employ new attitudes to shape our perceptual lens and learn how to tell a new story about ourselves, about others, and about the way things are. We can embody new ways of being out of those memories that will literally reshape how we experience life. We can reformulate our mind and the memories that act as primary perceptual patterns that are currently creating our experience of reality, and begin instead identifying with new sets of memories and learning how to tell the story of those memories that cause us to feel different, act different, and experience a new array of emotions, all of which transform our perceptual lens, and begin seeing and experiencing life in a whole new way! We can also learn how to reshape the same memories by interpreting and re-imagining them through a new perspective and attitude, changing how we experience them and what type of story we begin telling out of them as a result.
Healing. Like all things, begins with awareness of our own tendencies and the patterns as a chain of association between an idea, the thought process that ensues from it, the emotions it stimulates, and how we behave that shapes our life. Once we can “see” what we’re actually doing from an objective perspective, we no longer engage in it automatically (without awareness) and in that moment we realize that we have a choice. Because it no longer renders us unconscious where we go into an automatic program, we can choose what we focus on, what we think, how we feel, and the story we begin running through our mind as a way of creating our experience that simultaneously creates our physical body by way of, or as the direct equivalent of our mental-emotional paradigm. Just as we heal our mental patterns, we heal the physical patterns they produce, which transforms us at the cellular level by reforming the chemistry of emotions.
All healing begins with awareness of unconscious tendencies, that loosen their grip just through recognition, while opening up a whole new array of possibilities for what type of experiences we want to create in place of what was previously an automated program of reactive behaviors that left us with no choice and simply repeated old and worn patterns. How we feel is a reflection of what we think about. The chemistry of our body produced by hormones, not only regulates our “state” to match our (imagined) environment, but also controls all the major functions of the body such as heart rate, breathing rate, blood pressure, hunger, thirst, sex drive, diverting blood flow to different regions of the body, digestion, sleep, metabolism, assimilation of nutrients, temperature, producing the “fight or flight” response producing stress, and so on. How we think and feel and what we picture in our mind as an imagined reality, influences and simultaneously regulate the biological processes of our body which manifest as health and homeostasis, or as the symptoms of illness and disease.
This is why conventional medicine doesn’t “heal” anything, but concentrates instead on medicating and managing the symptoms, or surgically altering, repairing or removing damaged parts, because it doesn’t take into consideration the mental and emotional aspects that are producing the symptoms, behaviors and lifestyle that result in the physical manifestation. Most illness and disease that come on and are developed throughout our life are a result of our lifestyle, and are produced by the mental and emotional paradigm we live out of which results in our lifestyle.
Many of what we deem “hereditary” issues is actually due to the fact that we are conditioned to the same lifestyle and behavioral tendencies as our parents, and are not actually due to genes at all. Our genes, like every aspect of life, are not stationary and fixed ideas, but are living, growing and evolving based on how they are exchanging information with everything around them and using that information to modify its structure that affects how it regenerates. Our body is undergoing a constant form of regeneration as transformation that evolves it to new forms of expression. What we think, how we feel, what we eat, the air we breathe, the people we interact with, the emotions we experience, the electromagnetic fields were surrounded with, the chemicals that we build our houses, cars and furnishings out of . . . are all exchanging energy as information that re-chemicalizes and restructures the cells of the body causing them to express in the manner they are that’s producing our overall health. To change our health, we have to work with the components affecting and comprising it. If we only work with the end result as the physical aspect, then we’re left managing and manipulating symptoms without ever identifying or correcting their cause.
In this approach, healing as transformation of the relationship that exists between all aspects of our mind and body never take, place, and so the symptoms that result from our physical condition remain intact and have to be “treated”, usually by regulating them with a chemical cocktail of prescription drugs, which merely masks the cause as a lifestyle issues making it even more difficult to identify. In some cases, when gene expression is altered or forced into remission in one area of the body, it simply begins expressing in other areas, producing a new array of symptoms that are born of the same fundamental cause. At other times, the emotional impact of a medical diagnosis, delivered with a full description of the symptoms of the disease, anchor that emotional state and the reality inherent in it within the mind of the individual, and they begin cooperating by co-creating the disease with the doctor that diagnosed it. By looking for the lifestyle issues associated with the behaviors producing the illness or disease, and finding the mental and emotional component driving the behavior, we can cure the disease by altering the personal paradigm that’s ultimately producing it. This can often be achieved through natural means that keep the person with the problem fully empowered in their own life to willingly initiate the process of transformation that will simultaneously transform their health by way of their own self-directed actions.
Transpersonal Psychologist, Mind-Body Medicine Consultant, and Spiritual Teacher