The Mind Body Spirit Connection

By Val Silver

What is the mind body spirit connection? 

The mind body spirit connection describes the three always-entwined aspects of oneself. The physical, mental, and spiritual combine to make us who we wholly are.  We speak of body, mind, and spirit as separate parts or aspects of ourselves, but this is more for convenience sake and having a frame of reference. The mind is not separate from the body any more than a toe or a liver is separate from the body. 

The mind body spirit connection is a wondrous thing. When you understand, support, and tap into its power, you access the three pillars of holistic healing and are better able to manifest your true desires. It inspires and informs your experiences.

Ancient peoples understood that a healthy mind helps create a healthy body and a healthy body is important if you want a healthy mind.

Even when it appears that only the body, or part of the body, needs healing, the cause may trace back to the mind or spirit. When that is the case, healing the mind promotes healing of the body.  Likewise, an dis-ease in the body can cause disruptions in the mind. These understandings have shaped modern day mind body medicine as well. For example, medical researchers know that mental stress is a contributing cause behind the majority of diseases.

But there is more to it.

For thousands of years, ancient peoples also believed that each living being is a connected part of 'all that is' in the web of life.  You could no more separate a sentient being from the whole of creation than you could separate mind from body or spirit. To strengthen and reinforce this understanding, they took part in elaborate rituals to make the mind and spirit work to heal the body. 

In the East, practices such as chi gong, tai chi, and yoga developed as practices to reinforce the mind, body, spirit connection.

Examples of the Mind Body Spirit Connection

Next time you feel stressed, notice your physical, mental, and emotional symptoms.  What are you saying to yourself? What emotions are you experiencing? What sensations is your body experiencing? You may have sweaty hands, narrowed vision, and a faster heartbeat. Your mind may be racing, feeling panicked, or angry. Your prayers, if you can pray them, may be furtive and self-focused. Meditation? Forget about it. However, when you feel peaceful and expansive in your mind, your body is relaxed, you can breathe. You may feel connected to your intuition, to 'all that is' and the divine. You may feel inspired to offer gratitude, praise, to sing and dance.

Here are a few more examples:

  • Consider when you hurt a part of your body or get sick. Your whole being is affected. The pain in a stubbed toe radiates through your entire body. It is difficult to think of anything else.
  • Consider what happens when you hear really good news. You feel excited, your body feels supercharged with energy.
  • Notice how a baby's whole being moves and responds with every nuance of emotion and physical sensation. 

Mind Body Dualism

In the Middle Ages, beliefs about the mind-body-spirit connection began to shift. 17th century philosopher Rene Descartes popularized the notion that the mind and body are separate entities. His theory of mind body dualism gained a following, thus influencing religious theology and medicine. Our conventional allopathic medical model of treating parts instead of the whole person developed out of this philosophy. 

Despite this erroneous teaching, language continued to reflect the innate knowledge people have of their mind body spirit connection.

You have probably heard or used expressions like these:

  • "He has a broken spirit" 
  • "I knew it in my gut" 
  • "I feel it in my soul." 
  • "I was so scared/excited my hair stood on end.
  • "My heart is bursting with love" or "breaking with grief".
  • "I'm so nervous I have butterflies in my stomach."

Before learning to mask their feelings, children demonstrate how the body and mind integrate in perfect synergy. You can watch how quickly their emotions ebb and flow by what their bodies are doing. Shrieking screams, tears, red face and flailing arms and legs clearly express feelings of anger and isolation. Sparkling eyes, full rosy cheeks, cackling laughter, and clapping hands express their delight.

mind body spirit connection diagram

Is the Mind Over the Body?

It is a well-known fact that our minds create our bodies. The nonconscious parts of the brain govern automatic biological processes without need of the thinking mind. As we introduce emotions into the mix, the brain produces chemicals which go into the body and affect its functioning. For example: stressful thoughts cause a rise in cortisol, which prepares the body for fright or fright at the expense of immunity and healing. Positive thoughts cause a rise in feel-good chemicals that induce relaxation and healing. 

The thinking conscious mind can cause voluntary responses. You decide to hold your breath, you temporarily stop breathing. You decide to raise your arm, the signal is sent to the muscles and it goes up. 

Experts once believed that the mind was just another name for your brain. (Some still do.) But research is showing that your mind is in your body and even around your body. 

Although your brain exerts a powerful influence over your body, there is much more to the mind-body connection than a master-slave relationship. The belief that mind powers and levels of consciousness belong to the brain alone is a belief of the past. 

Human intelligence involves much more than the cognitive intelligence of the brain. Not only does the brain communicate with the body, parts of the body communicates with the brain. And so do the microbes living inside us. Each affects the other on a continual basis.

Cells and the Mind Body Spirit Connection

Cell biologist Bruce Lipton, PhD likens cells to miniature people.  Since they have the same systems and receptors as skin, they perceive their environment and the community of cells at large. Their environment is affected by nutrients, toxins, and the perceptions of the individual. This means that our beliefs, attitudes, thoughts, and feelings affect our biology for better or worse.  These factors influence how genes express themselves more than the DNA. It is not a matter of nature versus nurture, but nurture over nature. 

Cells are constantly communicating with each other via photons of light in the layer of the human energy field right outside the body. They receive information from the brain and energy field and respond accordingly. When we experience an emotion, our cells experience the same emotion through energy vibrations and changes in body chemistry. Each cell in the body functions independently and as a member of the community that makes up your body.

The heart-brain connection

Your heart has thousands of its own neurons that initiate communication with the brain via the vagus nerve and vice versa.

In mammals, both brain and heart are involved in receiving, decoding and processing intuitive information. However, it appears that the heart receives this information first. Unlike Westerners who place great importance on thinking and learning via the brain, some indigenous cultures teach youngsters to perceive and think with their hearts. Only when they are older do they learn to access information with their brains as well. 

Did you know that your heart has a much larger electro-magnetic field than your brain? The following heart intelligence video explains how coherence, the unity or alignment of the heart with the brain, elicits a peaceful state that positively affects you and others. 

Scientists have also found brain-like structures in other systems throughout the body. The gut is sometimes called the second brain. Researchers have also discovered that the billions of microbes residing in the gut and throughout the body may exert the greatest influence over us of all. They impact the workings of the body and communicate directly with the brain. 

The Spirit or Soul

Whether we have an aspect of ourselves called 'soul' or 'spirit' and whether or not that 'soul' connects to a Consciousness beyond ourselves is hotly debated.

It has been a long-held belief among humans that we have a soul, a spark of the Divine within us. This spark connects us to 'all that is'. It is our true nature, our higher nature. This nature is vibrationally higher than the self-serving, yet necessary, ego. It is our authentic nature of Love. Through our spirits we forgive, show compassion, evolve as individuals, and feel the call to live our life's purposes.

A popular theory is that your personal local mind is connected to a universal mind. The local mind is over the body and the nonlocal mind is beyond personal consciousness. It is the infinite, nature, the universe. We are all subject to its laws.

There are many names for universal mind and the scope attributed to it. Some call it God. Others call it Nature or the Universe, the Field, or Infinite Intelligence. It is believed that this is the realm of all knowledge and our connection to 'all that is'. 

We can feel the Oneness of the Field and tap into its wisdom at the superconscious level of mind

Manifesting with the Mind Body Spirit Connection

We have much to learn about harnessing the powerful potential of the mind body spirit connection for accessing intuition, healing ourselves, and manifesting our heart desires. 

The mind-body works in mysterious, often unpredictable, ways. People who have experienced spontaneous healing know that healing can and does happen without any conscious effort on our part.  This is called the placebo effect. The same holds true of people who believed they are cursed. Through the power of the nocebo effect, they might act like zombies, writhe in pain, or be scared to death from a suggestion and the subconscious belief in its power.

Researchers are working hard to solve these mysteries. In addition to exploring the benefits of heart-brain coherence, recent scientific discoveries on the ever-changing quality of the brain have led to a lot of research on how to rewire the brain for healing, achieving goals, becoming more compassionate, and so on.

Tapping Into Your Mind-body Connection

Individuals and metaphysical practitioners use techniques to access the wisdom of the mind, body, spirit connection. How successful and accurate these methods are varies with skill, the ability to relax and achieve coherence, belief systems, being detached from outcome, and perhaps elements we are not yet aware of. 

Several subconscious mind power techniques are popular tools for deprogramming and shifting outdated patterns and limiting beliefs. They offer new suggestions to your mind, neutralize the charge of troubling emotions so that mental, spiritual, and physical energy can be freed up. Together with mental rehearsal to practice new ways of being and taking action, the brain and body have the energy, circuitry, and experience needed to create a healthier, happier future. 

Examples of mind-body manifestation techniques include:

Some people use muscle testing or pendulums as a way to access the wisdom of the subconscious for information about anything from which remedies and techniques are best to which foods are harmful, and so on.

Summary of the Mind Body Spirit Connection

We have much to learn about how the mind, body, and spirit are one, as well as how we are connected to the greater whole. 

Although your brain exerts a powerful influence over your body, there is much more to the mind-body connection than a master-slave relationship. The belief that mind powers and levels of consciousness belong to the brain alone is a belief of the past. 

The mind body spirit connection is more than just an abstraction or a way to get what you want. It is who you are as a wondrous whole being. When you see yourself as a whole being instead of conglomerate of parts, the philosophy of holistic healing and health make perfect sense. The need to support and care for your whole self becomes as obvious as the need to feed, clothe and wash your body. When you love and care for mind, body and spirit, your whole self will benefit. Others benefit as well. 

Want more on the mind body spirit connection and holistic healing for yourself and our world? Join Val's email community and get these free gifts.

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Mind Body Spirit Connection page updated 01/2021

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Source: Heart Math Institute

For Educational Purposes Only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult with your health provider before using natural remedies and/or complementary therapies if you are pregnant, nursing, or you are being treated for a medical condition. Be aware that certain herbs and supplements interact with medications.

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