Mind, Body, Spirit Connection
Connection Between the Mind, Body, and Spirit
The connection between the mind and body has been studied for years. But the third component, the spirit, was known to mystics eons before moderns began taking it up about 20 years ago. Perhaps it was thought too otherworldly to discuss. But I have always believed that the spirit or soul is a natural part of the matter we term as life.
We live in our bodies for the length of our life. I've witnessed the spirit leaving the body; it is like a light bulb that has been switched off or like the eyes becoming flat lined. I've never told anyone about this and now realize that I should have told everyone who stood around my father's hospital bed as he lay trying to breathe. When his struggle ended, the machine started screaming and I took him into my arms and whispered in his ear; "It's just ten minuets to six, Dad, and you're just in time for the Lord's supper." Then I looked into his eyes and saw the sparkle depart, as the after breath left his body.
I've also seen the light coming into the body of a baby through its eyes. I was holding my month old daughter when I saw what I believed was the entrance of life expanding and entering her pupils. It was years before my father's death but only moments after my mother-in-law's passing. Years later I would read about the timing of this phenomenon; that it could be up to 2 or 3 months or so until a life would enter a body.
Now that we've explored the entrance and exit of life from the body. Let's examine life in the body and how the spirit and mind connect and the benefits or negatives result.
Positive and Negative
Music comes to mind when we see people dance; both music and the dance evoke the spiritual in our mind and body. There is a freedom of movement and we are apt to feel good when we hear music or move our body in rhythm to its beat.
In a recent column of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, by Laura Weiss of The Philadelphia Inquirer, a volunteer group called Musicians on Call is highlighted as providing music to patients to help them through various health problems. Lynn Schuchter, hematology oncology chief at the Penn hospital is quoted in the article as saying that she finds the music of the visiting musician soothing, uplifting, and joyful.
Among the more serious studies involving the potential impact of the spirit upon the mind and body was a report posted by CNN correspondent Al Hinman on April 11, 1997, which focused on how spirituality can play a major role in the healing process. The report relates that first-year medical students at Loyola University Medical Center in Chicago are required to accompany a cleric on hospital rounds so that they may learn how to listen to a patient's needs and observe the influence of the spirit in the healing process.
The noted journalist, Norman Cousins, author of Anatomy of an Illness wrote in his book how repeatedly watching funny movies helped him to recover from an immune system disorder. Is laughter itself a form of spirituality in that it can evoke such a divine sense of well being? One would think so. Conversely then, it is only logical to assume that unpleasant thoughts or fears might adversely affect the health of the body. Negative statements such as "it is tearing my guts out; he makes me sick; my heart aches for her" often reveal the potential for psychosomatic illness, which is caused by the effects of the psyche (mind) upon the soma (body).
Though the spiritual power of music upon the mind and body has been intuitively known and appreciated by generations of people within various religious communities, it is only within the last few decades that music as therapy began to earn enthusiastic reception in the scientific community. As noted In defining the term, "music therapy" in a Joint Declaration of the 1982 International Symposium of Music Therapists, "Music Therapy facilitates the creative process of moving toward wholeness in the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual self..." Further, the well-known neurologist, Dr. Olive Sacks, testifying before a special Senate committee regarding the impact of such therapy remarked upon the power of music to transcend the disabling effects of Parkinson's disease of the aged to the point where they could dance and sing perfectly well.
Uncle Bud and I
A visit from a beloved relative can bring affirmative spiritual feelings and promote good health, while the opposite happens when a disliked being invades our space.
Years ago, when I was just 10 years old, a man tried to induce me into getting into his car. He was a butcher who owned the shop where my mother took me a few times. As I was walking home from school one day he apparently had been following me and drew up beside the curb, and called to me, offering to drive me home. I suddenly started to panic as the well-remembered words of my mother played out in my head; "Don't you ever get into a car with anyone you don't know well!" My heart began to beat wildly as I told him "Thank you, but I told my mother I wouldn't get in a car with anyone I did not know well." Then, I took off for home at a furious pace and did not stop running until I reached home.
The word "spirit" is derived from the Latin "spiritus," which means breath. The Latin word "Spitare," means to breathe, or breath of life.
The ancient mystics would be very pleased about the credence currently being given to the powerful trinity of mind, body, and spirit. They probably used the word "hal" from which the derivatives whole, hale, and holy originate.