The idea that the mind and body are separate began with the deal Descartes made with the Catholic church many centuries ago. For the right to dissect cadavers and explore the body completely, Descartes had to guarantee he would not touch on matters of the soul and spirit. That was to be the domain of the church. Thus began the split in Western medicine that continues to this day — the mind and body are separate and must be treated as such. This crucial medical error has not not been shared by other cultures who understand and focus on all aspects of a person’s health — mental and social factors included. There have been many instances in which patients get well as a result of a resolution of life issues, the contrary is also true – with life conditions precipitating disease. My own life counselor, a trained person from the Movement for Spiritual Inner Awareness whom I much respect, asked me if I had a “death wish” when I was first diagnosed with cancer. Boy, did that piss me off, blaming ME for my disease, the nerve of her. I stopped seeing her out of anger, but her question remained in the back of my mind. Then I realized she might be on to something. Perhaps there were things in my life that were “trapping” me, that made me feel like “I could not live like this” or that I could “not escape.” When I started to admit, face and resolve those questions, my health suddenly improved — dramatically. Later my counselor told me she is simply a conduit for my own thoughts and feelings and asked the question based on energy coming from me. I did not want to die, but I was stuck on some major life issues and perhaps this “emergency” would be the catalyst for major changes. Did my body respond to my mind’s thoughts? For those who think the body is simply that, a separate entity, consider this case study from the files of my creative imagery doctor. He told me of a women who had multiple personalities and when she was a certain person and ate a lemon she developed horrible rashes due to an allergic bodily reaction. When she became a separate personality, the rashes instantly disappeared. Does the body work separately or is there a symbiotic relationship? Or as I postulate are the body and mind one? Is the body really one big mind, with nerve endings and emotional receptors everywhere? Just because we “think” through the brain does that preclude our entire body from thinking as well? There is now evidence that the stomach may be a second brain as while it was once thought that all nerve endings terminated in the brain, it is now being shown that the stomach also has nerve endings – so we “feel” things in our gut just as we do in our brains. In fact, the stomach can live on when the brain is dead, but that is a topic for another day.
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