"Nature goes her own way and all that to us seems an exception is really according to order."
~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
What exactly is the mind-body connection, and how can understanding it help you to live a healthier life? The mind-body connection, brought into popular consciousness by the book Molecules of Emotion, is the understanding and experience that your “mind” is found everywhere in your body. An example of this would be neurotransmitters. One such neurotransmitter – serotonin, associated with feeling happy - is actually found predominantly in your digestive tract.
Along the same lines, your gut is called your “second brain.” It looks similar to your brain, not to mention the neurotransmitters like serotonin that are found there. According to the mind-body theory, your mind and body are the same entity. There is no delineation between where your mind ends and your body begins. They are instead both part of the same system.
Systems are how nature works. Another way of looking at this would be patterns. Nature loves patterns. In fact, it’s how she not only survives, but thrives. In nature, there are two main principles: li and chi. Most of us know what chi is: energy and lifeforce. But what is li exactly? According to Joeseph Needham, “Li is organizing principle…or the ‘great pattern.’” Li is what organizes chi. It is consciousness. Li and chi work together to create a healthy, sustainable pattern of a living system that is Nature. In your body, this system is created by the merging of your mind (li) and your body (chi as manifested energy).
Some examples of systems and patterns in nature would be sound waves, heart beats, tidal waves, fractal geometry, ecosystems, etc. Everything in nature operates in patterns and rhythms. Li and chi work together to create a system: a healthy, sustainable pattern and system of living.
How does this all play out in understanding and living the mind-body connection?
The food you eat, the air you draw in, the people you surround yourself with, and the thoughts you think, and who you allow yourself to be, all create YOU. In other words, the energy you take in, whether from food or through exercise, create your chi at any given point in time. The thoughts you think, who you hang around, and who you allow yourself to naturally be, is the li that organizes you at any given point in time and creates a mind-body system - an ecosystem of a living being. The goal is to make that ecosystem thrive by riding the wave of health, as opposed to riding a wave of destruction. It’s what you focus on that matters, much like a surfer who rides the waves. He has to focus and stay present in order to catch and ride the waves. And when he does? Oh what an effortless and thrilling ride.
The Wave Theory
Here is one way to understand what the mind-body connection is and how it can help you to get back into balance...
Nature loves rhythm and balance. It’s how she maintains herself, and also grows, literally. According to Irving Dardik, M.D., all of nature is waves within waves, and the way nature and the universe operates is part of a wave function: the SuperWave Principle. The SuperWave Principle states that nature operates within rhythms and what Dardik called “wave energy.” Wave energy is how Dardik referred to the organizing principle, very similar to “li,” in Chinese Philosphy.
It may seem overly simple, but it makes sense that nature would be organized in such a way to self-propagate and also maintain herself. One only has to look at the recently discovered field of fractal geometry – also considered waves within waves – to realize that nature grows, thrives, and repeats herself based on patterns. The branches on one tree are duplicates of a branch. An entire forest is a duplicate of one tree. Not an exact duplicate, because this is nature - not perfection - but patterns that are recognizable and tracked by scientific method.
How does all of this relate to healing? In some healing traditions, including the use of vaccines, homeopathy, and nano-technology, there is a curious way in which what may cause symptoms in the body in large doses, seems to stimulate healing in the body in small doses. Science is still trying to figure out why. I postulate that it is due to the wave theory, where nature operates in wave cycles – big wave, small wave, just like the tidal waves– and this represents balance in nature, and therefore is the cycle that regulates balance in the body. So, small doses of medicine - that can even cause disease in large doses - relax the body into healing through a small wave function. Science Fiction? More like scientific. Time will tell if Dardik is right. I suspect he is.
Dardik developed an exercise program to help people re-synch with their environments and natural rhythms to mitigate the effects of chronic stress and persistent, long-standing conditions. In a similar fashion, I believe this is how much of our future medicines and lifestyle medicines will work: by riding the waves of nature’s healing pattern of self-propagation and regeneration: big wave, small wave. A little bit of up time, a little bit of down time, just like a wave function itself. In time, the body finds balance in a seemingly choppy world, much like the surfer who, over time, learns to fluidly ride the natural up and down cycles of the ocean’s waves.
*excerpts from my upcoming book: The Memory of Health - by Edie Summers