The Mind Body Connection – What Is It Really?

A war has been silently raging on now for hundreds of years. Do you know the one I mean? Rene Descartes inadvertently started it, early in the Seventeenth Century, when he proclaimed that the body and mind are separate. Even today then, this war continues, as knighted warriors dressed in alphabet soup armor and traditional deference do all they can to ruin the careers and lives of the unknighted, less deferential warriors all the while claiming they are doing this to protect the lives of innocent people.Doesn’t sound familiar to you yet? Not sure who is fighting? It’s simple really. Main stream science is out to discredit anyone they pejoratively designate, “new agers.” And while these designations; the main streamers and the new agers, are not really official, the war itself is beyond official. It’s been going on for almost four hundred years.What have these two factions been arguing about? Main stream science believes it is imperative to stop anyone who makes helping people more important than explaining how they help people. Incredible really. Central to this belief is the idea that if you cannot see something, it does not exist. Granted, science has finally progressed past the point wherein it limits this proof to what we can see with the naked eye. Still, if you cannot prove what you claim is happening with repeatable reliable data, then science sees your ideas as nonsense and you as a charlatan or worse; as a madman or a thief.What amazes me here is that even when the methods in question help people, science still does not consider this to be proof. No numbers. No proof.Where does Rene Descartes come in?Rene Descartes spent much of his adult life doing all he could to learn about what to him was his most amazing discovery; that the experiences of the body and the experiences of the mind are two totally separate yet interactive experiences. And he was right. They are. The thing is, these two separate experiences are at the same time also the experiences of one individual. Which makes them also two parts of a single experience. The experience of being alive.That both of these experiences (the two separate and the one whole) are equally valid and true is easily tested. Unfortunately what Descartes inadvertently did is he logically dissected the experiences of the mind and body but never got around to holistically reassembling them. At least in science’s eyes. And when I say inadvertently, I say this because I am sure he never intended to destroy the credibility of everything other than physically logical, visible evidence. Unfortunately, other than the numerous philosophical arguments ongoing since then, for the most part, this is exactly what his ideas have accomplished. Until the late twentieth century that is, at which point a few of the less deferential scientists and M.D.s began to openly challenge Descartes and his love of this separateness. Some of them even going so far as to say that the mind body connection is the whole key to understanding heath, healing, and human nature.So is it?Before I answer, I want to make it clear to you that I can see the value in science’s point of view here; that if you cannot understand a device then you should not trust what it is doing. At the same time I can also see the value in the so called New Age mind set wherein helping people matters more than measurements and math. In effect, if it works, then who cares how? Right? After all, isn’t helping people the main point?Who is right then? And why bring up this war in a book about talk therapy?I bring it up because talk therapists fall squarely in the midst of this battlefield. Partly because insurance companies demand that therapists prove their progress; efficiently and with nice neat numbers no less. Partly because science has a point about how some new age folks can be way off base. And partly because the main stream, good old deferential science boys continue to punish and berate anyone who does not kneel in deference to the god of linearity.Where do I stand?I am a talk therapist. Thus I too stand smack in the midst of this battlefield. Fortunately for me though I am also a personality theorist, and during my searches, I made a discovery which for me at least puts this conflict to rest. I discovered what Rene Descartes somehow missed seeing, and what his fellow philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz later hinted at. I discovered the actual mechanism which connects our separate experiences of the body and the mind.Not sure what I am saying? I am saying that despite the preponderance of people who believe a mind body connection exists, no one ever says what this connection is. The actual mechanism. They argue only that this connection does or does not exist, along with what it does and does not affect. In fact, if you do an online search for the mind body connection, while you will find hundreds of references to that it exists, I doubt you will find a single person, scientist or new ager, who even mentions the existence of such a mechanism let alone how it works. They argue only whether a mind body connection does or does not exist. This includes even the fascinating new work of the social neuroscientists who claim that neurology and social science is the connection. Yes. Of course. Neurology and social science are connected. But how? What is the mechanism?Ironically, the one person who did mention this mechanism is the one who started the whole thing; Descartes himself. Thus, in addition to his theories on the causal nature of mind body interactionism, he also hypothesized that these interactions occurred within the only organ in the brain that does not exist bilaterally; the pineal gland.My point? It seems that while many folks believe a mind body connection exists, no one seems to say what it is, scientifically or otherwise. And while helping people is and should be the talk therapist’s first concern, helping people should not have to rely solely on something as nebulous as intuition. Granted, no therapist can or should ignore his or her intuition. But therapists should also want to know what happens in the moments wherein they help someone. What was it your gut sensed that your mind could not see?How then are the mind and body connected? It’s simple really. It turns out that the body and the mind each have their own sense of time. Their own sort of internal clocks so to speak. Moreover, when these two internal clocks are not running in sync, problems occur. Things like the troubles folks with ADD have with mentally focusing on the topic at hand. Or the troubles folks who over eat have with being aware their stomachs are full.What is going on in these conditions? The best clue we have lies in how these conditions are being treated. And in what affects the symptoms the most. How are they being treated? With medications which either speed up or slow down the body or mind’s sense of how fast life is going. To wit, folks who have trouble focusing mentally get medications which speed up their minds. Ritalin. Strattera. Adderall and such. And folks who have trouble sensing their bodies get medicines which speed up their bodies. Ephedrasil. Myoffeine. And the now banned prescription drug Phen-Fen.Know that when I say, “speed up” their minds or bodies, I am not saying this happens separately, as in just the mind speeds up or just the body. What I am saying is that, whenever you take a medication which speeds up your sense of time, you will sense the change more in whichever of the two clocks is slower.In effect what happens is, people perceive a larger change in whichever of the two clocks was slower. Why? Because this change is actually bigger when measured percentage wise. Which makes the previously less noticed clock the more noticed clock and visa versa. In effect, the bigger we perceive the change in a clock’s speed, the larger we perceive the effect.At this point, most folks would want to know what I am basing all this on. What am I basing it on? For one thing, on the easily observed and measured differences between these two clocks, reliably and empirically obtained. You can in fact test for these differences in people within minutes. Moreover, once people learn to see and monitor these differences in an ongoing way, their need for medication can decrease markedly, perhaps even to the point wherein they may no longer need it.Does all this sound crazy? Well consider this. What I have just said about the meds we use to treat ADD and over eating is a fact. Nothing to argue about here. And yes, how these drugs alter peoples’ perceptions of mind and body time differs. But that they both do this does not. This implies that the key to understanding at least a significant portion of the problem underlying ADD, and the key to understanding at least a sizable portion of the problem underlying over eating, lies in exploring how we perceive time. Descartes style. More on this to come.[to read the rest of The Mind Body Connection - What Is It Really? click here]

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