Inner Self-Awareness and the Mind-Body Connection

American Institute of Vedic Studies
American Institute of Vedic Studies
Inner Self-Awareness and the Mind-Body Connection
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Whatever you bring into your mind, you also bring into your physical body. What your mind does, affects both your psychology and your physiology. If the mind becomes afraid, for example, the body contracts in fear which affects our internal organs. If the mind becomes angry, the body also seethes with anger, overheating our organic functions. If the mind gets attached to something outwardly, bodily movement is also obstructed.

 

The vibration of the mind sets the rate for the vibration of the body. This is a question of energy, not mere chemistry. If our mind is hyperactive, our physiological systems become overstimulated and overactive. If the mind is dull and slow, then the body also becomes dull and lethargic. The mind is the background guiding power behind all physiological functions; not that this occurs consciously or by choice, but it happens automatically according to the inherent mind-body connection.

 


The Role of Prana

 

This mind-body connection is rooted in the common bond of Prana, the vital force linkage between mind and body. The mind through the senses relays sensations of pleasure and pain to the body, what is desirable or undesirable, attractive or repulsive, what may be helpful or unhelpful to our physical condition. The body acts accordingly, slowing down or speeding up its energies, expanding or contracting, through the sense and motor organs and bodily systems.

 

Our hands and feet for example move according to the urges of the mind, the more so how vitally important these urges are.  Danger makes us try to run away from it quickly. Or think of a great athlete running a race. The mind is placed into a zone and the body moves with sureness and determination in spite of the complexity of physical functions involved.

 

This mind/prana energization of the body explains why merely treating the body cannot change our physical state fundamentally, if the vibratory rate of the mind is not also harmonious. That is why most diseases begin in the mind, particularly as caused by emotional factors that affect the body through the prana, and the related nervous, circulatory and digestive systems.

 


Our Mental Activity Pattern

 

Our mental activity sets forth the energetic pattern for the body as a whole, starting at a subconscious level. Without changing our mental energy pattern, it is hard to change our physical energy pattern.

 

Of course, there is a complementary relationship between mind and body. Physical factors affect psychological factors, in that what we eat and drink, how we move and exercise, and how our body is affected by environmental factors like heat, cold and seasonal changes, also affects the mind, including our emotions. But this is a secondary factor, a reaction, unless it is a severe physical condition. For example, for a starving person the physical factor will outweigh the psychological factor. Until they eat, the mind will not function well or guide them properly. Injury or genetic disorders come into play here.

 

Just as the body has its specific physiology and different organic systems like respiratory, circulatory, digestive and nervous systems, so too the mind has its different organic functions like instinct, sensation, emotion, reason, memory and imagination. Each of these organic systems of body and mind requires its harmonious flow and movement for optimal functioning. These are all interrelated. Notably, the memory patterns in the mind affect the autonomic processes in the body, and can reflect deep-seating emotional, pranic and sensory traumas.

 


Guidance of Self-Awareness Within

 

The proper vibratory rate for the mind, and through it for the body, depends upon the right use of the senses, motor organs, outer mind, and inner intelligence, as guided by a steady Self-awareness within. Our inner Self or Atman is the ultimate power behind mind and body, which sustains a peaceful, detached and clear observation. That is why the ultimate way to harmonize our mind-body vibration is to root it in our inner Being, that is pure consciousness and light.

 

The problem is that most of us are not centered in our true Self. We are caught in the outer ego, our bodily, mental and social identity and its ongoing changes and struggles in life. Our mental vibration follows that of the external world, which comes to us through our social interaction and communication, including the strong media influences today.

 

Our mental vibration is usually calibrated from the outside, by external forces, not by our own intention and motivation. Our body often reacts according to the influences of other people. Until we learn how to set a harmonious mental vibration through pranayama, right use of the senses, mantra and meditation, we will not have inner harmony or happiness.

 

Our minds have connections with the minds of others. How we relate to partners, family, friends and co-workers, imprints the mind and affects our behavior. We tend to imitate and go along with others in our peer group or level of associations.

 

Collective emotions can impact our physical health through the mind, as the current pandemic clearly shows. The way to deal with these issues of the collective mind is the same as with the individual mind, to hold to an inner awareness as the Seer, observer or witness of the mind.

 


Role of Vedic Counseling

 

What is the nature of the vibration you are setting forth in your mind, and the resultant energies in the different systems of the body? Is your mind rooted in a deeper awareness, or is it driven by memory or pushed by external stimulations?

 

Our minds are constantly engaged in some thought, emotion or sensation, which has its consequences on the body as well. Emotional factors are strongest in this regard, particularly strong emotions like fear, anger or attachment Only rarely do we have an inner connection that takes us beyond the agitation of the mind, notably in the state of sleep.

 

Does this mean that we can heal ourselves at a physical level through the mind alone? Not entirely, as physical disease patterns often require physical treatments/ But it does mean that a harmonious and calm mind, thought and behavioral patterns, is required for deep and lasting healing on any level.

 

Above all, we must learn to observe the mind and its patterns from a deeper Self awareness that keeps us from falling into negative thoughts, emotional, pranic and physical patterns that easily become habitual and compulsive.

 

Vedic Counseling, through showing us how to live in harmony with our inner Self, provides us many keys of perception, attitude and behavioral changes, to set forth a vibration to bring the mind and body into harmony with Universal Consciousness. Meditation is the key but all the practices of Yoga and Ayurveda have their relevance.

 

Hari OM Tat Sat

Vamadeva Shastri

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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