Mind-Body-Spirit

All are necessary to feed. All affect each other.

Mind

When we say “mind”, what do we mean? Here are three possible definitions

  1. “The part of a person that makes it possible for him or her to think, feel emotions, and understand things.”
  2. “The element of a person that enables them to be aware of the world and their experiences, to think, and to feel; the faculty of consciousness and thought.”
  3. “That which thinks, reasons, perceives, wills, and feels.”

The common thread is a two-way interaction with one’s environment.

The mind…

  1. Receives information from the senses
  2. Simplifies this information
  3. Decides what information is useful
  4. Throws out the non-useful
  5. Examines with a critical lens, the useful information
  6. Integrates some information into our mental and/or spiritual identity
  7. Tells the body to act in the most desired way, a product of…
    1. The interpretation of this important information
    2. Our unique mind
    3. Our unique spirit
    4. Our physical setting

The American Psychological Association has stated that psychology, the “how and why our minds cause us to behave in different manners”, is “in no way separate from the brain”. They think the mind and the brain are two parts of the same overall thing.

As typical of the Western way, spirit is nowhere to be found in their literature. This is counter to every other culture and society, essentially without exception.

Body

So, officially, mind and body greatly overlap. Or, rather, mind is synonymous with a part of the body (the brain).

Cambridge Dictionaries lists body as “The whole physical structure that is a person or animal.”

It is everything about us that has matter, that is tangible (can be touched). Some say that body, or, matter, is all that exists. There are no minds.

Without getting too caught up in philosophy and semantics, A healthy body impacts our mental and spiritual state greatly. Particularly, exercise, is extremely good for the human body. We become more physically healthy, mentally sharp, and spiritually balanced.

It’s even been suggested that physical health lays the foundation for all other domains of health

Spirit

The definition of spirit is noticeably absent from our lexicon (vocabulary) compared to mind and body. When it does appear, it oftentimes carries religious connotation. But it doesn’t need to. Western society is just about the only culture that doesn’t list spirit as a component of self, along with mind and body.

  • John Chirban of Harvard Medical School states that spirit “empowers the soul: it is passion, commitment, conviction, and vision.  It is the base for movement of life itself .”
  • Our old friend Cambridge Dictionaries lists several definitions of spirit:
    • “a state of mind or attitude”
    • “the inner character of a person, thought of as different from the material person we can see and touch”
    • “something that can be felt to be present but cannot be seen, similar to a ghost”
    • “enthusiasm and energy”

Spirit might be best thought of as the quality of sublime, mystical, and genuine meaning we attribute to experiences, and ourselves. It’s difficult to define because it can’t be nearly so well communicated, just in words, as body, and even mind.

Spirit is something with real meaning, so much that words could never do it justice. It’s not concrete at all. It’s abstract, but nonetheless extremely poignant and powerful. Again, many people need God to be spiritual, but others, such as myself, don’t.

Without body, there would be no mind. Without mind, there would be no spirit, no awesome, sublime experience. Our place and value as part of the whole depends on understanding.

Body senses. Mind interprets. Spirit applies to the most advanced part of our being.

Some equate “spirit” with “soul”. The below image goes so far as to state that mind and body add together, forming spirit (listed as soul).

Sources: Dr. David E Bell, David Galezo, Cambridge Dictionaries, Oxford Dictionaries, MedicineNet.com, American Psychological Association