Monday, June 06, 2011

Does the body rule the mind, or does the mind rule the body?

Ever since I heard "Still Ill" by The Smiths for the first time, I have been wondering whether the body rules the mind or the mind rules the body. Indeed, "does the body rule the mind or does the mind rule the body?" makes for an excellent line in a song, but it is nevertheless a valid dilemma (which, in my opinion, only Morrissey -one of the best, if not the best, lyricists of our time- could have posed so beautifully in a song) that goes beyond a mere timeless song.

This question has a more of a spiritual value than a musical one. It requires, first of all, a definition of what is the body and what is the mind. To put it in simple terms:

  • The body represents all of our physical existence - that is, our physical needs (eating, sleeping, etc.) plus all of the physical stimuli that we perceive through our 5 senses.
  • The mind is our connection to the Infinite, the conscience that sets us in a higher level of understanding of the Universe as compared to animals and other living beings.

Put in those terms, it would appear that the body and the mind are in fact two separate entities, completely independent one from the other. But that could not be a true statement either, since we are a single entity and both our mind and our body are part of ourselves. How, then, do they relate to each other to create a unity in our existence?

The secret lies in the heart. Our heart is the connection between the body and the mind. It is the core that keeps the body alive by pumping blood, oxygen and nutrients to the rest of our body. In turn, our body serves as a vessel to keep our mind (and hence our connection to the Universe) running in our physical world. In turn, the heart is a vessel associated to elemental parts of our consciousness, such as emotions and feelings. The heart is indeed a central piece key of our existence and the one that allow us to be connected between the physical world and the Universe.

In that spirit, the body cannot rule the mind, and the mind cannot rule the body, since they are both separate entities. Each of them have serve completely different purposes in our existence. Yet, they keep us together in mind and body as a single being by connecting one to the other one through the heart, and hence through our feelings and emotions. Then body, heart and mind are three attributes that make us rational beings capable to assimilate our existence in the physical world like the earthly animals, yet able to connect to rationality and a higher spiritual level like no other species on Earth.


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