The endocrine system stands at the heart of
human opportunity and human dis-ease. This is the case because
the major glands are the transmitting agents for social, emotional,
mental and spiritual forces which underlie the whole of our physical
This idea may seem a bit farfetched to the uninitiated, simply skeptical, or strictly scientific. Many such folks believe that human beings are just peculiar masses of protoplasm which are somewhat controlled by brain impulses and nervous system patterns.
But, there is growing evidence that we are really this and much more. Research is appearing which will eventually validate that, "The mind is not so much in the body, as the body is in the mind."
This saying has roots both in the Eastern Hindu tradition and among Western mystics, such as Meister Eckhardt. The aphorism suggests firstly that mind is more than brain (an obvious part of the body) and secondly that the body is a dense projection of a deeper energy field called the mind.
Dr. Candace Pert, researcher at the National Institutes for Mental Health, says, "... it is possible now to conceive of mind and consciousness as an emanation of emotional information processing, and as such, mind and consciousness would appear to be independent of brain and body."
Social forces, emotions, thoughts, and spiritual energies stand hidden beyond, above, and within what we know to be the outer physical body and material world. These powers work through the physical and do not emanate from them. The reverse is actually the true case as the physical mechanism is an endpoint and not a beginning for anything.
Our health and our dis-ease are not simply due to physical allergens and microbes, accidents and mishaps, but to a host of forces which lie beyond yet within our material midst. There is rhyme and reason to the course of universal momentum and so to in our own lives on planet Earth.
The midway or meeting point for these invisible forces and the outer physical human form is the endocrine system, and, more specifically, the psycho-neuro-endocrine system. The concept of this system is really quite simple while the practical working out of it may be in the opposite direction.
Direct support for this view is now coming from the new medical discipline called psycho-neuro-immunology. Psycho-neuro-immunology springs from the earlier arena of psycho-somatic medicine and will eventually form the foundation of psycho-neuro-endocrinology.
The immune system backed by the nervous apparatus and the brain is receiving increasing emphasis in evaluation and treatment of disease. The following suggestions arise to help in the correlation of the components of a new psycho-physiological system:
1) The immune system is centered in the thymus gland located in the center of the chest cavity.
2) The thymus gland is one of seven major human endocrine glands.
3) All of the glands, through their hormones which are secreted directly into the bloodstream, have profound effects upon the physical body.
4) The glands are interconnected and interrelated through feedback mechanisms, the 'master' gland, and the nervous system.
5) The nervous apparatus and the endocrine glands actually make up one whole neuro-endocrine system.
6) The brain is the most important, but not the only nerve center, which influences the endocrine glands and the immune system and total health.
7) The brain and other nerve centers and the endocrine glands are dependent upon emotions, the mind and the soul through the whole of the psycho-neuro-endocrine system.
Reversing field, the psycho-neuro-endocrine system, composed of the Soul (psyche comes from the Greek word which means soul) and its agents - the chakras (Sanskrit for invisible vortices of consciousness) - works through the mental, emotional, and subtle bodies to manifest effects in brain and nerve centers, endocrine glands, organs and organ systems, body regions and parts towards illness or health. The following list approximates the relationships within the tracts which compose the chakra system:
This system, with the centers of consciousness
as focal points, will be demonstrated to be the integrating, synthesizing,
and animating force in the human body. The chakras will eventually
be recognized for their vital functions in the reproductive process,
in the creative capacity, and in the recreative and regenerative
power within every human being. These centers as agents of the
Soul potentially provide us with every quality, energy, attribute,
and force which is active or latent in the universe. The psycho-physical
energy centers are constantly and progressively working to draw
the deeper, subtler, and more expressive energies of creation
into the human organism and into the human community.
The psycho-neuro-endocrine system is the symbol par excellence of the sevenfold nature of the universe. It makes possible the whole of the creative process within the human organism and within human society. And it is the living agency for the movement of energy and consciousness in our world.
"While, according to Western conceptions, the brain is the exclusive seat of consciousness, yogic experience shows that our brain-consciousness is only one among a number of possible forms of consciousness, and that these, according to their function and nature, can be localized or centered in various organs in the body." Lama Govinda, Foundations of Tibetan Mysticism
The unity of the nervous and endocrine systems has been hypothesized and demonstrated for many years in the West as well as in the East. "Hence in the largest sense the autonomic nervous system and the various endocrine glands (merged through the hypothalamus) represent a single neuroendocrine system that has evolved to integrate and coordinate the metabolic activities of the organism." (Williams 'Textbook of Endocrinology) Yet, these systems remain separated in medical practice and specialization. This will assuredly be modified in the future.
The relatively new discipline of psycho-neuro-immunology has already begun to explore the connections between mind-emotions and neuro-endocrine functions, especially focusing on the thymus gland and white blood cell parameters. Dr. Pert's work (not discussed in this article) takes a further step in generalizing emotional energy throughout the body and theorizing mind-consciousness as an underlying foundation for the whole body. The next step will require a leap in courage and faith to include the psyche - the soul - in the quest for scientific and medical knowledge of the human organism.
Practically speaking, understanding of the psycho-neuro-endocrine system can help explain most any ailment. Paul Solomon has said that, "all disease processes and syndromes, not only are psychosomatic in their form . . . but also are symbolic of that process clinging to that which is obsolete for the nature and for the self."
Consideration of the body area of any condition, the systems and centers involved, the quality of energies focused in the illness, the relationships to past dis-ease and problems, and the symbolic nature of the challenge to health can create an opportunity for growth and healing and not just a struggle for recovery or survival.