A Short Course for Physicians and Patients

10 Things Medical School Does Not Teach …
But Everyone Should Know

Second Lesson

The Piece of Mind

Babbitt image
from Principles of Light & Color
by Edwin Babbitt, 1878

Intuitively, we know that there is more to human beings than the physical dimension about which physicians and public are commonly taught. While a few people are capable of consciously perceiving the inner nature of humans and the rest of creation, most of us struggle onward believing that “this is all there is.”

We have hopes that there is more to life than the outer world and our brief existences, but often fret otherwise. The writer recalls the latter days of his mother’s life. She remarked a time or two, “Oh, I wish I had religion.” I believe she imagined a substantial faith would have led her more peacefully to death’s door. But, does modern religion really alleviate such fears?

It seems evident that neither western medicine nor religion have been of much help in teaching about the essence and reality of things so as to make living and dying understandable. This even while much in this regard has long been known by Teachers and Sages. And what they know, can be gathered, studied and contemplated to add understanding to life and death as well as to health and disease.

“The mind is not in the body, but the body is in the mind.”

This simple aphorism could revolutionize medicine almost overnight if it were taught in medical school and shared with patients and public. This concept comes from ancient Eastern teachings and is mirrored in the western words of the mystic Meister Eckhardt:

“The body is in the soul, rather than the soul in the body.”

A revolutionary idea in one line! Really? How so?

The simple fact is that the physical body exists within the confines of the subtler bodies — emotional, mental, and soul. The subtler bodies are composed of finer and more powerful energies. They are the foundation of the apparently material forms in which humans live and move. Those inner parts of ourselves are the very principles upon which the physical body is totally dependent. Nothing happens to the physical material body unless stirred by impress from the inner ones.

For far too long we have been led to believe the mind and brain to be synonymous. But, this is not factual nor provable even though scientists have been trying to show it so for generations. The greatest of medical thinkers are convinced otherwise, as were the sages of old, that the mind exists beyond the brain and body. The mental-emotional component of a human being, over-lighted by the soul, gives the individual life and character, purpose and meaning.

The mind is to the brain what the driver is to an automobile, or what the operator is to his computer terminal. Neither mechanism would go anywhere or do anything without the input and sensibility of its controller — driver or operator.

When the driver steps out of her car or the operator leaves his computer, activity largely pauses or ceases altogether. The same is the case with the human form. When a soul parts from his/her body, the latter sleeps or dies.

In healthy, waking life there is no separation between the inner being and the outer material form. The soul fits into the physical body, like a hand in a glove. But even more exactly and matter-of-factly. The two are as one in the waking state. Only beings with higher vision can recognize how they so wonderfully fit together.

In the meantime, doctors and patients separate mind from body while equating the mind as the brain. How often have we heard of people with significant medical ills who consult doctor after doctor looking for explanations for supposed bodily problems? When multiple tests and examinations come up “Negative.” Then, the supposition is that the problem “must be in your mind [brain].” Which suggests much dreaded mental problems, of one kind or another. Most all of us would much rather admit to physical than mental-emotional ones.

But, the fact is that mind is not limited to the brain. Nor can it be separated from body except by drugs, illness, injury and death. On the other hand, all physical ills have mental aspects. All mental illness has effects on the physical body. Simply because there is no separation.

Many traditional practitioners are aware of this idea while western medicine has divided human problems into those which body doctors attend, while psychiatrists address mental-emotional ills. “Spiritual problems” are handed over to priests and pastors.
The author remembers early in his medical career asking an esteemed mentor a question in words somewhat like these: “How can we determine whether an ailment is really physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual?” The teacher said something to the effect that I would be taught over time how to distinguish one from the other.

But over time, the writer has come to the well-founded conclusion that like life itself all illnesses are really spiritual, mental, emotional as well as physical at the same time. We are spiritual beings having multi-dimensional experiences in the physical world.

Soul, mind and body express the Trinity within human existence. The mind stands as a mediating principle and amounts to a very subtle, extremely powerful field of force capable of producing great changes in the outer form. Some of them instantly, some slowly over months or years. Some of them for good, and some for ill.

“The spirit is the master,

imagination the tool,
and the body the plastic material.”

“The spirit is the life,

the mind is the builder,
and the physical is the result.”
Edgar Cayce

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