If someone asks you to point to your brain, you will likely point your index finger at your forehead.
If someone asks you to point to your mind, where would you point? Would you still point to your forehead?
Mind and brain are often used interchangeably when referring to the brain.
But when we say things like “change your mind,” that’s not the same thing as “change your brain.”
Science has given us a pretty good idea of what the brain is.
A medical definition of brain is ‘the portion of the central nervous system that is located within the skull. It functions as a primary receiver, organizer, and distributor of information for the body. It has a right half and a left half, each of which is called a hemisphere.’
The human brain is the central organ of the human nervous system, and with the spinal cord makes up the central nervous system. The brain consists of the cerebrum, the brainstem and the cerebellum. It controls most of the activities of the body, processing, integrating, and coordinating the information it receives from the sense organs, and making decisions as to the instructions sent to the rest of the body.
So, what is the mind? Is the mind in the skull with the brain? Where else is it?
These are questions that many of humanity’s greatest thinkers have been trying to answer for millennia.
Many of these thinkers have agreed that the mind does not have physical form like the brain does. Many also agree that an essential defining characteristic of mind is awareness.
The mind is a set of cognitive faculties including consciousness, perception, thinking, judgement, language and memory. It is usually defined as the faculty of an entity’s thoughts and consciousness. It holds the power of imagination, recognition, and appreciation, and is responsible for processing feelings and emotions, resulting in attitudes and actions.
Dr. Candace Pert offers a scientists view of the mind based on her lifelong research on endorphins and neuropeptides and their receptors in the body. She has shown how thoughts become matter and how thoughts and emotions enter and interact with cells and tissues.
In her book, “Molecules of Emotion”, she points out that there is no separation between body and mind.
Pert states: “I like to speculate that what the mind is, is the flow of information as it moves among the cells, organs and systems of the body. The mind as we experience it is immaterial, yet it has a physical substrate, which is both the body and the brain. It may also be said to have a nonmaterial, nonphysical substrate that has to do with the flow of that information. The mind, then, is that which holds the network together, often acting below our consciousness, linking and coordinating the major systems and their organs and cells in an intelligently orchestrated symphony of life.”
Dr. Valerie Hunt’s theories from her book, Infinite Mind offer a wider perspective of mind. Hunt’s perspective expands our understanding to include the higher mind, the spiritual and the mystical in addition to the physical.
Hunt states: “Mind has energy since it causes things to happen. Many of the experiences that we casually attribute to mind are clearly brain functions: reflexes and responses to material reality that are recorded in and recovered from the brain. Other experiences and capacities such as thought, insight, imagination, and soul seem to be properties of the higher mind. The higher level mind seems to be outside the domain of material reality as we have been able to measure it. The mind is more a field reality, a quantum reality, or a particle reality.
It is obvious that the mind is intimately connected to both the brain and the body, but is not limited to the brain and body.
Through our mind and awareness we are as connected to the universal mind as we are to the brain and the body.
This is not an ‘either – or’ story. It is a ‘both – and’ story.
The mind is so much bigger than the brain and your physical being. The mind includes the brain and every other part of you within its scope.
Through our connection to universal mind we have the opportunity to bring the divine into every moment of every day. And with a reminder that we are divine beings living a limited physical life.
We receive magical moments all the time that remind us of this.
Several years ago, I was performing my guitar for an outdoor wedding. While I was playing, a dragonfly landed on my sleeve and stayed there for the whole piece of music.
It was a magical moment of connection I will never forget. It invited me to notice how we continually receive these little magical moments throughout our lives that remind us that we are more than we think.
I invite you to contemplate how these little magical moments show up in your own life. It can be as simple as a deep breath and return to mindfulness that brings the divine into your awareness.
It is mind in action!