"Where Is Your Mind?"

Vijai P. Sharma, Ph.D

"Where is your mind?" That is not to say you are not paying attention; I just want to know where you think is the actual location of the mind.

Perhaps, you are pointing your finger towards your head and say, "Of course it's in my head!" Are you sure?

Recent research in the field of immunology, cardiology, gastro-entrology, biochemistry etc. shows that mind is constantly present in our immune system, heart, gut and any other organ you can think of. Mind is literally everywhere in the body.

Organs of the body are not purely physical. Your mind has an impressive presence in these organs. Because we now recognize that mind is flowing in physical organs, new disciplines are emerging such as "Psycho-neuro-immunology (PNI), "Psycho-cardiology" or "Neuro-gastroentrology." This upsets a lot of scientists and medical specialists but it's closer to the reality. We really are made of mind stuff.

If you were to say, "My brain is in my skull but my mind is all over the place," you may be right. The body is in the mind and the mind is in the body. Candace Pert, the discoverer of endorphins in the body, the pleasure peptides, and the celebrated author of Molecules of Emotion" says our body is our subconscious mind.

I once researched into the function of the subconscious mind and believed that the subconscious mind was in the 'tail" of the brain (brain stem). However, I wasn't totally satisfied with the explanation. I was aware that a lot of times, one's body reacts even before the mind recognizes what exactly one is reacting to.

Often the body "knows" before the mind knows. The body can store memories that our mind doesn't remember. For example, some old forgotten memories can be triggered by manipulation of certain parts of the body.

Have you had those moments when you felt agitated, your stomach was tied in knots and your heart racing fifty miles a minute and you didn't really "know" what you were reacting to? But, your body knew the reason! The new claim "Your body is your subconscious mind," explains things I could not understand earlier.

I have lived in four different countries. Four different countries and four different cultures, but they all seem to identify the physical location of self in the same place! Whenever people in America or elsewhere refer to "Me' or "I" they point towards their heart. No one points towards their head!

Why do we all point to heart as the seat of the self? Certainly it is not because we identify with our blood pump.

In many ancient civilizations including, Indian, Greek and Roman societies, the heart was considered the seat of the soul. Could they be right? Perhaps!

The heart has all the neuropeptides that the brain has and it is constantly exchanging information with the brain. The heart produces certain hormones that facilitate specific brain activities. According to Candace Pert, the heart plays a role in determining how much blood should flow to different parts of the brain.

Certain aspects of our personality and emotions are linked with the heart. Many heart transplant patients have reported emergence of new personality traits and unexpected emotional reactions they never had before. It takes a few months for such extraneous traits and emotional responses to fade out.

Emotions are not just in the head, they are all over the body. Emotional molecules are vibrating, traveling and passing information to every part of the body. There is no emotion for which there is no corresponding molecule in the body. Different emotions will have an impact on the electro-chemical functioning of various organs such as the skin, heart, liver, stomach, intestines, kidney, spleen or even the immune system.

Medicines for medical disorders related to skin, heart, liver, stomach, etc. can affect emotions. Medicines for mood disorders can affect the body.

Doctors explain mood disorder as "chemical imbalance." They are absolutely right! There are different molecules for different emotions. Molecules are in constant flux, being flushed out, regenerated and multiplied. However, from that, if one proceeds to claim that chemical imbalance is the real cause of a mood disorder, nothing could be farther from the truth.

When we talk about "the right chemistry" between two people, we might be making a scientific statement. Perhaps, their emotional molecules may be vibrating at similar frequency. A surge of similar emotional molecules and hormones associated with interpersonal attraction and bonding may be working overtime in a case of mutual attraction.

The old fashioned separatist view, "Here is your body and there is your mind" is scientifically untenable. Mind is ever present and everywhere in the body. Body is ever present and everywhere in the mind. Emotions are not just in the head or even the heart, they are everywhere in the body.

So, after reading this article, if you are saying to yourself, "I don't know where my mind begins and where it ends," I sympathize with that feeling with my head and the rest of my body!

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Copyright 2005, Mind Publications 
Posted June 2005


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