Sunday, March 28, 2010

Mind, Body and Soul, a more general perspective

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We often hear this advice, that we are to take care of our 'mind, body and soul'. Most of us do it quite adequately, we take good care of our mental health, exercise regularly and maintain our spirituality through some form of religion. From a free-thinker's perspective, I was a bit concerned on how I should see the soul. I'm not the hardest type of free-thinker around actually, I do believe in a Creator, and I can fully appreciate the concept of the soul, but I feel our understanding of the soul should go beyond simply a 'ghost' or a 'spirit' living inside our flesh.

This was an intuition I had about a year ago, and today, I am going to reveal my insights into this issue, those that I have developed over one year.

The first question we should ask is "What is the soul?"

Initially, I drew a venn diagram, one circle for the mind, the other for the body, then I called the intersection the soul. So in this prototype model, the soul was essentially the link between the mind and the body

But them I began to see flaws in my design. I can think of many ways how the mind influences the body, but it seems like the body cannot seem to reciprocrate the powers of the mind. It was then that I was prompted to revise the statement.

So now, the soul is the "dominion of the mind over the body".

And having a healthy soul essentially means that your mind is in control of everything. Essentially saying that "whatever your mind thinks, you can achieve". And "the spirit is willing, and the flesh can do it!"

Now this may actually be something quite powerful. We're talking about super athletes, those who can perform amazing feats with the means of visualization techniques. We're talking about super observers, those whose 5 senses are in strong communion with the mind. We're talking about people who can force illnesses out at will, and perhaps in a more practical sense, people who can dream big and achieve big. Based on my definition, these are people with 'super souls'

So basically, what is this saying? It's essentially saying that we should first develop our mind and body before we talk about developing our soul. This is just my conjecture, but listen to the following logic. You can have a very fit body, but if you are ridden with mental illnesses and constantly plagued by stress, there's no way you can hope to develop the mind's control over the body. In fact, the body is most likely to get ill because of poor mental health. Likewise, you can have a very strong mind, but if your body is weak and you are constantly bugged by illness and fatigue, you wouldn't have the energy to develop the soul and your mind would also be in a vulnerable position.

Now let's say we've already taken care of our mind and body, how do we take care of our soul? This is actually something I'm not very sure of, because well, honestly, I have yet to take care of my mind and body. But what I think can be done is through the practice of certain skills. Meditation is one obvious example. Other skills would probably be ambidexterity (balance the body, balance the mind), observation with the 5 senses, active exploration of everything and anything (curiosity) with your hands and your mind, and visualisation with physical practice, as in sports or a physical stunt.

In fact, it may even be possible to develop the soul simultaneously with the mind and the body, and this may in fact, help to quicken the development of both entities. I'm not too sure. But the speed of development would certainly not be as great as if both the mind and the body have already been well-developed. But I guess for most of us, simultaneously developing the soul may be more practical. Good news though, the speed of development is likely to increase as our proficiency increases.

Yep, this was the insight I came up with today after a heavy lunch. Personally, I feel it is a good insight, because it caters to all faiths and beliefs, from religious church-goers to rationalists and atheists. As for myself, I have been self-inspired to take better care of my mind and my body (lose weight!) because now I am really curious as to how a powerful soul would feel like.

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