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the body-mind connection

For a long time we have instinctively understood the close connection between our body and our mind. For much of the Twentieth Century, science and medicine played it down, but now the tide is turning.

In this respect, case studies of people with Multiple Personality Disorders can make for fascinating reading. Such people will often experience quite severe trauma in their early years that they find difficult to process. In an effort to come to terms with the seeming new reality brought about by a particular traumatic event or situation, they are forced to find a completely different way of seeing both themselves and the world in which they live. This, in turn, will create in them a totally new personality that they are unable to integrate with their existing identity.

This new personality will end up having its own particular take on things and will have its own particular believes and values to support its individual view of the world. Some people with the disorder go on to develop a number of such alternative personalities. At any single time, just one can be in control, but the controlling personality may switch, as quickly as we may switch from one TV channel to another using a remote control.

What is of particular interest here is the way a given personality might change the physical characteristics of a person with multiple personalities. Case studies reveal some most unexpected and fascinating examples of this. For instance, in the same individual:

  • One personality may have poor eyesight while another will have 20/20 vision.
  • One may be left-handed, while the other is right-handed.
  • One may have severe back pain (to the point that an operation is needed), while another will remain symptom free.
  • There is even a documented case where, in the same person, one personality tested HIV positive while another tested another HIV negative
  • and yet another case where only one of a number of personalities was diabetic.

You will agree that the implications of this phenomenon are enormous. Having the same body respond quite so radically to the outlook of the personality controlling it, shows us that the way we see the world is key, not only in determining the way we live and how we handle crisis, but also - perhaps amazingly - to the way our very bodies function.

Just think how this knowledge might, in the future, serve us in the treatment of such conditions as cancer and even heart disease!

Interesting work has been carried out at the Institute of Noetic Science, which was founded by astronaut Edgar Mitchell. Researchers there continue to look at previously unexplained phenomena such as spontaneous healing. Patricia Norris and Nicholas Hall have suggested that “miracles” tend to follow a shift in consciousness or an “epiphany”, which might perhaps take the form of a religious experience, of imaging oneself in a totally new way, or even of falling in love. Of course an epiphany does not guarantee healing; however it does set the stage and may be a necessary condition for those events we end up calling miracles.

Although we know that science previously chose to largely separate the workings of the mind from those of the body, it is now increasingly having to accept their close connection. Indeed, there is a growing acceptance that your thoughts, emotions and physiology operate in such close harmony, one with another, that the workings of one are likely to affect those of the other two.

 

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“The great majority of us are required to live a life of constant duplicity. Your health is bound to be affected if, day after day, you say the opposite of what you feel, if you grovel before what you dislike, and rejoice at what brings you nothing but misfortune.”

~Boris Pasternak