The Connection Between the Brain and the Mind

By E. Gene Rooney

While we understand much of the physical anatomy and physiology (electricity and chemistry), we understand much less about the mind and almost nothing about the spirit. Nor do we understand about the interrelationship between the mind and the brain, the mind and the body, the body and the brain and the body and the spirit.

We can measure physical, electrical and chemical energy. We have not learned to measure spiritual energy…at least not with test tubes, x-rays, or oscilloscopes, CT’s or MRI’s.

But we can observe the energetics of brain, mind and behavior, especially as they relate to spiritual beliefs and attitudes.

We can observe, but we understand poorly, the energetic component of sacred healing and the relationship between the brain and the mind. Although we have studied the brain far more than the mind or spirit, we still have much to learn about it. For instance, what is consciousness? Much less, what is unconsciousness or sub-consciousness?

We certainly know little about what constitutes the mind. And we know even less about how the mind and brain interact and interface. And, what is the relationship of one brain with another, much less the relationship of two minds? And, what is the relationship between the “living aspects” of animals and plants to the human mind? And is the human spirit related to the mind and to what degree.

Given that 90% of humanity believes the spirit survives physical death, what part of us survives? Remember that when we try to understand mysteries, paradoxes, enigmas, and ambiguities, common sense and intuition are often more enlightening and useful than logic.

All attributes of personality (attitudes, emotions and beliefs) have only tentatively been studied, evaluated and measured, largely because we have insisted on using the tools of physical studies (science) to measure everything “as if” they, too, were physical.

As a result, we are only now (in our hemisphere) beginning to examine the consequences of emotions and behavior on health, and the relationship of stress (physical, chemical, emotional, mental, electro-magnetic and spiritual) to the overall health of an organism.

This means that we know very little about health, though we are coming to know more about the disease process.

Still, what the relationship might be between negative thoughts, stressed emotions and sin, is only now being studied. But, these relationships have long been observed. Ex: Jesus spoke often of the relationship of some illness and sin. (John 9:2-3 – blindness; Matt 9:2-6 – palsy; Mark 2:5 – palsy; Luke 5:20 – palsy)

Sin (“hamartia”) means “to miss the mark.”

Mahatma Gandhi popularized awareness of seven types of social sin:

Jesus was far more complex:

At both the individual and the social level, missing the mark of God’s intentions leads to a disoriented or diseased life.

At the individual level, evidence of the adverse effects of negative thinking and feeling and relationships are pretty convincing to anyone willing to examine the facts. Such things as fear, guilt, anger, anxiety and depression are clearly linked to health problems, but longer periods must be studied to see the link. A brief exposure to a virus can cause illness, but a brief emotion will not. We have difficulty seeing the connection between cause and effect when the time factor is extended.

Such emotions evoke a stress reaction which, in the long run, can be more damaging and pervasive than the effects of tobacco, caffeine or alcohol but in the short term far less noticeable.

Such gross emotional reactions, however, are still easier to connect to stress and illness than such things as prejudice, discrimination, judgmentalism, bigotry or hatred.

We assume such negative relationships can be negative, health-wise, but can saintly behavior, such as Mother Theresa’s, benefit a person physiologically? Again, these broader questions have yet been scientifically studied, and may never be, due to the difficulty of controlling all variables as the scientific method demands.

Nevertheless, the work of Hans Selye, Kenneth Pelletier, Hans Eysenck, and summaries by Blair Justice (Who Gets Sick) provide great descriptions of the disease implications of emotions and behavior.

In summary: We know enough already to state that you cannot afford to get into (and be locked into) such feelings as fear, anxiety, anger, guilt, depression, hate, etc. And, you can’t afford prejudice, hatred, resentment, greed, ignorance (refusal to accept truth or facts), dislike or bigotry. At some level, after some time, there has to be not only a psychological effect, but a physiological negative effect.

Such feelings zap the strength and energy which means they eventually zap our strength.

What are the antidotes? Joy, happiness, serenity, peacefulness, laughter, optimism, forgiveness, patience, tolerance, compassion and love. What are the behaviors that go with them? Patience, kindness, compassion, helping others, doing good – these attributes of the spirit enhance overall well-being and, thusly, overall health and immune strength.

The ultimate regulator of body is the brain and mind, and, thus, the electro-magnetic framework is the human spirit. The key to the most robust health possible is attitude and faith – that is, one’s belief in the ultimate goodness of the universe.

Tools for this overall health are good attitudes, strong beliefs, relational peace, compassionate love, relaxation, visualization, regular worship and meditation.

E Gene Roooney
Jefferson City, MO

1997-2006 E. Gene Rooney and Bobby G. Bodenhamer - All rights reserved.