So many people have trouble finding balance in their lives. They push themselves physically and mentally in a way that isn’t sustainable. If you’re having trouble finding balance, it’s helpful to view your mind-body connection in a new way. Here’s an excerpt from the “Mind-Body Conflict” lesson in the Thoughts Module from the New Healing Connection course to help you get started:
Whenever I hear the phrase mind-body connection, I imagine a group of people meditating quietly at a yoga studio with soft music playing in the background. Or I imagine a group of hippies in the 1970s at an ashram in India chanting, “Ohmmmmm.” This phrase has a sort of mystical, otherworldly connotation. It seems that when you’re working with your mind-body connection, your life should become magical, and you should start to do things like levitate.
But as I’ve worked with patients over the years, I’ve come to realize that the mind-body connection is a very important idea for everyone, not just the yogis and the New Age practitioners. I have a very simple approach you can take toward your mind-body connection that can help you work with it on a day-to-day basis.
To explain this simple approach, I’m going to compare your mind-body connection to the relationship between a car and its driver.
Imagine that your body is a metaphorical car, and your mind is its driver. Your mind sits in your body the same way you sit in your car when you’re driving it. Your body moves your mind around from one place to another just like your car transports you from one place to another.
As I’ve said before, the word mind is commonly used to describe many parts of you, including the intellect, emotions, and spirit. I like to be specific and refer to the part of the mind that is creating your thoughts as your intellect. In this lesson when I refer to your mind, I’m talking about your intellect. Your mind—or actually your intellect—is the driver of the car.
From the moment you’re born, your mind gets glued into the vehicle that is your body. It’s as though before your birth, your spirit decided to buy a body. I can imagine my spirit preparing for my birth. I can imagine it walking around a body dealership on the other side, trying to decide what type of body to buy. Should I be a man or woman? What color should I be? What color hair should I have? Should I be big or small? Should I be a marathon runner or have a lower endurance type of body?
When we’re born, our minds get cemented into our bodies. These are the vehicles that transport us through our lives.
The big difference between the mind-body connection and buying a car is the length of the contract. Cars are shorter-term purchases. Maybe you’d expect to have a car for ten or twenty years. But we hope to get a longer life with our bodies. I think most of us would prefer a hundred-year contract for our bodies.
Another difference between the two is the fact that you’re stuck with the same body for your whole life. If your car gets old or you get in an accident, you can trade it in for a new one. But your mind is stuck in your body until you die. Even if you’re quadriplegic and can’t move, your body is still the vehicle that you’re sitting in while you’re on this earth.
There are many similarities between our bodies and our cars. They both need fuel and maintenance work. The fuel for your car is gasoline. The maintenance work includes things like oil changes and tire rotations. If you don’t do those things, your car won’t drive as smoothly. In addition to the basics, you’ll also need to have extra work done if your car breaks down. If you hear a knocking sound in the engine, you’ll need to find out the cause. If you don’t fix it, your car won’t work and you won’t be able to go anywhere.
Your body is more sophisticated than your car, but it works in the same basic way.
It requires fuels like energy, air, food, and water. It needs maintenance in the form of exercise and rest. Each of our bodies has its own specific requirements to keep it healthy. Different bodies have different diet, exercise, and rest requirements. Some bodies like to run marathons, whereas others prefer to take quiet walks. Some bodies need six hours of sleep at night, and others need nine.
Just like with your car, if you don’t do the basic maintenance work on your body, it can break down. If it breaks down, you’ll need to work to heal it or you won’t be able to use it. You won’t be able to go anywhere.
Imagine yourself sitting behind the steering wheel of your car. You decide where your car will go and how you’ll get there. You decide if you should take the freeway or the back streets. You decide whether to run the red light or slow down when the light hits yellow.
In a similar way, your mind sits inside of you and drives the vehicle that is your body. Your mind tells your body where to go and when to go there. It tells your body when to go to sleep and when to wake up. Even if your body is tired, if your mind has things it wants to do, it’ll push your body to keep going. It’ll make your body drink caffeine, eat a doughnut, or smoke a cigarette to get a little more energy.
Your mind decides what kind of fuel your body will take in and how that fuel will be spent. It decides whether you should be a vegetarian or follow a Paleo diet. It decides whether you should eat fast food or cook everything from scratch. It decides whether you should go skydiving on vacation or relax with a good book.
When you think of the phrase mind-body connection, think of the mind as the driver making the decisions about where you’ll go. And the body is the car that follows its directions.
The problem for both your car and your body comes when you don’t take good care of them. It can be easy to be an irresponsible owner and neglect your car. You can forget to change the oil. Or you can drive too fast on bumpy roads and break an axle. You can squeeze your car into a small parking space and find a dent in the door when you come back from your shopping trip.
The same thing happens with your body. Your mind doesn’t always care about what your body needs. It has a tendency to make decisions without listening to your body’s input. It often decides that what it wants is more important than what your body needs. It may decide that it doesn’t have time to cook healthy meals, so it makes your body eat food that’s easy to prepare but that upsets your stomach and makes you gain weight. It may decide that it has too much to do, so it decides you don’t need to exercise this week, even when your body is craving a walk. When you’re going to a party, if your mind decides it wants you to look sexy in high-heeled shoes, it makes your body wear those shoes even if they’re painful.
The relationship between your mind and your body is like any other relationship.
There can be a conflict when one of the members in the relationship neglects or abuses the other. Because your mind is the driver of your life, it tends to be the member in the relationship with more power. It tends to be the one who does the neglecting and abusing.
When your mind neglects your body, you can refer to it as your mind-body conflict. If your mind decides that what it needs is more important than what your body needs, it can push you too hard. If your mind doesn’t allow you to rest, your body can pay the price with fatigue, injuries, and diseases.
To learn more about the mind-body conflict and how to bring balance to your mind-body relationship, Watch the 2nd lesson in the Thoughts Module of the New Healing Connection course, “The Mind-Body Conflict”. Click here for more information.
Remember, you have more power than you can imagine—power to heal yourself and change your life—starting from the inside out.