Tuesday, May 11, 2010

where in the body do we find the mind?

Here are a few quotations from great thinkers about the location of mind:

We must completely give up the idea of the psyche being somehow tied to the brain.  ~Carl Jung

The truth about our childhood is stored up in our body and though we can repress it, we can never alter it.  ~Alice Miller

The body is the most visible form of the unconscious.  ~Carl Jung

My belief is in the flesh and blood as being wiser than the intellect.  The body-consciousness is where life bubbles up in us.  It is how we know that we are alive, alive to the depths of our souls and in touch somewhere with the vivid reaches of the cosmos.  ~D.H. Lawrence

Living structure is always a record of previous development.  ~Fritjof Capra

We know that the immune system, like the central nervous system, has memory and the capacity to learn. Thus, it could be said that intelligence is located not only in the brain but in cells that are distributed throughout the body, and that the traditional separation of mental processes, including emotions, from the body is no longer valid....The cellular level, where emotions are instigated, is also where unexpressed emotions are stored. The catharsis of illness expresses the sudden, overwhelming release of information that has been trapped in our bodies. What Freud termed the 'subconscious' mind is actually a measurable physical process......Your body is your subconscious mind......we can no longer consider the emotional brain to be confined to the classical locations of the amygdala, hippocampus, and hypothalamus.  ~Candace B. Pert, Research Professor in Physiology and Biophysics

Nothing is more injurious to immediate experience than cognition.  ~Carl Jung

The body is not a mindless machine;  the body and mind are one.....the mind is nonlocal......(and) moves throughout our entire body, located in all places at once and not just in the head.  ~Deepak Chopra, M.D.

Do you think of the cells in your body as being intelligent, possessing memory, capable of communication with other cells in your body? 

Do you think of your heart as being your emotional brain? 

Do you listen to the prompts from your body, or are you only interested in what you believe your brain tells you? 

Do you have examples of where your body somehow informed you of something that your brain had overlooked? 

Have you ever considered that while the brain is located in the head and performs many of the functions of the mind, that it is not the entire mind?

Have you read Candace B. Pert's book "Molecules of Emotion"

Dean Ornish, M.D. says, "Molecules of Emotion is a highly inspiring story of the search for the biochemical links between consciousness, mind and body ...."

I'd love to hear your take on this.  Thanks so much for stopping by and I hope you will leave a little 'hello' in the comments before you go.


  1. intriguing...i will check that book out....

  2. Very interesting Bonnie. I've always had a hard time accepting the current thought that the chemical processes in the brain produce the mind. To me it seemed that first came the thoughts of the mind and then the chemical processes in the brain. But I always sort of thought that mind was centered in the brain. Now you have given me much to think about.

  3. Yes, my cells are deeply wise...

    Aloha from Hawaii

    Comfort Spiral

  4. How interesting! I am in absolute agreement..my body often responds before my brain. I just never really thought of this before, but at a cellular level, I'm intrigued.....

  5. I killed most of my brain cells years ago in my drinking days, so I sure hope there's more to consciousness than the brain. If not, I'd be little more than a quivering blob of Jello by now... :)


    Deep stuff, wow. And yes, I do have an example that immediately came to mind. Every October I would get hives - they were horrid and so debilitating. The hives came every year in October until I finally dealt with childhood trauma. October was the first time the teacher had his way with me and I hid it, oppressed it for years inmy mind but my body still reacted via the hives. Once I faced my truth and brought "it" to light I never got hives again.

    Love to you

  7. I'm finding so many things bubbling up in response that it's hard to line them up. I know experiences are encoded in my body -- sometimes massage can trigger profound emotional response if one of the storage places is opened somehow. And of course, my body is always letting me know whether I need to come to full alertness because of danger I haven't perceived with my "mind." I often know things that haven't been processed through thoughts. And though I'm really good at analysis, thoughts can also lead you to the wrong destination if body wisdom isn't factored in.

  8. Hi Bonnie :) Great post! I totally agree with the mind/body connection. It is, to me, so obvious. Look at all the illness connected to our bodies through stress and our thoughts obsessing over our troubles. I believe it is so important to deal with our emotions, go within and figure things out, and then release that pain or give it up to God.
    Beautiful art for this post too :)
    It is good to be here and read your wonderful and always enlightening posts.
    Sending you Love and Light!

  9. Intriguing ideas to ponder...I'll be really interested in hearing peoples' thoughts on this one, Bonnie...You DO start the most fascinating discussions!! Love that!! You're awesome! Love, Janine XO

  10. Interesting to read those quotations back to back. I think of my brain as part of the nervous system than runs my body. Muscle memory supports the ideas you’ve posted here. “It’s like riding a bike.” I also write fiction from experience. I can't think like a lobsterman until I fish with one. I love how your blog makes me think!

  11. Again, you are an amazing teacher! You spark my interest and I must know more!

  12. Stumbled upon your blog and "wow" loving the thoughts here. Will continue to read on...

  13. I agree, and you certainly give lots to ponder here.

  14. Bonnie,
    I've had very little time to read and comment this week (back with kids in Calgary and feel like I'm full-tilt mothering) but have seen your intriguing posts titles. Just read this one and find it extremely pertinent to what I'm picking up and curious about right now. Tomorrow I will renew an old acquaintance with hypnotherapy, with a psychologist who does this, and who has taken courses in German New Medicine, which I am just now reading about. Same body/psyche link as the theme of this post. You must know of it.
    This is all tremendously interesting stuff - quite exciting, really - and while some of the ideas that you have quoted here are familiar to me, many others are not.
    I'm trying to understand the Carl Jung quote. Does it mean that 'thinking' gets in the way of 'feeling'?
    I hope to catch up on your other posts in the new few days, but honestly Bonnie, you're too prolific!!

  15. Thanks for the comments EVERY ONE!!! I so enjoy reading them. It is intriguing to ponder the 'location' of the mind.

    Deborah - I think Jung means that our thinking or intellectualizing or rationalizing can get in the way of being with what is. We become absorbed in our thinking and miss the moment. Thinking is often used as a defense against feeling our feelings. This is the purpose of meditation and mindfulness - to calm the mind, to quiet the eternal inner dialogue/monologue and really just BE.

  16. Thanks for the great quotes. You may also like Descartes' Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain, by neurologist Antonio Damasio.


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