The topic of body-mind-spirit is a call to self-care. The interpretations are as subjective as they are at times hazy. Because the spirit and mind are often considered synonymous, understanding their respective physics reveals an opportunity to look at the source of fundamental healing. Self-healing is no stranger to Eastern philosophy as neurobiology weighs in on these macro and micro event.
According to Stanford University, the evolution of physics once was a combined discipline. The word physicsis Greek, meaning nature and its study encompassed many fields. Physics included astronomy, biology, chemistry, mathematics and medicine. Specialization has resulted into the branching of separate fields as modern physics transformed in the 20th century consisting of two basic theories: classical and quantum mechanics. As of the last 50 years, studies of the universe has found equal relevance up close and personal.
Body + Mind
Dr. Ralph Lewis, MD, identifies the body as well as mind to be biologically driven. He says, “The mind is a functional product of the brain reflecting the body’s relation to its external environment.” As thoughts represent things the brain perceives through the senses, they are all physical processes and representations imprinted by the nervous system.
When the subject of “spirit” is discussed, the terms “consciousness” and “awareness” are interchangeable. Qualities like attention, intention and mindfulness are actions directed by the spirit and considered a non-linear field that affects the body and the mind.
India’s ancient scholars professed self-healing as early as 400 BCE. The Sage Patanjali (~200-150 BCE) synthesized the body, mind, spirit connection with remarkable results, however; advancing his work from the shelves of yoga studios to hard science has been slow. The late Swami Rama was pivotal in leading the cause in a unique laboratory experiment.
In 1969, Rama took part in a study at The Menninger Foundation in Kansas City. It investigated voluntary mastery of psychophysiological processes and how the power of consciousness could be documented in a lab environment. Rama stopped his heart for several minutes and later went into altered brain states. He also generated (and doused) inflammatory skin reactions. At the time, Rama’s experiment did not gain the attention it deserved, but since 2015, the Centre for Neural Dynamics in Ottawa has shown evidence of neural networks influenced by spiritual non-linearities.
The Quantum Connection
Niels Bohr and Max Planck discovered quantum mechanics in 1913. Superpositioning, entanglement and tunneling are terms associated with quantum physics and basically mean that subatomic particles can occupy two places at once; they can pass through and even overlap physical barriers. Deepak Chopra’s 1989 book, Quantum Healing, explored consciousness and its restorative viability as a quantum event. His project was ground breaking, but his use of scientific nomenclature on the subject received controversial reviews. Chopra was criticized as a pseudo-scientist, but he argued his references to spirituality and quantum physics was meant to link modern thought with ancient wisdom.
Chopra was not the first to do so. Fritjof Capra, Ph.D., physicist and author of The Tao of Physics, broughtsubatomic language to popularity in 1975. The books, Quantum Enigma by Bruce Rosenblum and Fred Kuttner, offer a solid debate as to why spirituality should enter into the discussion of physics.
Many physicists believe the subject of consciousness does not belong in physics; others think you cannot describe the quantum theory without making mention of it. Dr. Franz Klaus Janson, researcher of quantum physics, free will and bio-psychology says, “Superposition is an essential function of consciousness.”
Historically, the manifestation of healing was relegated to mystics. Now the subatomic dynamics of human functionality broken down into the nonmaterial planes is a dichotomy that science must reconcile. It is what we innately know to be true and, mysteriously, simply by being human. As Capra says, “Physicists do not need mysticism and mystics do not need physics, but humanity needs both.”
Note: Body-mind-spirit healing depends on the ability of the individual taking part in the practice. It does not dismiss established medical treatment.
Originally published in Summer + Fall 2022 issue.
Marja is a certified eRYT 500 yoga instructor. Her 20 years of experience, passion, and sense of humor keeps her approach to teaching yoga and mindfulness light and entertaining. Her academic background includes a BA in health science and an MS in Health Promotion. With a Post Baccalaureate Certificate in community health, her combined studies of yoga and mediation in India serve to enrich her understanding of the mind/body connection. Marja and her husband, John live part time in Colorado and Australia. While in the US, she is an instructor at the Bhava Yoga Studio in Breckenridge Co.