Jan 10, 2021 | Mind-Body | 0 comments

What is Mind?

Mind-Body | 0 comments

Written by Matt Taylor

“MIND” is a familiar word but if you ask someone what it means, you will begin to realise that it is pretty hard to define.

We come across the word all the time, in many different arenas. We hear it in everyday phrases such as, “I’ve changed my mind” or “my mind went blank” as well as in more professional capacities like medicine psychiatry and the subject of mental health.

We know that it is a term which describes our thoughts, ideas, feelings and imagination but how do we define it? I am no expert an I’m not about to create a definition myself, but I have come across some very useful concepts from people who have laboured over the matter in order to create greater clarity. 

 

My very well-read wife bought what is now one of my favourite most books entitled, “A System View of Life – A Unifying Vision” by Fritjof Capra and Pier Luigi Luisi (She is a fan of Capra who also wrote “The Tao of Pooh). The book covers a huge number of subjects under the umbrella of life, far too many for me to list here, including the subject of the mind and consciousness.

It is very comprehensive and detailed, tying together many subjects and ideas. It challenges the mechanistic view that living systems can be easily broken down into very separate functioning parts, like a complex watch mechanism; a view which is described as “Cartesian” – named after Rene Descartes, the 17th-century French philosopher, mathematician, scientist and key figure in the Scientific Revolution.

 

The section of the book on the mind and consciousness covers the following important distinctions. Here is one of them.

MIND is not the same as BRAIN

This may seem like an obvious statement but I hear this mistake all the time, not just in general chit-chat but by professionals who are trained in the fields of medicine, mental health and meditation. I am not giving anyone a hard time here, before reading the book, I was none the wiser.

So what is the difference?

The book explains theories from Cyberneticists and Biologists that explain that Brain, like the rest of the body, such as bones and muscle, is structure. Mind is process, like a stream of information that is ever-flowing.

Brain, like the rest of the body, such as bones and muscle, is structure. Mind is process, like a stream of information that is ever-flowing

But the mind is located within the brain, yes? 

That would be the obvious conclusion but that assumption is disputed by many now. An article in the New Scientist called “Location of the mind remains a mystery” by Douglas Heaven discusses this in more detail.

Where the mind is located may never be known, science is still struggling with the concept of measuring experience. 

However, the most remarkable entity known to us, your mind, can be investigated and explored and enjoyed just by being still and developing awareness. So profoundly simple that it could be easily overlooked.

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