Did you know that your mind and your brain aren’t the same thing? According to scientists, the mind may be linked to the brain, but it can exist beyond it, and even beyond our bodies.
If that feels like a big pill to swallow, don’t worry, there’s a perfectly good explanation surrounding why scientists think this way.
So, what is a “mind?”
A mind is defined as consciousness, or the core of your being. It is the cornerstone of being human. Our ability to think and act on our thoughts, as well as our feelings and our ability to express emotions all comes from our mind.
Sure, it originates in the brain, but the actions come from the functioning mind, which is considered separate from the brain.
The brain is the engine and the mind is the gasoline making the brain work. If the brain is the physical product, then the mind is the conscious product.
Can the mind exist outside the brain?
A psychiatry professor at UCLA School of Medicine, Dan Siegel, published a book called Mind: A Journey to the Heart of Being Human, and in it he describes the mind as something that can live outside of our physical being.
He first introduced this concept over 20 years ago where scientists were meeting to discuss a number of interdisciplinary sciences including neuroscience, physics and anthropology.
The purpose of the meeting was to determine a common understanding of how the mind works and functions because each field had its own understanding. They landed on a definition that gave the mind its own implications, purpose and functionality.
After much discussion, they decided that a key component of the mind is: “the emergent self-organizing process, both embodied and relational, that regulates energy and information flow within and among us.”
The concepts that came out of that meeting, and the subsequent publishing’s of Siegel, have prompted an understanding that our mind is not limited to our perceptions; there is no way to separate ourselves from our subjective views of the world; and we cannot limit our understanding of the world to what we see in front of us.
He gives the example of describing a coastline in which someone tells him the coastline is defined as either water or sand, and he argues that it is both. So it is not only what we see, but what we process that makes our minds beautiful.
The mind is like math
Siegel believes, as do many other scientists across multiple disciplines, that the mind is like math and it fits into a definition of complex mathematics because it can influence things outside itself, it’s randomly distributed, it’s non-linear, and self-organized.
We look to our surroundings and our experiences to make meaning of our lives and understanding how our brain and mind fit into those surroundings and experiences can help us experience life in a more fulfilling way.
Siegel says we can take control of how we see ourselves, our mind, our bodies, and the world we live in by being in touch with how our mind impacts our lives, and how we impact each other’s lives
The trick to living a happier life, according to Siegel, is to share life with others and be a part of something that is outside ourselves.
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