It appears to be difficult to discern wherein the body the Mind can be found, although it is not disputed that the Body, Mind and Spirit inter-linked.
During 1950 to 1960s, what is termed ‘The cognitive revolution’ was taking place, where, for the first time ‘cognitive behaviour’ was being considered as a means of understanding how an individual thinks, and what it is that affects their particular thought process.
Cognitive means how an individual understands the world and how they act within it. It is a set of mental abilities or processes that are part of almost every action a human does when awake; brain-based skills needed to carry out any task, from simple to complex; mechanisms of how we learn, remember, solve problems and pay attention.
For instance, talking to another human being involves taking a decision of whether or not to engage with them, language skills, motor skills (perhaps smiling or shaking a hand) social skills and interacting in a way that is acceptable to another human being.
Cognitive abilities are supported by specific neuronal networks, and it is based upon this fact that ‘The cognitive revolution’ determined that the mind is contained in the bodies Nervous System. The Nervous system contains cognitive abilities such as perception, motor skills, attention, memory, language, visual and special processing; along with abilities such as flexibility, anticipation, problem solving, decision making, memory, emotions, inhibition and sequencing; breaking down complex actions into manageable units and prioritizing them in an order that works, and the ability to plan.
The Nervous System has two components:
The Central Nervous System and the Peripheral Nervous System; both systems using neurons and nerves to transmit signals to and from the brain and all other systems of the body.
The Central Nervous System is made up of the Brain and the Spinal Cord.
The Peripheral Nervous System contains all the nerves (neurons) in the body that are outside of the spinal cord and the brain. The primary role of the peripheral nervous system is to connect the central nervous system to organs, limbs, and skin to allow for complex movements.
The nervous system contains automatic responses, these control the body’s internal environment without conscious intervention, it helps to keep vital functions going, such as blood pressure, heart, breathing, body temperature etc.
But the nervous system also contains voluntary actions with conscious thought and choice determining what the body does. Motor impulses that control movement are physical but thought controls choices we make by responding to outside influences and stimuli. For example, people use senses to help co-ordinate actions of walking or running and experiencing emotions such as recalling memories through the senses of smell, taste, touch sight and hearing. This is where unconscious and conscious thought come together.
The Mind, therefore, is partly a physical being, a System of connecting nerves and neurons taking messages to and from all parts of the Body; a part of keeping the body running. But the Mind is also a storage system for memories; a
place where emotions, thought and choice exist. The Mind cannot be pinned down to existing any one place in the body, although the Nervous system is clearly a part of how the Mind works.
There has always been the thought that the Mind existed solely in the Brain, this is now proving not to be correct as neurons are everywhere in the body.
As the Mind is partly physical, then this can be part of the consideration paid to the Body, where there are ways of enhancing its performance. But it is also linked to the Spirit as will be found in part four of this course.
Again considering the Holistic can positively affect both the physical actions of the Mind and the non-physical; bringing us back again to the use of Herbs medications, but use of Herbs in a different way.
As far as we at Possum's Planet are concerned, herbs are determined as anything of a vegetative nature that can be of use.
How can herbs, therefore, affect the Mind?
In a physical way, there are many herbs that have a positive effect upon the Nervous system; where sits the physical part of the Mind. But herbs also have use where the Mind has memories and senses.
Herbs; the feel of them when walking through a herb garden, the sight of a field of buttercups and daisies, the sound of bees buzzing around a pollen-laden glade, and the scent of herbs, whether fresh growing herbs or herbs that may have been dried and used to make incense, all these can affect the senses and invoke memories that may be pleasing and calming to the Mind.
Consider The Company of Trees.
Below is a quote from a book on trees by Archie Miles, the author of the amazing book ‘SILVA’ The quote is given here because to consider the company of trees can’t be spoken any more clearly than this:
“People love the company of trees.
Woodlands stir up varying moods, whether springtime’s natural rebirth, the raucous roar of blustery autumn, the dark cloak of a silent moonless night, or the snow settled white wood of winter.
Clumps of trees form landmarks of fascination and mystery.
Ancient individuals fire the imagination with their massive proportions and their contorted forms which may have evolved over several centuries.
People build personal relationships with trees, making regular visits throughout the year to see how they are getting on, reassured by their renewed glory each spring, concerned by storm-torn boughs in winter, and soothed beneath the great canopies of summer ………………………….
No writer could ever match the poetry expressed in the form of a single tree, for it speaks from its roots through the fibres of its stem, the shape of the trunk, the turn and spread of the branches, the twisting and reaching of the twigs.
A tree speaks.
It speaks of a hundred summers and a hundred winters.
Of storm and droughts and floods and snows, of plague and gales, of rocks and soils and hidden waters of air and birds and pollinating insects.
The whole of the message is contained in the way it has grown, precisely to make use of what its environment has provided.
It states in essence “Here I am, and where I am is what I am”
The way of the saying can only be purely truthful.
Natural laws make it impossible to lie.
If a tree appears to be beautiful it is because beauty is truth and truth is beauty.”
Trees can help to heal both the mind and the body, the physical and the non-physical.