Prepared by Carol A. Jacobs, LCSW
Mind Body Soul is a phrase that is used to address the interconnectedness of the Mind, the Body, and the Soul. It is an articulation that asserts that as human beings we are integrated on all three planes, and that attention to any one of these “parts” has an affect on the other two, regardless of our awareness. From this belief and awareness a wide range of practices are available to assist in our integration, healing, and movement into wholeness.
Often referred to as self-regulatory, these practices include: guided imagery and visualization; self-expression through journaling, drawings, and body movement; psychotherapy; prayer; dream exploration; varieties of meditation, both active and still; yoga; tai chi, and many more. These experiences draw us inward, quieting our action-oriented selves and inviting us to be curious about our inner life and our inner world. This inner exploration allows us to access clarity for our lives physically, spiritually, and psychologically.
From the physical perspective these tools have been found to be effective in dealing with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), anxiety, depression, hypertension, gastrointestinal challenges, burn healing, heart problems, and arthritis, just to name a few.
From the spiritual perspective these practices can provide the portal into the Soul, that part of ourselves that is “an eternal being dwelling in a temporal body” (Marion Woodman), or, as Pierre Teilhard de Chardin stated, “We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” Given that life presents us with inevitable suffering, we expand our consciousness by surrendering our ego desires to the wisdom of the Self/Soul, by practicing an inner listening and hearing.
Victor Frankl, a survivor of Auschwitz, in his book Man’s Search for Meaning, suggests that it is our responsibility to go inward to find the “right” answer for ourselves, to discern our individual destiny and place in the world, and to “live it in a real and concrete uniqueness.” We are asked to find meaning in ourselves and our lives.
The Chrysalis Perspective
As a dynamic, evolving way of being in the world and in one’s own self, the Mind Body Soul focus-area folds into Chrysalis Institute’s values. This perspective of tending facilitates the Institute’s values of compassion, wisdom , acceptance, creativity, mindfulness, and balance. The incorporation of Mind Body Soul experiences invites compassion and acceptance of self, while at the same time moving us toward a deepening consciousness and integration of the physical, psychological, and spiritual.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the benefits of integrating Mind Body Soul practices into our lives?
We develop these practices because they help guide us on our journey toward wholeness. They aid in bringing physical health to our bodies and spiritual deepening to our souls. They provide an infusion of reverence for the integration of Mind, Body, and Soul. James Hillman, Jungian Analyst, said that “any alteration in the human psyche resonates with a change in the psyche of the world.” These practices impact us, and we in turn have an impact on the world.
How do we know these practices work?
The “knowing” happens on at least two levels.
Self knowledge, ie how we feel as a result of these disciplines
Positive changes in energy levels
Positive changes in the physical body—healing of physical challenges
Emotional and spiritual awarenesses that provide a deepening level of sustenance
Dr. Norman Doige, in his book, The Brain That Changes Itself, addresses neuroplasticity and states that the human brain can change itself, and does so throughout the lifespan of the human being. He states that the brain can change its own structure and function through thought and activity.
How do we discipline ourselves to do these practices?
We discipline ourselves by making a contract with ourselves and by setting aside time on a daily basis. It is often easier to have a set time each day—the bodysoul often prefers a structured and predictable schedule. It is also helpful to see the word “discipline” as meaning being a disciple to ourselves, which puts us in a place of valuing and honoring ourselves.
Norman Doige | The Brain That Changes Itself | Penguin Books, 2007
Larry Dossey | Healing Words: The Power of Prayer and the Practice of Medicine | Harpercollins, 1993
Gerald Epstein | Healing Visualizations: Creating Health Through Imagery | Bantam, 1989
Victor Frankl | Man’s Search for Meaning | Beacon Press, 1959
James Gordon | Manifesto for a New Medicine: Your Guide to Healing Partnerships and the Wise Use of Alternative Therapies | Perseus Books, 1996
James Gordon | Unstuck | The Penguin Press, 2008
Jacob Needlman | What is God? | Tarcher, 2009
Candace Pert | Molecules of Emotion | Scribner, 1997
Marion Woodman | Dancing in the Flames: The Dark Goddess in the Transformation of Consciousness | Shambhala, 1997