Though we search the world over to find the beautiful, we find it within or we find it not.
–Ralph Waldo Emerson
Q: Dr. Miller, you practice Mind-Body Medicine, why is the Mind/Body Connection so important?
Answer by Dr. Miller: “Essence,” “divine child,” “soul,” “spirit”– our connection with the concept we call “Self” is far more important than what we name it. Awareness of its power and purpose changes your life’s potential. You have the greatest access to Self when the mind/body connection is strongest and there are many, many benefits to purposefully seeking it.
When you are in touch with your Self, you enter a state of extraordinary receptiveness in which valuable information can be revealed, received, and assimilated without the distortion of “mind chatter.” The essence of who we are — Self — is most clearly visible in the open, candidly vulnerable face of a child, you can feel it in their honest and free expression of emotion. Consider how rapidly a child learns, without conscious struggle, without self-judgment and without questioning the value of the growth they are pursuing. Commitment, passion, and purpose are clearly present and clearly provide them with the strength to succeed. It is natural for very young children to experience what we might call “failure” with no loss of self-esteem.
The more frequently the Self is accessed the more “inspired” and creative our daily lives become. People report experiencing a sense of relief, of release, of completion, of recognizing personal truth and having a renewed conviction and purpose. Goals become defined and reaching them seems possible at last!
Mind and body are one, whatever happens, it happens to both. This implies a concept of healing which is deeper than usually anticipated by conventional Western Medicine and Psychology. It is a. return to an ageless healing approach which integrates, rather than separates, the mind and body. Approached in this way, the deepest motivation for the greatest change becomes available.
Most cultures accept the integration of mind and body, but this has not always been true in the Western world. A couple of hundred years ago the curious notion was invented that the mind and the body are somehow separate. This concept was maintained well into the 1970s and 80s in the field of medicine — until overwhelming experiential evidence demonstrated it’s absurdity. Many people still have trouble releasing this notion. Physicians who “know best” and patients who “know nothing” deprive each other of a truly deep healing experience.
Negative conditioning can diminish our sense of Self when we’re very young. We may hide emotions that are not honored by our families — we may even hide them from ourselves.(If we live in a family made dysfunctional with alcohol, drugs, abuse, or other trauma we have a need to develop an internal wall to separate us from emotions and feelings we were never intended to handle.) A feeling deficit begun in childhood may also result in seriously eroded self-esteem, destructive behavior patterns, and the development of emotional, behavioral, or physical symptoms. The wall we erect to isolate our feelings is reinforced to contain our disappointments: this structure denies us access to the Self we need for full participation in life. If we’re fortunate, sometime in our adult life we will notice what has happened to us.
It is commonly believed that adults will deny the need for change until after they “hit bottom.” (Having “nowhere to go but up” may result in the discovery of the wall and what is behind it, including the lost Self.) Must devastation be the only motivation for change? Of course not — not when we can return at will to a non-judgmental state where “failure” carries no shame and the courage to try, to dream, to succeed is accessible. In this state of mind change becomes possible and denial is unnecessary.
When you strenghten the mind/body connection it leads to the highest level of change, growth, and healing possible — a course of action born of desire, not imposed by will or desperation. When intervention is designed for the mind as well as the body; both the individual and their life experiences are considered. This is the basis for Mind/Body medicine.