The Brain: Is it the Source of Health?

The Brain: Is it the Source of Health?

© GLOW IMAGES
model used for illustrative purposes

by Don Ingwerson

As a life-long educator, I get excited when new discoveries are made that show how to maintain health and be freer from physical and mental limitations. My most recent encouragement came from the new book Super Brain, which supports the idea that the brain is important to our health in a number of newly discovered ways.

These new research findings, about how the brain functions under stressful situations that affect health, are almost surreal. They show that the mind has great power to maximize health, happiness, and spiritual wellbeing. The use of these findings could go a long way towards preventing illnesses that have plagued humans for centuries – such as aging, Alzheimer’s, and memory loss – and they point to something many researchers have been saying for some time: that the mind-body connection is more than theory.

What authors Deepak Chopra and Rudolph E. Tanzi do in Super Brain is take the data of mind-body connections to another level. Through scientific evidence they show how the brain functions and how this functioning affects health. In contrast to the “baseline brain” that fulfills the tasks of everyday life, they suggest that through increased self–awareness the brain can be taught to reach far beyond its present limitations. Beliefs about the brain that tend to be limiting can be overcome by combining cutting-edge research with spiritual insights.

One reason scientists continue to search for the source of consciousness, or this higher brain function, is that qualities of thought like forgiveness, humor, and love have a positive impact on the body. Yet to date the search to find the material source for these healing qualities has been unsuccessful. Limiting consciousness research to laboratory analysis of brain tissue (where measurements are more quantifiable) could be inhibiting a full exploration and understanding of consciousness.

But many top scientists continue to search for answers about consciousness. Australian researcher David J. Chalmers, in a video called The Conscious Mind, asks, “How does the water of the brain turn into the wine of consciousness? How is it that all of this matter adds up to something as complex, as interesting, and as unique as consciousness?” And evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins was asked, “What is the one question you most want to see answered?” He replied, “How does subjective consciousness work? How does it evolve?”

Is it possible there’s value in looking in a different direction than biomedical and body-based research to areas that are more subjective and metaphysical?

“In the areas of health and wellbeing, research shows that how we express ourselves spiritually definitely matters. Whom we affiliate with…whether we make time for regular devotion, what we believe, the strength of our faith…these things contribute to whether we become ill or stay well,” claims Jeff Levin in God, Faith and Health: Exploring the Spirituality-Healing Connection.

This idea that spiritual thought affects health was shown recently when a friend of mine, who was suffering from terror dreams, decided to use prayer as his alternative medicine. The biblical statement, “Preserve me, O God: for in thee do I put my trust” (Psalms 16:1) was very meaningful and helpful. This spiritual thought, along with, “The divine Mind that made man maintains His own image and likeness,” expressed in the book, Science & Health with Key to the Scriptures, gave him the prayerful strength to overcome this mental suffering. He was healed from the condition overnight and hasn’t had a relapse. Of course, there are many who would say that the correlation between his healing and prayer is too subjective. How can we be sure how he got better? But many, including Chopra, Tanzi, and my friend, are convinced that there is a link to a source – my friend would call it God, others might call it consciousness – that produces positive healing results.

Many individuals are turning to alternative and complementary medicines in their own search for healing. They, like researchers and others, may not be able to identify the source of their healings, but they tend to know when they are physically and mentally well. Maybe researchers will find proof that consciousness is more than matter, evolved from a higher source, and Dawkins’ question will be answered.

Step by step, physicians and material scientists such as Chopra and Tanzi, as shown in Super Brain, have been prodding us to ask what constitutes the qualities we deem healthy by demonstrating that qualities of thought have a positive impact on bodily wellbeing. But if faith in matter is a barrier to the kind of thinking that heals, could that suggest why solely a search of matter for consciousness keeps coming up short?

Article first published in Blogcritics

About the author

Don Ingwerson Don regularly blogs on health and spirituality and lives in Laguna Beach with his wife - both Christian Science practitioners. He brings his years serving the public in education to his work as a liaison of Christian Science, where he maintains contacts with the media and legislative offices.

Comments

  1. Jim says

    Thank you for a very insightful parallel between the physical and metaphysical aspects of the mind and the power of healing thought.

  2. Judy says

    Most interesting and insightful. Thank you for alerting us to these other thinkers and to their educated findings. There is definitely room for alternative care for our bodies…and the world is coming to this conclusion.

  3. Ann Botts says

    Don: Thank you for this article. This is a keeper to share. Sure lets one know that Mary Baker Eddy was divinely inspired to write SCIENCE AND HEALTH as a textbook for study of he Bible and a textbook for living—and to write it when she did. As a Christian Scientists, it makes me even more grateful for the Truths found in this textbook. I am grateful to have it part of my life and to watch thinking people acknowledge the truths in this book. Ann Botts, Banning, Ca

  4. says

    Don, Thank you for an inspiring article that can be shared with many thinkers who are looking for a scientific approach to everyday life. It shows that the element of chance is actually not a factor in our well-being.

  5. Anne says

    Another excellent article on important research going on about the flexibility of thought. in regard to health. I liked the statement “…the mind has great power to maximize health.” As the authors continue, this takes the “mind-body connections to another level.”

    For my own health needs, I’ve found that the highest level of understanding is recognizing God as the one Mind. When I see myself as a child of His creation, then I reflect His Mind, and this brings my thinking to a much higher and more spiritual level. I’ve had many healings using this thought process. Mary Baker Eddy’s book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” offers the best explanation of this method of healing.

    Faith in the study of matter is a fascinating subject to many and certainly can reveal some important discoveries. But it will always come up short in the universe created by God, the one Mind.

    Thank you for this “food for thought” blog.

  6. Pamela says

    Had a 10 hour power outage yesterday but wouldn’t miss your blog for anything so am just reading it today and am sooooooo glad I did. This message is really an eye opener. To me it shows us that many people in our world today are really seeking a better understanding of how the body and mind work. And more and more they are realizing that the mind-body connection isn’t what it appears to be. For me it is a God connection that really helps and heals mankind.

    When asked years ago by one of my girl scouts what I would do if God didn’t heal me (she knew I was a practicing Christian Scientist) I simply said, “I don’t know because He has always healed me.” But for those individuals who have not had that kind of experience I can understand their seeking an answer through matter because that is what seems so real. It is what we see with our eyes and because of that very fact they have a difficult time seeing past the material to the spiritual idea of man.

    But I am so grateful for the progress that is geing made in that direction and for the thinkers in our world who are seeking a better understanding of health and where it actually comes from. Thanks Don, for this great and informative Blog.

  7. Jim R says

    This blog reminds me of the Christian Science Bible Lesson for December 10-16 — Is the Universe, Including Man, Evolved by Atomic Force. Here are some thoughts I had on that subject: “What is implied in the title? There is no mind in matter, and atoms are the supposed smallest complete forms of various kinds of matter. Atomic force, then, is mindless, unintelligent, and so manifests unpurposed, unintelligent combinations of these tiny particles. So it would involve accident, chance, and so manifest both possible good and possible evil effects.” Now these researchers are finding evidence of intelligence and purposeful intelligent thinking, not accidental good results. Is it matter that is producing these results, or is it intelligence? Is it atoms, or Mind? Interesting.

  8. Sue says

    Great article! Thanks for keeping us abreast of new research and also for pointing out the healing results we find as we turn our consciousness expectantly to God, Mind