The first time I can remember being aware of the spirit, mind, body connection was when I was 15 years of age. My parents would be in constant conflict, my school experience was no less with being bullied by teacher and students alike. At 15 everything came to a climax, my mother was seeking a way out of her marriage, I was entertaining suicidal thoughts and I had developed a condition in my body called oesophagitis, or also known as an inflammation of the gullet. My family physician told me that I had developed this condition because of the stress that was in my life, so he prescribed some antacid and sent me home. First thing in the morning the pressure in my chest was so strong that when I took a deep breath I felt like my chest was caving in and I would usually pass out momentarily. This would be something that I carried in my body throughout the day…taking a deep breath would cause me excruciating pain. It wasn’t until my encounter with Jesus Christ that this condition disappeared.
This life’s experience, though it had a happy ending, revealed to me the close connection that we have between spirit (unconscious), mind (conscious), and body. Our body is a great indicator when things aren’t right in our lives. Our body can tell us when we are off in mind or spirit, it can also tell us when we need to stop and take care of it before we develop an illness. The body is an amazing thing and has a voice that we need to listen to. Now saying that, it is important for me to qualify my last statement. The body’s voice is different than what I call appetite. Appetite is belief and emotional based, its strong voice can mislead us to believe it is the voice of our body. When we understand that appetite activates various bodily functions then we can begin to distinguish the differences between the voice of appetite and voice of the body.
The voice of the body is most visible when we have had personal coaching in this field. The body’s voice often involves the following (though not necessarily limited to): when you’ve worked and the day is done the body will tell you it is tired and wants you to rest, it can tell you when it is hungry, when something is toxic or something is healthy, your body can tell you when you are overworking it, when you need to give it exercise, nutritional interventions, and when it is ill.
Often the body voices what the spirit and the soul are trying to tell you. The body is always speaking to us whether we are awake or asleep. At times it speaks for itself, but more often than not it speaks on behalf of the soul and spirit.
When we experience neglect or abuse our body most always takes in these experiences as well as the happy healthy safe ones. This directly affects our body and in some people it may later develop into an ailment or disease in the body. The body is sacred and should be regarded as such. Too often people neglect, abuse the body. The ancient Gnostics believed the body to be inherently evil and restrictive so some would take punitive action against it while others would simply give into all of the appetites they had.
Most people simply regard the body as a machine. Atheistic thought is that the person is nothing more than a mechanical physiological function. I for one understand the body to be a spiritual temple, a container that carries within it an eternal being.
Too often our society regards the body as an isolated entity. That is why we even talk as though we are not responsible for our body’s illnesses, sleeplessness, or tiredness. We not only need to own our emotions but we need to take responsibility for our body. Don Colbert, M.D. in one of his television broadcasts once stated that about 95% of all illnesses are due to spiritual and emotional issues that have not been resolved. There are many other physicians that make similar claims. Too often do people say, “I just need a pill, a surgery or some other medical procedure to cure me.” I do believe in modern medicine but not at the expense of truth. All physical problems have their origin in the spirit which trickles through the soul and eventually lands in the body as an illness be it acute or chronic. Medical intervention is great because it can save lives but it doesn’t fix lives!
In 1892 William Osler, a Canadian physician, stated that rheumatoid arthritis was a stress related disorder. In spite of his published findings this information was discarded and ignored. Noel B. Hershfield, a clinical professor of medicine at the University of Calgary, stated: ‘”The new discipline of psychoneuroimmunology has now matured to the point where there is compelling evidence, advanced by scientists from many fields, that an intimate relationship exists between the brain and the immune system… An individual’s emotional makeup, and the response to continued stress, may indeed be causative in the many diseases that medicine treats but whose [origin] is not yet known – diseases such as scleroderma, and the vast majority of rheumatic disorders, the inflammatory bowel disorders, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and legions of other conditions which are represented in each medical subspecialty…”’ Psychoneuroimmunology is the science of relating to the interactions of the mind and body.
The connection of the threesome is what makes us who we are and this interconnectivity is really quite mind boggling, but that’s ok because to try and figure out the synergy, intricacies of our very composition probably will take all eternity. Suffice it to understand this basic principle: the spirit, mind, and body is very much intertwined and each depends on each other for energy, support, protection, nutrition and a host of other necessities. So, we need to do ourselves a favour and learn to distinguish the different voices within and in particular the voice of the body because it will tell you what you need to know. Listen to it, what is it telling you?
In my practice I use a therapy that very quickly reveals the body’s strong voice and connectivity to the rest of our being. This therapy is called Sensorimotor Psychotherapy which was developed by Pat Ogden, Ph.D., psychologist. Sensorimotor Psychotherapy or SP for short is a breakthrough therapy in the field of psychology that addresses the body’s voice through the minutest of sensations uncovering and discovering the voice of the body and processing through the unresolved issues of developmental origin, neglect and trauma. I have found this therapy to be a revelation of truly understanding oneself and therefore have begun to honour my body as the temple of God in a much deeper way. My prayer is that you too discover the voice of your body and begin to discover yourself in a new healthy way.
 Mate, Gabor M.D., When The Body Says No: the cost of hidden stress (Toronto: Random House of Canada Ltd. 2003) 5.