Look After Your Mind – Look After Your Mind
No, the above is not a typo. Glancing again at the phrase we realise that the language tricks us into thinking that there is a me to which the mind belongs. But what is this ‘me’ as distinct from the mind? And does the mind form a part of some greater me?
Get to know oneself
I don’t want to give the impression that I’m just playing with words or pondering trivial ideas. A vital aspect of improving mental and emotional wellbeing is to get to know oneself more thoroughly, this being the aim of most talking therapies.
Even a brief consideration of the mind versus the self can help to further understand our belief systems. These in turn colour the way we perceive and experience the world.
The mind and the brain
The most common belief among many scientists is that the mind amounts to nothing more than the electrochemical activity of the brain. An extension of this idea is that consciousness is an epiphenomenon of the brain, an accidental by-product of purely physical processes. The implication for some is that the mind is expressed through the brain, just as TV programmes are shown through the TV set, and do not originate in the screen itself.
These are deep and murky waters indeed. More metaphysical arguments posit that the essential self is composed of body and mind (some would add soul) and our entire life experience.
The implication here is that what I think of as myself is just part of a much greater Self. Some philosophical traditions argue that this Self is in turn an essential part of the entire Cosmos (this term meaning a well-ordered whole).
It is not possible to even begin to outline the implications of these ideas so let’s go back to the notion of ‘me’ and ‘mind’. It is certainly the case that the mind is greater than the conscious ego (rational principle of the personality).
The notion of the subconscious is widely known – a realm of thought that goes on in the background of our conscious life. It is also generally believed that the subconscious is the storehouse of our memories and the seat of our creativity. Memories, even distant ones, can be triggered by current experiences. For example, we’ve all perhaps experienced a “Eureka!” moment when a sudden insight springs to mind.
So, although the question of whether I am my mind, or whether the mind is part of some greater me has not been answered, I can help to look after my mind by appreciating that I am a part of some astonishing and greater whole, as are we all.