Mindful Versus the Soulful

mindful vs soulfulSince the 60s with the expansion of human sciences and psychological knowledge into common people’s consciousness plus the popular opening to old Eastern traditions and practices, we all know that mind and body are closely related. As the New Year starts and we state our purposes, we may give a new spin to our knowledge about ourselves and introduce into our wishes for a change a third element: our soul. Invisible, easy to deny or to be pushed back into the deep and sometimes uncomfortable field of religions, the soul has its own part in every process of change, as the third actor enclosing mind and body.

What we do with our body reverberates in our mind, and the way we think, shapes our body. We’re used to consider this relationship in our diets, our behavior, our addictions, our health and even our fate. When we want to make changes in our life we’re aware that we need a mindful, strong purpose to lead the change. Later, when changes are hard to be won, we blame our facetious mind or our rebellious body with its physical, whimsical, uncontrollable emotions. We rarely consider our soul as an actual element that may influence our purpose. It certainly influences it by absence.

It’s difficult to talk about the soul in a scientific way because we don’t know enough about its matter. We know that in a not so far away moment in history we’ll reach the necessary knowledge on the composition of the ultimate universe matter, those infinitely minute particles way beyond the inside of neutrinos that will give to the soul the proven materialistic existence it always had. Perceived by believers as an extension of God, and by keen non believers as the energy of the Universe that keeps all beings alive, the soul will keep its religious or magic proprieties until its matter behavior can be studied and decoded and we learn scientifically how to use it. Still, many men and women have always had a pragmatic experience of its existence and an intuitive talent to resort to it; not only believers, who learned a series of old rules about its handling and caring, but artists—such as actors, musicians, writers, dancers—who learned how to use it to shape and tune their works of art with the truths and realities of the universe.

Because of the materialistic denial of soul and decline of religions—a powerful philosophical trend during the 20th century—we made of the word “mind” a container not only of the rational and willful thought, but also of emotions, beliefs, patterns of behavior and spiritual yearning. Thus, when we speak about the mind-body connection, we refer both to the most obvious–how our thoughts, learned patterns, and beliefs shape our bodies—as to the most mysterious realm of emotions triggered at the same time by our bodies, genes, thoughts, learned patterns, beliefs and spiritual yearning, thus a territory larger than mind and body combined. That third territory is the soul, the ineffable soul that plays a part in all of our efforts to lose weight, to be fit, to control a disease or an addiction, to feel better and healthier. How can the soul help us and how do we need to use it for the purpose of reaching our better self, whether the self of a lean and fit body, or a balanced and healthy self?

Besides the traditional prayers in the Western religions, over the years we’ve become familiar with many spiritual practices such as meditation, yoga, art therapy, mindfulness, visual guidance, and others. These practices aim to quiet and calm the body and the mind, and, in the sense they’re spiritual, they allow the soul to enter the scene even though not yet to play the main role. Through these practices the soul appears in all its potential but, since there’s not a special awareness about its existence or as a force we may lead and use to favor the good in us, we’re happy just acknowledging its power to calm and make us feel better. We see our soul as a benign energy coming from the Cosmos because our mind called it and our body opened to it. These are familiar terms to anyone who has tried breathing techniques, Chi-Kung or eutony. Still, none of these techniques calls to the awareness of being the owner, as a human being, to a God-like potential to make the best of us. The best of us means to regain health if we have lost it, to improve what we gained, to push forward toward perfection. Artists know about the soul and don’t fear dealing with it. They use their senses, their emotions, their thoughtful mind, but their work isn’t complete until they let the soul in, freeing the living energy of the universe, the energy patroness of excellent works of art and our best selves.

How can the soul help the mind and the body in a losing weight plan, for instance? The thoughtful mind will establish a diet, with a certain number of calories and foods allowed or forbidden. While the body reluctantly complies, the mind works with several spiritual techniques such as a reinforced imagery of the aspired leanness, Reiki to relax the body, and meditation to avoid hunger and depression. The diet might be followed with ups and downs until the desired weight is reached or not totally or the diet is abandoned, opening the door to a relapse and maybe a new tiresome second start. But it also may become a lasting success the very minute soul is called into play. All starts with a soul awareness and the feeling of being part of a powerful energy that only wants to be released to act. The soul, when called, immediately shows its usefulness to redress what’s wrong—like a fattened body shape, for instance, divorced from its Nature. Because the soul is acknowledged, that force which will work both in our mind and body to heal is loosen and free. The soul becomes will and will becomes power over both mind and body. The same diet plan the mind consciously established is now followed by a body empowered by its own need to be healthy. Soon it will be not only the best body self but a complete self made out of mind, body and soul.

The mind-body connection awareness meant a leap in the history of humankind. A new leap is to be made in the 21st century adding to the now old equation, the soul. The awareness of the soul understood as the greatest available energy potential we may count on to make changes in our lives, will mark the difference between a full and lasting success or an unstable change doomed to relapses. In the cases of true success overcoming addictions such as alcoholism, drugs or dependant behaviors, we see once and again soulful wishes winning over the mindful. The true strength for a change comes from somewhere else. The mind-body connection to the soul is the key.

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