Bodymind

Bodymind is an approach to understand the relationship between the human body and mind where they are seen as a single integrated unit. It attempts to address the mind–body problem and resists the Western traditions of mind–body dualism. The term bodymind is also typically seen and encountered in disability studies, referring to the intricate and often inseparable relationship between the body and the mind, and how these two units might act as one. The field of psychosomatic medicine investigates the embodied manifestations of psychological processes.

Dualism vs holismEdit

In the field of philosophy, the theory of dualism is the speculation that the mental and the physical parts of us- like our minds and our bodies- are different or separate.[1] Holism is the idea or speculation that all the properties of a system- such as the system of our thoughts, and the system of our body- cannot be determined or explained by looking at its components individually. Rather, the whole system looked at a complete whole is a determiner in understanding and viewing the idea, concept, or theory being questioned.[2]

On the Western side of the globe, popular culture tends to be more on the side that there are two centers of our being that makes us who we are and how we see and interact with the world. The first is the mind – the center of our thoughts, and the heart (or body) – which is the center of our feelings. In Western culture, there is more of a debate on whether these different parts that make us unique are separate or connected.

In Eastern culture, especially in areas such as and surrounding India and the Middle East, the idea of body-mind is the exact opposite. The words “mind” and “heart’ both translate into “chitta,” which refers to the mind. “Chitta” is one of the three overlapping terms used that refers to the mind. The other two are “manas” and  “viññāṇa.” Together, they are parts that make up the whole or entirety of our minds, and our mental processes as a whole. Often used in practices such as yoga, commonly used and followed in more “self-help” medicines, In the Indian model, this heart-mind has three aspects: the capability of paying attention and sensory processing, the creation of our identity or self-image (more commonly known as Ego), and the capacity to imagine things, form judgements, and making decisions.[3]

Historical backgroundEdit

An important figure in the concept and belief of body-mind is an American philosopher, scholar, and professor of philosophy, religion, and culture, William H. Poteat (19 April 1919 – 17 May 2000). Throughout the course of his lifetime, Poteat was known for his great contributions to Post-Critical Philosophy and for being the leader of formative and influential ideas such as “bodymind.”[4] As a man who emphasized in philosophy, it is said he identified himself as a “” practicing dialectician.” He was known to encourage and challenge not only himself, but those around him, to question, understand, and challenge the reasoning and facts of the confusing aspects of modern life. Poteat drew his inspirations and ideas from Michael Polanyi, who wrote “The Stability of Beliefs” in 1952. In this essay, Polanyi spoke about how there are two ways of holding beliefs. He stated, “Some are held by the explicit profession of certain articles of faith, as the Apostles’ Creed when recited in the words of the Book of Common Prayer. The other form of belief is held implicitly by reliance on a particular conceptual framework by which all experience is interpreted.”[5] Other influential people Poteat looked to for further inspiration were the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855), a man considered to be the first existential philosopher (philosophy that emphasizes individual existence, freedom, and choice), the Austrian-British philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951), the French philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1908–1961), and Hannah Arendt (1906-1975), a German-American philosopher and political theorist and many others. Together, these people and their ideas, along with Poteat’s own ideas and theories, helped him further understand and share the concept and ideas of what bodymind is in today’s modern world.

Bodymind and religionEdit

The approach to bodymind is believed in and viewed through multiple faiths and practices. These include Vajrayana, Mahayana, Theravada, and Zen Buddhism. Like many religions today, these different branches of Buddhism originate from the same root and tree. They have very similar ideas and beliefs, but there are differences in the way they practice and live their beliefs. However, in each of their faiths, the concept of bodymind, otherwise known as namarupa, is key. Another similarity that all the different branches of Buddhism share is the daily practice of “Sila” “Samhdai,” and “Prajna.” The idea and practice of Buddhism originated in India, and is now practiced throughout the world. The core teachings of Buddhism are the Three Universal Truths, The Four Noble Truths, and The Noble Eightfold Path.

The three Universal Truths are: Nothing is lost in the universe, everything changes, and the law of cause and effect. The Four Noble Truths are: suffering exists (Dukkha), there is a cause of suffering (Samudaya), there is an end to suffering (Nirodha), and in order to end suffering, you must follow the Eightfold Path (Magga). Finally, the Eightfold Path consists of the following:

1)   Right understanding of the Four Noble Truths

2)   Right thinking

3)   Right speech

4)   Right conduct or action

5)   Right livelihood

6)   Right effort

7)   Right mindfulness

8)   Right concentration

Buddhism is one of the main ways in which we can view and more fully understand the bodymind approach- especially in today's modern world of many different advancements, ideas, and beliefs.[6]

Modern understandingEdit

“The mind is composed of mental fragments- sensations, feelings, thoughts, imaginations, all flowing now in an ordered sequence, now in a chaotic fashion…. On the other hand, the body is constructed under the underlying laws of physics, and its components obey the well-enumerated laws of physiology. It is these characteristic differences between these two – between mind and body – that lead to the Mind-Body problem." [7] There is still no concrete evidence if the mind has more impact on who we are, or of our bodies do. While the Western population tends to believe more in the idea of dualism, there is no reason to not believe the idea of holism. Many throughout the world who try to understand and live the idea of holism, say they feel more connected with themselves, with the environment, and with those around them. If anything, bodymind shows the significance of connected everything is- both in and outside ourselves. Bodymind is brought up in many different situations today in the modern world- especially in modern and alternative medicines.

Relevance to alternative medicineEdit

In the field of alternative medicine, bodymind implies that

  • The body, mind, emotions, and spirit are dynamically interrelated.[8]
  • Experience, including physical stress, emotional injury, and pleasures are stored in the body's cells which in turn affects one's reactions to stimuli.[9]

The term can be a number of disciplines, including:

The term overlaps in significant ways, especially in its anti-dualist intention, with the philosophical term mindbody developed independently by philosopher William H. Poteat.

Relevance to disability studiesEdit

The term bodymind is most generally used in the academic field of disability studies. Disability scholars use the term bodymind to emphasize the interdependence and inseparability of the body and mind.

Prominent scholars who have written academically about the bodymind include Eli Clare, Margaret Price, Sami Schalk, Alyson Patsavas, and Alison Kafer. Clare and Price have proposed that the bodymind expresses the interrelatedness of mental and physical processes, and Schalk defines the bodymind similarly as it pertains to disability and race.

One of the first scholars to popularize the concept of bodymind is Eli Clare, a writer and activist for queer and disability studies. Clare uses bodymind in his work Brilliant Imperfection as a way to resist common Western assumptions that the body and mind are separate entities, or that the mind is “superior” to the body.[22] Similarly, scholar Margaret Price writes that the combination of ‘body’ and ‘mind’ in one term acknowledges that “mental and physical processes not only affect each other but also give rise to each other—that is, because they tend to act as one, even though they are conventionally understood as two”.[23]

Scholar Sami Schalk in her work Bodyminds Reimagined uses the term bodymind to recognize that “processes within our being impact one another in such a way that the notion of a physical versus mental process is difficult, if not impossible to clearly discern in most cases”.[24] Schalk emphasizes the utility of the term bodymind as it relates to disability and race. In analyzing histories of race, gender, and disability, Schalk notes that it is important to recognize the non-physical impact of various oppressions. For Schalk, the term bodymind highlights the “psychic stress” of oppression.[24] In relation to transgenerational trauma in people of color, bodymind is used to show how the psychological toll of oppression and its resulting stress has lasting mental and physical manifestations.

The connection between the body and mind is not merely theoretical; for example, the interrelation between mental and physical health is explored in the field of psychosomatic medicine, which investigates bodily processes in relation to social and psychological factors. For example, the psychiatric condition major depressive disorder often manifests physically in the forms of excessive sleeping, loss of appetite, weight gain or loss, back pain, and headaches.[25]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Robinson, Howard (2017), "Dualism", in Zalta, Edward N. (ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2017 ed.), Metaphysics Research Lab, Stanford University, retrieved 2020-04-10
  2. ^ "Metaphysics - By Branch / Doctrine - The Basics of Philosophy". www.philosophybasics.com. Retrieved 2020-04-10.
  3. ^ "On the Mind: the Difference between Eastern and Western Conceptions". #embodiedphilosophy. 2017-08-14. Retrieved 2020-04-10.
  4. ^ "whpoteat.org". whpoteat.org. Retrieved 2020-04-10.
  5. ^ Polanyi, Michael (1952). "The Stability of Beliefs". The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science. 3 (11): 217–232. doi:10.1093/bjps/III.11.217. ISSN 0007-0882. JSTOR 685265.
  6. ^ "UNHCR - The UN Refugee Agency". www.unhcr.org. Retrieved 2020-04-10.
  7. ^ Taylor, John G. (2010-10-28). "Mind-body problem: New approaches". Scholarpedia. 5 (10): 1580. Bibcode:2010SchpJ...5.1580T. doi:10.4249/scholarpedia.1580. ISSN 1941-6016.
  8. ^ Damasio, Antonio (2000). The Feeling of What Happens: Body and Emotion in the Making of Consciousness. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ISBN 978-0156010757.
  9. ^ Keleman, Stanley: Your Body speaks its Mind, Center Press (US) (1989) ISBN 978-0934320016
  10. ^ Michael Irwin, Kavita Vedhara (2005). Human Psychoneuroimmunology. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-856884-1.
  11. ^ Totton, N. (2003) Body Psychotherapy: An Introduction Open University Press. ISBN 0-335-21038-4 (pb); 0-335-21039-2.
  12. ^ Staunton, T. (Ed.) (2002) Body Psychotherapy Brunner Routledge. ISBN 1-58391-115-4 PB0; 1-58391-116-2 (pb)
  13. ^ Macnaughton, I. (2004) Body, Breath and Consciousness: A Somatics Anthology, ed. Macnaughton, North Atlantic Books. ISBN 1-55643-496-0 ISBN 978-1-55643-496-9
  14. ^ Courtenay Young (2010) article The Science of Body Psychotherapy Today
  15. ^ Sharf, R. S. (2011) Theories of Psychotherapy and Counselling p. 600
  16. ^ Hill, Daniel (2015) Affect Regulation Theory. A Clinical Model W. W. Norton.& Co ISBN 978-0-393-70726-7
  17. ^ Levenson, James L. (2006). Essentials of Psychosomatic Medicine. American Psychiatric Press Inc. ISBN 978-1-58562-246-7.
  18. ^ Ziehl, Silke. "Jack Painter - Obituary" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2011-08-15.
  19. ^ Erken, Rita and Schlage, Bernhard: Editors: Transformation of the Self with Bodymind Integration. Postural Integration – Energetic Integration – Psychotherapeutic Postural Integration; Articles by 14 international authors; Hubert W. Holzinger Verlag, Berlin (2012) ISBN 978-3-926396-67-9
  20. ^ "Painter, Jack: Postural Integration, Transformation of the Whole Self (1985)" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2015-08-02.
  21. ^ Painter, Jack: Technical Manual of Deep Wholistic Bodywork, Postural Integration; published by The International Centre for Release and Integration, Mill Valley, Calif. USA (1984) (2nd edit. 1990)
  22. ^ Clare, Eli (2017). Brilliant Imperfection: Grappling with Cure. Durham: Duke University Press. pp. xvi. ISBN 9780822362760.
  23. ^ Price, Margaret (2014). "The Bodymind Problem and the Possibilities of Pain". Hypatia. 30 (1): 268–284. doi:10.1111/hypa.12127.
  24. ^ a b Schalk, Samantha Dawn (2018). Bodyminds Reimagined: (Dis)ability, Race, and Gender in Black Women's Speculative Fiction. Durham: Duke University Press. pp. 269, 5. ISBN 9780822370734.
  25. ^ "Depression (major depressive disorder) - Symptoms and causes". Mayo Clinic. Retrieved 2019-04-24.

Further readingEdit

  • Benson MD, Herbert; ( 2000) (1975), The Relaxation Response, Harper ISBN 0-380-81595-8
  • Bracken, Patrick & Philip Thomas; (2002), "Time to move beyond the mind-body split", editorial, British Medical Journal 2002;325:1433-1434 (21 December)
  • Dychtwald, Ken; (1986), Bodymind Penguin Putman Inc. NY, ISBN 0-87477-375-X
  • Gallagher, Shaun; (2005) ‚ How the Body Shapes the Mind Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-920416-0
  • Hill, Daniel (2015) Affect Regulation Theory. A Clinical Model W. W. Norton.& Co ISBN 978-0-393-70726-7.
  • Keinänen, Matti; (2005), Psychosemiosis as a Key to Body-Mind Continuum: The Reinforcement of Symbolization-Reflectiveness in Psychotherapy. Nova Science Publishers. ISBN 1-59454-381-X.
  • Mayer, Emeran A. 2003. The Neurobiology Basis of Mind Body Medicine: Convergent Traditional and Scientific Approaches to Health, Disease, and Healing. Source: https://web.archive.org/web/20070403123225/http://www.aboutibs.org/Publications/MindBody.html (accessed: Sunday January 14, 2007).
  • Money, John; (1988) Gay, Straight, and In-Between: The Sexology of Erotic Orientation. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-505407-5
  • Rothschild, Babette; ( 2000) The Body Remembers: The Psychophysiology of Trauma and Trauma Treatment. W W Norton & Co Inc.
  • Scheper-Hughes, Nancy, and Margaret M. Lock; (1987) The Mindful Body: A Prolegomenon to Future Work in Medical Anthropology with Margaret Lock. Medical Anthropology Quarterly. (1): 6-41.
  • Seem, Mark & Kaplan, Joan; (1987) Bodymind Energetics, Towards a Dynamic Model of Health Healing Arts Press, Rochester VT, ISBN 0-89281-246-X
  • Clare, Eli. "Brilliant Imperfection: Grappling with Cure"
  • Schalk, Sami. "Bodyminds Reimagined: (Dis)ability, Race, and Gender in Black Women's Speculative Fiction"
  • Patsavas, Alyson. “Recovering a Cripistemology of Pain: Leaky Bodies, Connective Tissue, and Feeling Discourse”
  • Price, Margaret. "The Bodymind Problem and the Possibilities of Pain”
  • Kafer, Alison. "Feminist, Queer, Crip"
  • Hall, Kim. "Gender" chapter from "Keywords for Disability Studies".[1]
  • McRuer, Robert, and Johnson, Merri Lisa. "Proliferating Cripistemologies: A Virtual Roundtable".[2]
  • Garland-Thomson, Rosemarie. "Extraordinary Bodies: Figuring Physical Disability in American Culture and Literature".[3]
  • Garland-Thomson, Rosemarie. "Becoming Disabled".[4]
  1. ^ Hall, Kim (2015). Keywords for Disability Studies. NYU Press. pp. 89–91. ISBN 9781479839520.
  2. ^ McRuer, Robert; Johnson, Merri (2014). "Proliferating Cripistemologies: A Virtual Roundtable". Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies. 8 (2): 149–170. doi:10.3828/jlcds.2014.13. ISSN 1757-6458.
  3. ^ Garland-Thomson, Rosemarie (1996). Extraordinary Bodies: Figuring Physical Disability in American Culture and Literature. Columbia University Press. ISBN 9780231105170.
  4. ^ Garland-Thomson, Rosemarie (2016-08-19). "Opinion | Becoming Disabled". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-04-25.