By Dr. Adam Cohen
Imagine yourself entering a modern library, perhaps one as grand as the Library of Congress, where shelves stacked with books run from ceiling to floor in endless rows that stretch beyond sight. Each book contains a wealth of information, pages upon pages of messages that are encoded with words each with their own distinct meaning and story. Now imagine yourself pulling one of these books down from the shelf, thumbing through the pages, and for a moment, sensing the time, energy, and history that all work together in creating this one book, a freckle in body of the total library.
Now imprint this image onto yourself because you are a walking, breathing, moving library. If you were the sum of just your brain cells, the neurons, you would be around 100,000,000,000 books in total, each book representing one neuron in your brain which has anywhere between a few pages (a prose if you will) and 10,000 pages. Each page marks a link to another network of information where data streams through you cranium like telephone wires directed towards relatively significant partners. We could stop there, but that would be a really short story.
Why not take this whole concept a step further and consider the possibility that each of your cells is an independent organism which, when existing in the body, acts as a partner in the magnificent production entitle: YOU. That right, if you take one cell out of your body, put it in a little petri dish, and give it some food, your cell will survive quite independent from you. Thanks to the homogeneity of your body, you remain one complete organism. But, in theory, you are a bundle of trillions of living cells.
When it comes to body wisdom, the real question we must ask is how do all these little organic beings stay in communication with one another to create a single entity? The answer depends upon the teacher; if you are a strict rationalist who says all that is can be observed objectively, you may say that the nervous system is responsible. If, however, we come across a more eastern thinker with a more expanded approach we may venture into considering things like emotions, quantum-like energies, and consciousness. But regardless of what system you choose, one thing is for certain: there is something spectacular happening inside of us where many little bundles of life and information are working together to create you and me.
The secret to body wisdom begins with understanding the relationship between all things. There is the way in which our cells communicate and interact with one another. That’s one type of relationship. There are even relationships within the cells themselves like that of the DNA and RNA which regulate the cells behaviour. There are also relationships of other nature. One example is the relationship between the cells as they relate to time. A past event, for instance, can be imprinted upon a cell which can in turn affect the behaviour of a relating cell in the present or future. No example is more tell-tale than the effects of trauma where memories of a past infliction are stored in the cells which consequently affect the long term behaviour of the total system.
Body wisdom can work with us or against us. Because every cell is connected to all the others through just a few short steps, one impression will affect all the others. This creates an infinite loop of effectuation where one reaction leads to a continual progression of events.
The real trouble arises when information stored within us is not translated into something positive or removed from the system. This is the cause of all the disorders we face in life: one negative thought perpetuates itself, thereby creating more negative thoughts by affecting more and more cells. Viruses of the mind are much like viruses of the body, and foreign infections can become a native problem when they begin to reproduce within this networked system.
It is easy to understand why no mental disease just mental or physical disease purely physical. If everything is interrelated cause and effect would have it that any disorder in the mind leads towards a disorder in the body and vice versa. Body wisdom is so advanced that any introduced change to the system creates systemic change which can reproduce to create long term affects to the homeostatic of that total system.
Hence the reason why, like viruses, negative thought patterns can be just as harmful as foreign bodies; when they begin to reproduce they inch their way into the total system thereby creating change to the continuity of your total self.
Learning how to work cooperatively with the body’s innate wisdom is the first step in understanding ourselves. If thoughts affect physical health and physical health affects mental wellness it is no surprise that maintaining both good physical and mental health leads towards a much happier human being. We also know that if one system is lagging, and we find it difficult to work with that system we can promote the corresponding system’s wellness to help get a leg up on the situation. Imagine that you are constantly thinking about something negative; you just broke up with your boyfriend; your boss fired you; you have not direction in life. If managing the thoughts seems difficult, we can indirectly start by promoting physical health. Eating a better diet, getting more regular sleep, and practicing supportive exercise are just a few ways to start living a better life.
Another alternative we have available to us is learning to listen to our bodies. Times have changed quite drastically for the human race, especially over the last hundred years. What were once open prairies, waving corn fields, and jagged mountains have become super markets, board meetings, and cubicles. This severed connection to nature has, in effect, severed a relationship to our own natural cycles and awareness which has drastic implication when we consider the value of a health body and mind. Learning how to reconnect with our own inner nature is a major leap in entering a stronger relationship to the needs, weaknesses, and unlimited potential of our integral self.
Despite our advance technologies people still suffer from the same problems as before except now we can suffer longer. But it does not have to be this way. Body wisdom is profoundly important in the modern age where the possibilities for success are much greater than before and only limited by the nature of our involvement. Here, within each and everyone one of us, is a highly potent system with intelligence far beyond what we might imagine, yet actualizing this potential is only possible when we learn to listen, observe, and engage with the most advanced single system in the world: You.