The mind and the body are often in a managerial power struggle. Stephen Hawking had an incredible mind and was afflicted by an illness that betrayed his body. Those suffering with Alzheimer’s have able bodies afflicted by a terrible illness that betrays the mind. These are the extremes, however, what it demonstrates is that the body and mind are co-managers. Sadly, we take that granted most of the time. We take a great deal of things for granted in life, often waiting for tragedy to be the reason we examine and explore the depths of our gratitude. The trick is learning to separate our minds from our egos. Daily practice to detach from ego is the birthplace of fully appreciating the mind/body connection.
Comedian Emo Philips has a joke: “I used to think that the brain was the most wonderful organ in my body. Then I realized who was telling me this.” This brilliant phrase speaks to the ego. That little voice starving for constant praise and attention. That little voice that seeks so much validation that it also knows when to seek pity. This is why characters like Michael Scott from The Office are so maddening, yet somehow remain endearing. But do we really long for others to feel “bad for us”? Do we really want pity for what ails us? When we receive the pity we sought, what do we do with it when we have it? Nothing. The ego gets its validation and then, like the addict it is, simply seeks more. The ego’s greatest triumph is distracting us from the simplicity of being human: to be one in mind and body. Inner peace and/or inner strength does not come from being able in mind and body, it comes from being able to transcend the ego’s need for validation.