There is much talk of the importance of the body and it’s contractions, feelings, in this spiritual marketplace. Though the dialogues we are engaged in are called “Thinking Dialogues,” they in no way exclude the body. The title of the book that is, in part, the inspiration for these dialogues, is Thought As A System, by David Bohm. And upon investigation, whether we are looking into thoughts, sensations, images, or sense perceptions, it is just that—a system, not of divided parts, but the undivided experience prior to the idea of parts.
It’s known as the Cartesian split, after Rene Descartes, that fateful division that now dominates all branches of knowledge, from the personal–to physics, medicine, philosophy, psychology, and so on. Do we take this artificially created division into the spiritual search, into inquiry itself? In fact, doesn’t the word “spiritual” create another mind-created division, that doesn’t exist outside of thought? Spiritual and what? We have the dualistic assumption of head/heart, conscious/unconscious, within/without, here/there, this/that, and body/mind.
So in the investigation of thought, we are not excluding, favoring, or dividing, any aspect. With thought as a system, we are looking at the whole mind/body experience, and seeing through those semiotic divisions. The experience is not one of separating the two—mind from body, thought from feelings or sensations—but uniting them, bringing them back together, seeing them as whole. As one participant remarked, “The division never happened.”
How often a feeling arise without a thought? Does thought not describe and label feeling? “I am sad,” is a thought that has a co-arising physiological component. And if there is a physiological experience that feels like sadness, or depression, does not thought come in first to label it as such, and reflexively give reasons and a story for that bodily experience? It is not even that thought and feeling are interrelated, or that there is an interaction—that would imply two, or a split. It is that there is no division to begin with beyond the mind’s ideas. There may be an idea of body and mind, but is that the actual experience, upon close investigation?
This insight contains no behavioral proscription or prohibition. It is not about excluding, or doing or not doing, body work or an examination of thought, focusing on one over the other. It is a perceptual shift that results in the integration and acceptance as both as one systemic, holistic experience.
Once again, as is so often the case with a mind-dominated structure, the so-called “mind/body problem” is a situation created by thought, for which the same split mind tries to come up with a solution. Crazy.
“…one of the key difficulties has always been that thought does something and then says that what it is doing is not thought. Thought creates a problem and then tries to do something about it while continuing to make the problem, because it doesn’t know what it is doing. It’s all a bunch of reflexes working.” ~ David Bohm
If the world and experience are not divided in this way, between head and heart, body and mind, within and without, here and there, would there still be the painful sense of being cut off? Split in two? Conflicted? Limited? Not enough, ever? What would it feel like to be without this split? Where is the evidence that it exists, beyond the mind?