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I have spent my entire professional life focused on helping people be aware of and to cope effectively with their emotions. I always believed, and taught, that emotions are feelings. I also believe our holistic selves are comprised of body, mind, and spirit.  This morning I encountered  a “new thought” that challenges my understanding of emotions.

According to Tolle (1999), our minds are comprised of both thoughts and emotions—as well as unconscious material. Additionally, Tolle writes that: “Emotion arises at the place where mind and body meet. It is the body’s reaction to your mind—-or you  might say, a reflection of your mind in the body” (Tolle, E. ,1999, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment, p. 25, Vancouver, B.C., Canada: Namaste Publishing).

I am quite used to studying how emotions influence our bodies and our health—–I just never before thought of emotions as the intersection between our bodies and our minds rather than  “just being feelings.”  I love the simplicity of this new way of looking at emotions, because to me it makes a great deal of sense. It explains many of the “illness manifestations” my body has experienced through the years. Fears, anxieties,  anger and stress not only contribute to depression——they can be communicated or reflected in our bodies as headaches, stomachaches, muscle spasms, chronic pain, cardiac problems, etc. I have always taught students to be aware of what their bodies are telling them they are feeling, but this new “intersection concept” has given me a new perspective of how closely connected and holistic  we actually are.

So, the “take home message” from my blog’s mental meanderings this morning are to keep this intersection consciousness in mind, and the next time you start getting a headache or feeling the muscles start tightening up in your back neck/shoulder area, ask yourself what emotion your body is expressing?  What is in your mind at this moment that is being expressed in your body?  Can you turn around and go back to the intersection and trace your mind’s steps or thought patterns to find what thoughts are triggering your body’s reaction?

I was with a friend last night in St. Louis. It was dark, and we were trying to find our way through a residential area back to the Interstate. We were trying to follow, in reverse, the instructions we’d followed to get there when it was daylight. Re-tracing our “steps” almost got us to the intersection we needed to find to get on the Interstate, but,  just when we were ready to turn around and go back the other way, we wisely stopped and asked directions. Instead of turning around and getting hopelessly lost, we went on the way we had been headed—-and within a couple of minutes we were driving home on the Interstate.

This “retracing and asking for direction” is what I equate with trying to go back to the intersection between body and mind so I can try to work through the thought patterns that are causing my body pain. I can’t do it without help and direction from God. Otherwise, I tend to “drive around in circles” getting more and more frustrated and entrapped in my mind, following all the wrong thoughts in the wrong direction, losing my attention, and experiencing more stress. Once I get to the correct intersection between body and mind, I still need God’s help knowing which way to get on the Interstate, how far to go and what to do when I “get there.”

So, be in touch with what your body is trying to tell you, and don’t be shy about asking God for directions. In my way of thinking, He is the only one that has access to the “Owner’s Manual for the Care and Maintenance of Human Beings.” Our Creator made us, and He/She can help us understand  and change ourselves.  Please comment and share your thoughts about emotions being the intersection between your mind and your body. May God bless and keep you.