Consciousness, Mind And The Immune System
There is science that supports how our minds transcend our bodies. You can learn to expand your consciousness and improve your emotional balance as well as your mental performance. Your mind is your reality management machine. It’s that thing between our ears that takes control of what we consider reality. In some respects, consciousness is the operator and the mind the machine used to manage reality and how we function. Some of those functions are automatic, like tying our shoelaces or driving the interstate. Others, such as imagination, we take more control of. We are recreating reality moment for moment, nuance for nuance, between our ears. We have been discussing the interconnection between Creator and our ability to achieve optimal health and outcomes in life. In order to really learn about how powerful our mind is, I want to return to the world of Psychiatry and mental health, which is my background. I have had many conversations with two thought leaders who are internationally known, who have done a lot of research in this area of mind-body connection. I’ll be sharing details of some of those conversations over the next few weeks.
Dr. Charles Raison is Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Arizona College of Medicine and the Mental Health Expert, Mind-Body Consultant for CNN.com. He formerly was Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Emory University Behavioral Sciences and Clinical Director of the Mind-Body program. His research focuses on bidirectional relationships between stress and immune systems. That’s a whole lot of fancy science talk but it’s really a foundational understanding that our mind can cause physiological changes in our body.
I asked him to share some information on his work with the mind, stress and the immune system. Dr. Raison did a lot of work in the 1990s in the field of Medical Psychiatry. Dr. Raison says: “It was that experience combined with long-term interactions I’ve had with the Tibetan Buddhist world, really got me interested in trying to understand mind body reactions.” Much of his work has been looking at really amazing ways that the body impacts the functioning of the mind. Some of his original impetus for doing the work comes from aspects of Buddhism. If you can bring the energies of the body to bear on mental processes, you can transform them much more rapidly than if you try to work with the mental processes alone. We are interested in how emotions affect the immune system and how that impacts health. We are also very interested in how bodily processes like the immune system can change the brain and change how you think and feel. How can you harness those bodily systems to improve emotional functioning?
Over the next few weeks, I’ll share more of his fascinating research and that of other leaders in this field.