By Rajyogi Brahmakumar Nikunj
It’s a common phenomenon to experience emotions directly through the body, when we meet someone whom we love a lot, we walk lightly with our hearts pounding with excitement, whereas anxiety might tighten our muscles and make our hands sweat and tremble before an important job interview, Right?
Numerous studies carried out over last decade or so have established that emotion systems prepare us to meet challenges encountered in the environment by adjusting the activation of the cardiovascular, skeletomuscular, neuroendocrine, and autonomic nervous system. This link between emotions and bodily states is also reflected in the way we speak or behave. A young girl who is about to get married in a week’s time may suddenly have cold feet and experience nervousness. Similarly those lovers, who have had a bad breakup and are heartbroken, may experience a shiver down their spine on hearing their favorite song being played somewhere. Although emotions are associated with a broad range of physiological changes, it is still hotly debated whether the bodily changes associated with different emotions are specific enough to serve as the basis for discrete emotional feelings, such as anger, fear, or happiness?
Before jumping on to any conclusion, we need to understand that the mind and the body are closely linked and affect each other. To put it in simple words, it means that our thoughts and feelings can affect our body directly and they can very well have an effect on what we think, what we feel and what we do. So how does this whole mechanism works? According to neuro medicine experts, the brain and the body are constantly sending messages to each other and these messages tell the brain and body to make changes and adjustments to the way they are working. For example, if your eyes told your brain that a car was traveling towards you at speed, it would send a very fast message to the body to step back out of harm’s way. Similarly, if your stomach was empty and your body needed fuel, your brain would listen to that message and send you in search of food. So, in short, the mind and the body are in constant communication to keep you healthy.
Shakespeare had rightly said, “For there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” The fact is that even though we are not faced with saber-toothed tigers every day, but, life presents us with lots of situations that can be perceived as threatening that naturally triggers stress response from within us. For e.g: if you climb staircase instead of taking a lift to your 4th-floor apartment and immediately after entering the home, you experience uncomfortable symptoms like a pounding heart and excessive sweating, you might instantly get this thought that “Gosh, I’m not as fit as I used to be, maybe I need to see my doctor and get a thorough checkup”. Now suppose instead of having a negative thought on entering the home, if you just sit down calmly and do a simple deep breathing exercise, you may feel completely fine in a few minutes and you would continue with your day as usual without any great change in how you feel. This example clearly shows that the same experience, if interpreted differently, can result in very different feelings and emotions. We must thus understand the fact that our mind has tremendous power over our body and it directs everything in our body. According to medical experts, 70% of our diseases can be changed by changing the mind, because they originate from there.
Today most of us are living in body consciousness – resulting from the false identification of self with the body. When a soul identifies with the characteristics of the body, we limit ourselves as being male or female, young or old, ugly or pretty, black or white, and so on. Such limited identities then influence our thoughts and actions. Body consciousness is the greatest challenge for the soul because it creates discriminatory attitudes and ego-driven complexes in our minds. We act and relate with other humans in a very limited way and such a limited consciousness gives rise to emotions like – insecurity, fear, selfishness, and hatred. Thus, those who are ignorant of the soul are severely bound by their body and they think, act, and live their whole life in a narrow limited way that makes everything in their lives limited. Hence, to live a liberated life, we need to realize the truth that we all are spiritual beings in a human body and birth after birth we continue to play different roles. Thus, by being souI conscious, we can transcend our fears, attachments, and vices and we can also conquer the fear of death and any kind of physical loss, thereby experiencing our original qualities such as peace, joy, and love in an unlimited way.
Rajyogi Brahma Kumar Nikunj is a senior spiritual leader and meditation teacher of Brahma Kumaris. He is a popular columnist on Lifestyle philosophy for publications in English, Hindi, Gujarati and Marathi across India, Nepal & UK. In his journey spanning 40 years, he has served people from all walks of life, viz. professionals, businessmen, politicians, students, convicts, bureaucrats and feels deeply contented upon their success. His Philosophy in Life “Spirituality cannot be taught, it has to be experienced”.
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