In a rational world, when a mystery presents itself, the mind goes to work to solve the mystery. This approach works very well when it comes to explaining the sudden extinction of the dinosaur or what is making a patient sick, but it works much less well when it comes to the mystery of the human body. All of us are in intimate contact with that mystery, and so we are presented with a choice.
The first choice is to follow the usual rational procedures to understand how the body works. A massive amount of information has been collected in this way. Measurements, data, and research studies pour in every day. But there is another choice that is not well known to most people, which is to live the mystery. There is a stark difference between these two paths, as we will show.
As far as medical science is concerned, the human body is an intricate machine, an assemblage of working parts built from organic chemicals. Every process in the body, of which there are thousands, can be studied minutely, and with the advent of the new field of quantum biology, investigations can reach beyond the atom into the domain of subatomic particles and quantum field interactions.
Such research occurs in abstract areas that do not seem to touch everyday life, but there have been some breakthroughs and surprising findings that apply to how we age and decline over time, which is a critical issue in everyday life.
Here are some examples.
These few examples among many illustrate how the mystery of the human body is understood. The measurements required are no different from measuring any other physical object, even though a structure like the human brain or human DNA is so complex that its “thingness” is almost unrecognizable as it relates to a melting ice cube, decaying oak leaf, or the cooling down of the cosmos.
If you try to understand the mystery of the human body, whatever is not measurable is left out of the picture, or it has to be roped into fitting a physical explanation. For decades science refused to examine consciousness, because our thoughts, feelings, and sensations are not measurable objects. Attempts are periodically made to explain consciousness through physical means, but it has proved impossible to show how atoms and molecules learn to think. As a result, most scientists point to the brain as a kind of magical mega-computer that creates the mind, even though brain cells, being composed of atoms and molecules, show zero evidence of thinking or feeling.
This opens the way for the second choice we mentioned above. Instead of understanding the mystery of the human body, you can choose to live the mystery. The most basic way to do this is to make a conscious connection with your body. Everyone does this all the time. When you feel tired or energetic, alert or dull, detect a headache coming on or go through the complex sensations of being pregnant, you are engaging in a process known as interoception.
Interoception is the key to living the mystery. It is a genuine sixth sense, and in fact the five senses depend upon it. That is because sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell need to be consciously interpreted. If you thoughtlessly sweep your eye over a crowd at the airport, your eyes are working, but that is not enough to find a specific person in the crowd. For that, you need to search, look, and notice. These are conscious actions that connect your mind to your eyes.
Unlike the five senses, which primarily pay attention to the outside world, interoception applies awareness to the body, and beyond that to the entire bodymind. Every cell eavesdrops on your thoughts, feelings, and sensations, so it is totally artificial to separate mind and body. Besides uniting the two, interoception infuses the body with awareness. The wisdom of the body does not need your attention most of the time. Thousands of processes operate in perfect synchronization by using the unspoken intelligence that is coordinated by your central nervous system.
However, if you apply awareness in a conscious way, you enhance the body’s wisdom. Conscious relaxation, meditation, performing yoga postures, reducing stress, taking care of the right diet and exercise, and getting regular good sleep are all conscious interventions that spring from interoception. The very thing that cannot be counted and measured—your awareness—allows you to live the mystery that is not just your body but you as a human being.
Here we have touched only on the basics. The flow of intelligence that sustains life is also responsible for going beyond basic processes to deliver the experiences of higher or expanded awareness, namely love, compassion, beauty, truth, insight, creativity, bliss, and personal growth. These experiences require interoception in the form of sensitivity to what is happening “in here.” Outside stimulus like seeing someone you love or contemplating a work of art, do not create such experiences; at best they trigger them. One person’s rapture over music and art, for example, can leave another person indifferent or turned off.
We are not discounting the enormous benefits of medical science in understanding the human body. These benefits do not have to be discarded or ignored. Getting the Covid vaccine is only one example. But living the mystery is the only way to achieve lifelong fulfillment and personal evolution. It is the royal road to higher consciousness, which should be held out as the next step in lifelong well-being.
Reprinted from San Francisco Chronicle with Permission
Jack A. Tuszynski, Ph.D., D.Sc. Professor, Department of Physics, Adjunct Professor, Department of Oncology, Adjunct Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering
Member, The Li Ka Shing Institute of Virology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada
Brian J. Fertig, MD F.A.C.E. Diabetes, Endocrinology & Metabolism, Associate Professor Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Chairman, Department of Diabetes & Endocrinology Hackensack Meridian Health at JFK University Medical Center, President Diabetes & Osteoporosis Center
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