Pop culture magazines emphasize the superficial: outer beauty and the enrichment of the physical body. This includes exercise, diet, and anything else that aids in making you feel better, or make you feel better because you (ultimately) look better. While this focus on physical health, diet, and self-esteem can be crucial for mental satisfaction and happiness, there are aspects of the mind (and soul) missing in these how-to’s and recipes for the perfectly healthy body. The path to mental stability can be attained through keeping fit and eating well, but what if you’re just not there yet? What if you aren’t aware that being physically healthy is a step you can take towards mental wellness?
How often do popular magazines educate us on how to feel mentally stable? Psychology magazines are a step, but I think curing ourselves takes more than a profession to define us. Sometimes it’s deeper than your psychology..
Here are a few definitions of psychology i found throughout the web:
1: The science of mind and behavior
2: a. The mental or behavioral characteristics of an individual or group b. the study of mind and behavior in relation to a particular field of knowledge or activity.2
1: The scientific study of the human mind and its functions, especially those affecting behaviour in a given context.
2: The mental characteristics or attitude of a person or group
The science of. The scientific study of. The mental characteristics of. While extremely useful and sometimes life-saving, the scientific study of the mind only resolves the why of why we behave the way we behave. That sounds complete. Know why you do something, feel something, think something, and solve it. From personal experience, I’ve looked at the why and have continued to be plagued by my own mind. The science of the mind also defines the how. Your mind makes certain patterns and distinctions and acts accordingly. The what is what you have right in front of you. What you’ve seen, heard, felt, thought, experienced. But the “who” is much more interesting. It’s in this discovery that I believe the mind can be helped.
Let’s look at the mind as a being apart from the brain, apart from the body, apart from the “consciousness”, “soul”, “spirit”, “ghost in machine”, whatever you define your personality or self as. I like to think of it as the essence.
Here’s some definitions of “essence” from the web:
1: a. The permanent as contrasted with the accidental element of being
b. The individual, real, or ultimate nature of a thing, especially opposed to its existence (ex. a painting that captures the essence of the land)
2: Something that exists: ENTITY
3: (I like this one) One that possesses or exhibits a quality in abundance as if in concentrated form (ex. She was the essence of punctuality)
4: The most significant elements, quality, or aspect of a thing or person.
In or by its very nature.
1: The basic, real, and invariable nature of a thing or its significant individial features.
2: A substance obtained from a plant, drug, or the like, by distillation, infusion, etc., and containing its characteristic properties in concentratied form.
3: An alcoholic solution of an essential oil; spirit
4: Something that exists, especially a spiritual or immaterial entity.
5: In philosophy: The inward nature, true substance, or constitution of anything, as opposed to what is accidental, phenomenal, illusory, etc.
These definitions, while they slightly waver here and there, are essentially the same. The permanent element of being, something that exists, the significant elements of a thing or person. Even the definitions associated with plants or alcohol- this is the concentration of a plant. The essence of a plant contains all of its properties…the energy and matter just change. Sounds familiar doesn’t it? Essence is the core of something. Essence is the beginning and the end. It is more than existence. It is the truth of a particular thing.
I’ll define essence here in regards to the human, though it’s still hard for me to even understand. Does essence change like personality through the twists and turns of life? If i were raised in the woods, would my essence be different than if i were raised in the city? Would I be an honest person in both of these circumstances? Or is everything absolutely defined by my experiences? I don’t know, but I’ll try to define it here revolving around the person you presently are, completely inclusive of all of your experiences.
Essence is who you are, unchanged with coming events. It is something that cannot be fixed, altered, or transformed. It is the truth of a human being. I feel my essence all the time, and when i do, it calms me in the present. It makes me look forward to the future. It answers the question of why I’m on earth. I am essential to earth as is everyone on this planet.
With something as beautiful and serene as essence has to exist an opposition. In my opinion, this is the mind. No, I dont think the mind is ugly. I dont think the mind is not beautiful. I dont think the mind is useless. I feel the contrary. The mind can very much help us achieve our many goals both inward and outward. It helps us rationalize and understand. It is a companion to the soul and body and brain. It helps us understand our emotions, the outer world, and technicalities. But it also hinders us. The brain is an amalgam of sensory data, and our mind defines this data into good, bad, useful, not useful. This in turn makes us feel- a role of the consciousness or essence. It began with our brain. Our mind judged an experience (either outward or inward (thought)), and our soul is affected.
These emotions stick to our soul as they do in our mind, but because we feel so deeply about our experiences, it gives our mind permission to keep on thinking about it, obsess, stay in there. We feel anxious, our mind starts to dance. Our mind starts to dance, we feel anxious. Then we feel our hearts beat, our eyes widen, goosebumps where we didn’t know we could get them. We start to pace. Your head feels heavy. You want to curl up and cry. How beautifully crazy this circle-cycle we call the human experience. Each level of us relies on the other to react to what’s going on. Could we benefit and feel more at peace if we tried to disconnect them from each other? The brain from the mind, the mind from the soul, the soul from the body.
This is why it’s so important to go beyond psychology when seeking mental, spiritual wellness. It’s vital to find your essence and keep it with you at all times like a loving friend.