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Written by:
Richard Aiken MD, PhD

Mind-body-spirit is often considered together as a triad – connected as a unity. While it may be useful to conceptualize the mind and body as a dyad, expanding those concepts to include the spirit is much more difficult to associate.

Mark Twain wrote:

“Between Kipling and I, we cover all knowledge; he knows all that can be known, and I know the rest.”

This quote jokingly differentiates knowledge and concepts, or form, from that which cannot be “known” in the conventional sense. Any attempt to explain or conceptualize the spirit is not spirituality. For example, the Bible is not God but it points our spirit toward the spirituality that is God.

To “be” is deeper than existence. No concepts, external or internal, are necessary to “be. “ No physical forms or thought forms are necessary – in fact, they can impede just being present in the now. We all have experienced such a spiritual state if only for a few moments, perhaps precipitated by external forms. Sister Wendy stated:

“There are some works of art that are so beautiful … that all we want to do is look at it, in silence.”

The spirit resides in this silence, the stillness, while one is fully aware, fully present but without form, internal or external. Only then can we be fully conscious.

To live is to “be”. The mind and body can be supportive to the spirit, as the spirit gives meaning to the mind-body.

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