by Richard Aiken MD, PhD
Numerous recent scientific studies have confirmed the connection between a positive mental attitude and good physical health but an understanding of this relationship between mind and body is nothing new. Around 200 AD, the Greek author Galen wrote that melancholic women are more susceptible to breast cancer than sanguine women.
When we think of “existence”, what comes to mind is usually that which we can sense – see, hear, smell, taste, or touch. However, there is another level of existence – the interpretation of that external existence by the mind through thought. The first type of existence relates to physical form and the latter to thought form. Thought form, however, is not limited to the interpretation of physical form but can exist on its own.
We identify ourselves typically with our thought forms. These have been conditioned by our experiences – and results in a set of core principles, whether or not explicitly formulated. Our core principles interpret existence through the prism of experience. In this way our past thoughts influence our current thought forms and our projection of the future.
So the past and the future exist only as thought forms, as conceptualizations. In my clinical experience, the origin of much unhappiness is rooted in ruminations concerning the past, and anxiety often associated with worry over the future.
Obviously, we cannot “be” in the past or in the future as these are merely concepts. One of my favorite expressions is that we can learn from the past and prepare for the future but can only be in the now. That brings us to the present – where external form resides. This encourages thought forms that are more focused on the current moment. External and internal existence then can resonate.