There are three levels of understanding the unification of the body, mind, and spirit:   

               1. Body, or the physical level of understanding

               2. Mind, or the intellectual level of understanding

               3. Spirit, or the deep, spiritual level of understanding

The physical level of understanding is simplified by one basic example: reading. It is a practice in which everyone eventually engages in.   In fact, you are doing it right now.  Your body must hold the book steady in order for your eyes to focus on the printed words. This is involvement, coordination, and immersion of the physical aspect of yourself in what you are doing. 

Second, your intellect must be held steady, unwavering in intensity, not allowing any outside distractions. In this way, the mind can grasp the meaning of what is being read. This is involvement, coordination, and immersion of the mind or intellectual aspect of yourself into what you are doing.

Third, your heart must be filled with a desire or motivation to grasp the writer's intended meaning of the words your mind is processing. This is involvement, coordination, and immersion of the emotional aspect of yourself into what you are doing.

Lastly, your “soul” must be filled with sincerity to not only learn, but also be positively and constructively transformed by what you are doing. This way, your efforts will not be in vain. This is involvement, coordination, and immersion of the spiritual aspect of your being.

If any of these four essential components of human existence is not involved toward this one effort of reading the book, we will be unable to understand what is being communicated, and all efforts are wasted. This applies universally to any situation or endeavor. 

There are three phases to personal transformation. First, physical training and self-discipline in a given field. Next, study and contemplate to develop a sound moral and ethical foundation or personal philosophy. Last, there occurs a systematic unconscious manifestation of the fruits of this effort toward personal transformation.

Each time this cycle is repeated, a greater understanding and insight into the value of human transformation is gained. It can be complex when approached on an intellectual level, but it is extremely simple when undertaken with a strong, sincere desire for self-improvement and understanding. This understanding of the basic, yet profound nature of life and self is its own reward. 

In Eastern cultures, this struggle toward self-discipline and inner balance is readily understood as a pathway to self-realization. Eastern philosophy describes the body, mind and spirit separation from the beginning of creation as a division or split of the one-energy of realism, forming an ostensible duality. This duality or partition, right and wrong, male and female, and other pairs of opposites, are one and the same, like two sides of a coin, but appear different or separate to us because of the nature of the brain.

The brain is divided into a right and a left hemisphere. Each hemisphere tends to function separately from the other. In most individuals, this separation is unbalanced or linear, meaning only one side of the brain is utilized at any given time. Because of this linear thinking, the universe is viewed as separate, rather than the universe of Oneness. If the two sides of the brain balance and function simultaneously, enlightenment occurs.

Scientific brain research indicates that intense concentration causes a proportionate degree of brain synchronization. This is called focus. 

Three basic stages are experienced as the brain begins to synchronize. The first one is the Alpha brain wave. This is the state just before sleep. If awake, an individual experiences a mild, meditative state.   The second stage, called Theta or dream state, is activated. This stage is a deeper meditative state.

Further synchronization enters one into the third stage called the Delta brain wave state or deep, dreamless sleep. Delta waves also occur in extremely deep states of meditation. Modern scientific research thus gives a physiological basis for the spiritual process of enlightenment.

This process of inner unification and balance is vital to understanding and eliminating the paradoxical nature of life. This elimination of duality and the emergence of non-differentiation is called Oneness. To reach this point of detachment or Oneness, the three phases of personal transformation must be developed equally, simultaneously, and systematically.

Let us simplify this: Take the colors black and white. If they remain separate, they are

simply black and white, and only have the potential of black or white alone. If they are mixed you have gray. This is neutral. There is no separation or division between the two. Instead the blending created a middle line or neutral area. One side is not weighted more than the other. The two are centered. In order to remain centered, they must become one. During the blending process, gray gained the potential of itself, plus black and white.

Synchronizing the body, mind and spirit strengthens and builds harmony within the individual.   When this occurs, the body is no longer disconnected from the mind and spirit. Previously, it was it's own entity. Synchronization allows the mind to control the body instead of the contrary.

The mind is not in the future or past, but in the present moment, fully capable and ready to concentrate on the task at hand. It gives the orders, and the body responds willingly.

The spirit becomes the guiding light. It has a direction or goal to aim for. The body and mind cooperate to get the task done with ease and harmony. All three aspects of self are engaged in this one purpose at the present moment. This process allows synchronization to occur. 

When all three aspects of being: body, mind and spirit, align, universal energy ignites at the core of existence or center of gravity. The energy patterns are focused and united to connect and expand with external ki. The virtues of love, compassion, joy, humbleness, truth and spiritual wisdom are interrelated at this point of combustion. The four directions of north, south, east and west maintain balance within the individual as the external ki supports the movement.   The human body is the manifestation of the emotional and spiritual well-being of the soul.

All things in nature abide by natural law, including human understanding and growth.  

This article taken from a chapter in my book Zen and the Horse.    

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Copyright 2004