Or to give it its full name, the Arelian multi-dimensional paradynamic model of the self has a structure on 3 levels. On the ‘lower’ two levels, there are three component parts in each; on the first level, level 1, these are fairly uncontroversially: the Mind, the Body and the Spirit. Many a bookshop has a whole section of shelves labelled with this set of words: Mind, Body, Spirit. The acronym MBS is commonly used for this area of study and enquiry. I was in a bookshop once, studying the books in the MBS part of the bookshop, and I asked the bookseller, as he came close, why some books were here and some in the separate Psychology section. He answered simply that the books in the MBS section included the spirit in their discussions whereas the books in the Psychology section did not.
Is the spirit real?
At times, I have had people look at me questioningly when I have found myself talking about the spirit – I am thinking now of one instance in particular – and ask “Is the spirit real?” Of course, reality is a difficult thing to pin down. When told about then current philosophical ideas about the illusoriness of everything, Dr Johnson, the 18th Century English thinker, writer and lexicographer, apparently kicked a rock with his foot and feeling the solidity of the rock and the pain in his toes confirmed to his satisfaction that the rock was real. But, of course, if Dr Johnson had actually been living in computer-simulated world and all the input of his senses, such as sight, sound, touch and pain, were artificially generated, and he was just a brain linked up to electrodes and floating in a fluid, then his experience was not real, at least not in the sense that he perceived it to be. Is ‘time’ real? Is a person’s ‘charm’ real? Is the ‘solidity’ of solid matter real – the latter may be ‘real’ in the context of our size of experience, but, at the ultra-microscopic level of a neutrino, a ‘conscious’ neutrino could keep passing through matter without experiencing ‘hitting’ anything; would it conclude that there is no solid matter and that solid matter is an illusion?
So, here, maybe, lie some clues to thinking about the nature of ‘reality’: reality maybe does not necessarily exist in any necessary physical embodiment; the seemingly immaterial can be real if the weight of evidence available to us suggests that it does exist in some dimension of experience.
In this context, one could perhaps say that the word spirit is just a word; when we hear the word as child learners of a language, we think, maybe, that we must credit it with ‘reality’ and give it meaning, just because other people appear to do so. That’s possible but I think unlikely. It seems to me more likely that we start at some stage to sense something that is not mind and is not body and then think, hey, other people have over time noticed it too and have given it a word. The pre-existing word gives us a chance to relate to this evanescence in our lives.
It’s funny, in a way, that no one has ever said to me “Is the mind real?” But, why is mind so different from spirit? We can’t touch it, we can’t see it, we can just infer it from our experience of being. We sense something, something mental, and we find the word mind and marry the two. (Intriguingly, something that was recently pointed out to me is that, in French, mind and spirit are expressed by the same word: l’esprit.)
Let’s try and briefly characterize the components of level 1 of the Arelian model of the self.
The Spirit is our aethereal side. It’s what links us to everything that exists, that has existed, and that has the potential to exist. The Spirit is also the place where our emotions spring from. These powerful sources of feeling are raw energy that we should not ignore too readily although, at times, we may feel we have to. Fundamentally, there are only four emotions: anger, fear, love and courage. The Spirit is described by some as ‘intelligent energy’. The Spirit is our driving force. If we are ‘spiritless’, we have no driving force, no energy.
Within an Arelian model, the Spirit is linked to the symbol of a moon – or rather the Moon, our moon. When there is darkness, the Moon can bring a mild light into the world. The Moon, like the spirit, exerts influence all the time but quite subtly – so, the Moon influences and controls the tides of the seas all the time, the Moon controls and influences the menstrual cycle and the process from conception to birth. Like the Spirit, the Moon operates in hugely significant but hugely unseen ways.
The Mind is our thinking self, our mental self, our rational self. It’s the part of us that performs operations on data and turns that data into information. It’s the part that categorises things, sorts things, analyses things, rationalises things, sequences things, synthesizes things … . The Mind does not have much in itself to do with feelings or emotions, though it can link up to feelings and emotions, as we shall see.
So, what is the relationship between the brain and the mind? Within an Arelian model of the Self, the brain is a physical structure for thinking and feeling to operate, while the mind is what operates through the brain. In crude terms, the brain is the network of ‘wiring’, the mind is the electrical flow through that and that, through its patterns and behaviours, can rewire the wiring of the brain.
Within an Arelian model, the Mind is linked to the symbol of a star – well, one particular star, namely the Sun. The Sun brings light into the world – the Sun relates directly to the mind or to what the mind can do, namely bring light into our inner world.
The Body is, of course, our physical self. It is the part of us that feels need or lack and, conversely, satisfaction. It is the part of us that feels things in a continuum from pleasure to pain and back. It is the part of us that senses things through smell, touch, sight, hearing and taste (registering sweetness or sourness).
Within an Arelian model, the Body is linked to the symbol of the Earth – our earth. We can’t touch the Moon, most of us, and we can’t touch the sun, but we can touch the Earth no problem. The Earth is our stage, just as our body is. It’s where we play out our lives.
So, in very brief summary, the Mind is the home of our thoughts, the Spirit of our emotions, and the Body of our feelings and senses.
But, why Arelian? ~ I am coming to that …