I have this dream. I find myself in a clinically white room, in a bed with wrappings around my wrists and a plastic cup of water on my nightstand, bent sipping straw and all. A few greasy strands of hair stick to my face. Just as I can begin to move my neck to see my surroundings, I feel a hard pinch on my arm and slowly, the clean white surroundings twist until I open my eyes to see my familiar bedspread, my husband snoring next to me, my cat purring at my feet, a small fan blowing on my face.
I forget about the dream, because, what is a dream? Until after a while and out of nowhere, in the middle of my day, I feel a hard pinch on my arm and I begin to wonder. Am I awake or am I sedated?
Is my mind seeing what my body is feeling, or is my body adapting to what my mind is creating?
How do we know what is real? Is it here (physical), or is it here (mind)?
Thus we have the Mind-Body Problem.
What are the body and mind? Are they separate? Do they interact? These seem like simple questions but there are no answers to be secured. These ancient questions provoke quite a bit of imagery still today, like the narrative I just shared.
Yes, there is the question of dreams, and memories, and thoughts. But have you heard the stories of amputees with phantom pains where their limbs no longer exist? It’s a physical pain that can’t be cured by physical means. She only finds relief when she uses a mirror to mimic the piece of her that is missing. She tricks her mind into believing the limb is there, and the pain dissipates.
Can you believe that? Or can’t you believe at all? Because belief is a nonphysical thing, and if the nonphysical is not real and if the mind is not separate from the physical, how do you believe? Can you believe? Can you accept?
Think on these things. Reflect, and begin to feel your body drift away, becoming distant, numb, unnoticeable.
Then firmly press your feet to ground and tap your toes, becoming once again, aware of your body, becoming once again, grounded in the physical.
Are the mind and body separate? You decide.