THE BRAIN / MIND PROBLEM–It’s About Neuroplasticity

I hope the initial topic of the relationship between the brain and mind doesn't turn most of you off. Because it is much more than a futile philosophical exercise.

True it has engaged some of the deepest thinkers throughout human history and continues to do so.

The range of beliefs runs from Descartes's strict duality in which mind and brain were completely different substances all the way to a commonly held belief among neurscientists that the mind is strictly a product of neuroelectric transmission.  They are monists [versus dualist] by believing that our impression that our mind is somehow unique and special is an illusion produced by the brain's neural processes.

I believe the answer is somewhere in between.  There is compelling evidence to suggest that the mind can function independently of the brain during certain states such as the NDE [near-death experience] and clearly if we possess a soul intelligence, it is a form of mind not strictly dependent on the brain.

But it is also quite clear that our conscious minds are dependent upon brain structures and affected by physical disorder of brain function.  From learning disabilities, ADD, manic-depression, addiction potential, post traumatic stress syndrome, possibly OCD and other psychological disorders are probably related to physical brain abnormalities.

What is interesting to ponder is that some of these brain disorders are congenital [born with them] while other are acquired [post traumatic stress syndrome, physical brain injuries, drug usage].

In either case the problem then becomes that of the brain predominantly.  Certainly healing approaches to the mind such as psychotherapy and cognitive therapy can be helpful.  They change behaviors and thought processes which then change the physical brain.

Neurofeedback offers real hope for changing brain wave patterns and re-wiring the brain.

In effect the brain and mind are in a continuous feedback loop.  They may not be identical.  An example of the mind effecting the brain is demonstrated by meditation.  Physical changes to the brain are the result of consciously willed actions.

Perhaps the best way to understand the relationship rests on the concept of neuroplasticity.  The physical brain changes depending upon the thoughts and feelings of the mind—and vice versa.

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