I have been wrestling with the conceptual relationship between my brain, mind and soul. Having recently read quite a bit of philosophy and the findings in neurological science and have formed the theory that brain, mind and soul are a Trinity in the same sense of the Christian doctrine of Father, Son and Holy Ghost – three perceptions of the one phenomenon.
So how does the ‘body’ fit in? Well it is the mass that supports the brain, houses it, providing the biological machinery to nourish and sustain it. But this brain has, in a sense, the three states. The physical brain is the ‘Father’. It is where all my senses – the five I identify with, and the ones I struggle to know – send their pulses and urge responses. The brain sorts out any conflict in the endless stream of messages, and gives berth to the decisions, judgments, feelings, desires, values, ideas and ambitions that coalesce to be the ‘SON’ – the mind, the conscious me.
And beyond, mysteriously there along with the physical brain and the mind. is the transcendental me, the spiritual etherial me, the me beyond thinking – the ‘SOUL’ me. Yes I believe in an immaterial spiritual me that comes out of spontaneous visions or quiet periods of meditation. It is both visceral and dancing, like the magic beauty that is wafting out of the ballet performance and results in all the audience cheering and repeated encores.
One of my favourite poets, John Shaw Neilson, wrote:
” The young girl stood beside me. I
Saw not what her young eyes could see:
– a light she said, not of the sky
Lives somewhere in the Orange Tree.”
It is a declaration that we can have a ‘knowing’ beyond the immediate and material, a ‘knowing’ that is hard to grasp and only glimpsed occasionally – a ‘knowing’ that there is a presence that is the essence of the tree, the flower, the bird, the self. As I understand it that essence is ‘the ground of our being’ to borrow a phrase from Paul Tillich. He was referring to the God force, but I use it here to mean the personal SOUL.To carry on the analogy, Tillich describes God as the ‘soul’ of the world that pervades all being, while I make use of the idea only in the personal sense, being a non-believer in the idea of God. My soul remains a perception of who and what I am, a working perception, not SOUL as a ‘noun’ but Soul as a ‘verb’; and conscious others will form their own perceptions of my SOUL that may differ greatly from mine.
My brief search of philosophical literature makes me aware that philosophers have been reluctant to explore the nature of the SOUL. The concept gets little mention despite their interest in the metaphysical. Hence I have uncovered nothing in philosophical writing about applying the trinity concept in the way I do here, but perhaps others can enlighten me. I welcome comment