It also happens to be the title of a great book. 🙂
Science writer Sandra Blakeslee and her son, Matthew, co-wrote “The Body Has a Mind of Its Own: How Body Maps in Your Brain Help You Do (Almost) Everything Better” to help people understand how and why their bodies act and react the way they do from a biological brain-based perspective.
The Blakeslees’ book not only explains why we can “sense” people watching us, what “personal space” is and how we develop a desire for it (and why), why some people “see auras” but most of us don’t, why people who change their body weight sometimes have trouble “seeing” themselves in their new body (and thus often struggle with body image issues long after they have successfully met their personal health goals), and much more.
It is a very useful book – with one notable caveat. I love science, but my brain unfortunately doesn’t share my passion. As such, it find it quite challenging to keep loads of brand new terminology such as “proprioceptors,” “peripersonal space,” “parietal lobes” (see – far too many new “p’s” already!) all in place and properly categorized from chapter to chapter.
Yet still, the book is written in such a way that I can grasp the interesting basics even if I may miss a subtle nuance (or a few).
I also like how science is now offering up biological explanations for phenomena that have in the past been largely relegated to the metaphysical realms or even laughed away by science skeptics.
For instance – seeing auras, having “out of body” experiences, feeling “weighted down” by unseen forces when just waking, cultural variations in the awareness of personal space – all of these phenomena and more are explained in this book in a way that makes logical, rational sense from a biological perspective. This helps to validate the folks who are having these experiences to ensure their concerns are taken seriously.
However, I also feel I must say one thing before getting too over-enthused about how far science has come and how useful these new learnings are to me personally.
The more I read science-centric texts (and I read a lot of them these days) the sadder I get about how many new useful discoveries about the human body have come at the expense of the non-human beings who serve (without consent or option) as our research stand-ins. So if you are a reader who is sensitive to reading about experiments on animals (as I am) you might want to read with caution.
But ultimately, reading “The Body Has a Mind of Its Own” has helped me to finalize some of the long-unanswered and at times troubling questions I have had about my post-eating disordered body image disturbances, as well as other experiences I have had while living in different cultures, while out on dates, and even alone in my own house.
Happily, I am finding that the more time and effort I spend to make friends with my body and dialogue willingly with it, the less inner disturbance I feel on multiple levels – physical, mental, emotional, and even spiritual.
If you share my quest for greater body/mind knowledge, perhaps this book can be a support to you as it has been to me in achieving the same.
Today’s Takeaway: Have you ever experienced any type of body phenomena that left you feeling confused or even scared? Perhaps “body maps” in your brain could be a part of the explanation. If you do decide to read this book, I would love to hear your thoughts and insights!