Dethronement of the Brain

human brainAncient Egyptians didn’t think much of the brain. When they were preparing to mummify a body, they’d go in through the nose, scoop the brain out of the skull and presumably discard it. The heart, not the brain, was considered to be the body’s most important organ, the seat of one’s essence, one’s mind and emotions; when the torso was opened for removal of the other organs, the heart was left in place.

Of these other organs, the lungs, stomach, liver and intestines were preserved in special jars to be placed with the body in the tomb, or they were wrapped with linen and returned to the body cavity. The kidneys were thrown out along with the brain; apparently the Egyptians didn’t think people would need their kidneys in the afterlife any more than they’d need their brain.

OK, so they tossed the kidneys. But the brain?

What must it have been like to be an ancient Egyptian? Did they physically feel they had a little voice in their hearts, like I feel like I have a little voice in my head, a little voice that is pretty much me? Did their heads feel like dead zones? I can’t even imagine this. Despite my best efforts at bringing my body more fully into my awareness of me by practicing qigong, I still feel like my consciousness is based in my head. And my words, most certainly, are in my head.

This is interesting stuff to contemplate, and I am contemplating it because I just watched the movie “The Living Matrix,” which I learned about at a Yi Ren Qigong seminar. “The Living Matrix” is not a Hollywood movie but more a strung-together series of interviews with scientists, writers and healthcare practitioners who hold that what appear to be miracle cures are not inexplicable after all, but are possible because the healing process isn’t what most people think.

These experts dispute the notion that it’s our genes that determine who we are and what illnesses we get. They point to the burgeoning field of epigenetics, which is finding that genes can be turned on or off or even expressed many different ways, and that rather than being the ultimate controllers, genes are themselves controlled by their environment.

That environment, they say, is the body’s energy field, a field that lies outside as well as inside the body. Indeed, one of the experts goes so far as to suggest that memory, which plays such a big role in who we think ourselves to be, may not exist in the skull but somewhere out in the field—a further dethronement of the brain.

At least this is what I think the movie was about. There’s a lot of material, a lot of tips of a lot of icebergs, presented by perhaps a dozen different “talking heads.”

A blurb on the back of the DVD case says: “Based on the latest research, find out how you can enliven your body’s own self-healing capabilities and transform your ideas about how to get well and stay well.”

But “The Living Matrix” isn’t really a self-help movie. The main take-home I got was that the field of energy which controls our genes can in turn be affected by our thoughts, beliefs and intentions. A woman who cured herself of a brain tumor said that people need to take total responsibility for their health, and that this might include choosing the thoughts that we think.

Pulling oneself up by one’s bootstraps is never easy, and there are no instructions provided for how to do this—but then, I suppose that would be a bit much to expect from an 85-minute movie.

I have, nonetheless, taken this message to heart. In a bit of synchronicity, it corresponded with a teaching  I’d encountered a few days earlier in a Buddhist meditation group—that problems are only problems and causes for unhappiness if we tell ourselves they are.

I have two other thoughts about “The Living Matrix”:

First, although “The Living Matrix” never mentions qigong, its concept that our physical bodies exist in and are controlled by a field of energy which is influenced by our minds fits nicely with the concepts underlying qigong. Indeed, when we practice qigong, we are using our mind, wherever it may reside, to manipulate our life energy (qi). And that energy isn’t limited to what’s inside our skin.

Second, one of the scientists noted that the heart generates the largest rhythmic electromagnetic signal in the body, a signal that could be a carrier wave that’s affected by things like positive and negative emotions and that, of course, is part of the body’s energy field.

Which takes us back to the ancient Egyptians (which frankly I did not suspect would happen when I began writing this post, at least not quite in this way). Remember, the Egyptians regarded the heart as the most important organ in the body and the seat of one’s mind and emotions, and they never let it leave the body during embalming, even though they removed the other organs and threw out the kidneys and the brain.

Maybe those Egyptians knew something we’re only just beginning to learn….

NOTE: To go to to read reviews of “The Living Matrix” or to purchase a copy through my website, click here.

1 Comment

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One response to “Dethronement of the Brain

  1. Pingback: The Memories of Walls |

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