Have we lost our minds?
Do we even know what our minds are?
We are used to thinking of our minds as located in our brain, separate to our bodies and separate to others.
But we have more than one brain - we have a head brain, a heart brain and a gut brain. And we have minds that are capable of travelling beyond the notion of ourselves to other beings, beyond this moment to the past and the future and beyond the place we are standing in.
I spent two days of last week with Dr Daniel Siegel at a conference in Cork and my mind is now filled with curiosity, insight and admiration.
He spoke about the danger of thinking of ourselves as individuals, operating in isolation, when in fact we have evolved and developed in connection with others: other humans, other species, other living organisms and systems.
In answer to the question, "Who am I?", he offered the response:
Me - a distinct person, yet integrated into a wider sense of We. Me without we is not whole or integrated, A sense of me that does not connect allows people to dismiss the needs of others, to disrespect our environment, to cause harm without conscience.
Thinking about ourselves in this way, cultivating connection and striving for integration are the best ways to search for well-being. We are designed to connect and young babies who are denied connection fail to thrive physically and emotionally. Just because we don't see the same effects in older children and those around us, doesn't mean that the impact of isolation is any less profound.
All the trees in the forest are uniquely beautiful but it is when they grow alongside each other that the forest thrives.