Many think that what people think doesn't effect the world around them. This has been proven untrue by modern science, which proves that what we think influences the body and the outside world(see placebo) by our thoughts. I believe that mind and spirit affect the physical and this is supported by my own experiances as well as studies on placebo.
As “enlightened” human beings we always look to science to give us the answers or to “prove” that something is true. However, it is often the case that whatever science discovers or proves has long been known by the more wise people around us and even revealed and talked about long before science ever thought to investigate it.
The theory of mind over matter is one example. The teachers of positive thinking and those who believe in God’s word have long said that the mind and thoughts have the power to influence the physical and to bring about what we think about. This belief has been based on nothing more than faith and has worked for countless numbers. Now science has jumped on it and is starting to “discover” what has already been known for thousands of years to those that are truly enlightened.
So powerful is the realization that thoughts have the ability to influence the physical that scientists are now using this knowledge to control pain. Using the same MRI techniques, one patient who was having severe pain for years following an injury she had had to her arm was made to watch images of her brain and see which areas are most active when she was feeling pain and then to see which areas became more active when she thought pleasant thoughts that lessened the pain.
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I think that, as proven in the history of meditation, martial arts and wars, the "mind over matter" is something that does exist, but only within the limits of natural laws, but when trained, the humans can train themselves to overcome hardships through peace of mind gained from spiritual balance/strenuous training.
According to Buddhism, life is a combination of mind (nama) and matter (rupa). Mind consists of the combination of sensations, perceptions, volitional activities and consciousness. Matter consists of the combination of the four elements of solidity, fluidity, motion and heat.
Life is the co-existence of mind and matter. Decay is the lack of co-ordination of mind and matter. Death is the separation of mind and matter. Rebirth is the recombination of mind and matter. After the passing away of the physical body (matter), the mental forces (mind) recombine and assume a new combination in a different material form and condition another existence.
The relation of mind to matter is like the relation of a battery to an engine of a motor car. The battery helps to start the engine. The engine helps to charge the battery. The combination helps to run the motor car. In the same manner, matter helps the mind to function and the mind helps to set matter in motion.
Buddhism teaches that life is not the property of matter alone, and that the life-process continues or flows as a result of cause and effect. The mental and material elements that compose sentient beings from amoebae to elephant and also to man, existed previously in other forms.
Although some people hold the view that life originates in matter alone, the greatest scientists have accepted that mind precedes matter in order for life to originate. In Buddhism, this concept is called 'relinking consciousness'.
Each of us, in the ultimate sense, is mind and matter, a compound of mental and material phenomena, and nothing more. Apart from these realities that go to form the nama-rupa compound, there is no self, or soul. The mind part of the compound is what experiences an object. The matter part does not experience anything. When the body is injured, it is not the body that feels the pain, but the mental side. When are hungry it is not the stomach that feels the hunger but again the mind and its factors, makes the body digest the food. Thus neither the nama nor the rupa has any efficient power of its own. One is dependent on the other; one supports the other. Both mind and matter arise because of conditions and perish immediately, and this is happening every moment of our lives. By studying and experiencing these realities we will get insight into: (1) what we truly are; (2) what we find around us; (3) how and why we react to what is within and around us; and (4) what we should aspire to reach as a spiritual goal.
To gain insight into the nature of the psycho-physical life is to realize that life is an illusion, a mirage or a bubble, a mere process of becoming and dissolving, or arising and passing away. Whatever exists, arises from causes and conditions.