The body makes energy, heals injury, and walks-runs-jumps without the thinking mind having to do anything. Imagine coordinating arms and legs into a useful gait pattern to cross a busy street, healing a cut finger, and digesting lunch, intentionally and simultaneously with the mind.
On the other hand, we know that supporting the healing process by focusing mental intention on feeling in the body is effective and that learning specific movement patterns and performing them with attention and intention has beneficial effects in both mind and body.
If the mind is a kind of visual display screen upon which experience is presented, and if it is the total effect of the radiant field of the currents in the meningeal-perineural system, we might say that it is a refinement and elaboration of the brain and nervous system of the body. That is, the mind is of the body. Assuming these statements are correct, how, when, and why did the idea come about that the mind and the body are separate or separated entities?
If mind is a radiant field projection of brain and nervous system electrical activity, possibly interacting with the electromagnetic field of the ambient environment and with the magnetic field of the earth, then the notion that the mind and body are separate entities may be incorrect.
If there is interaction between the body's electromagnetic field and the magnetic field of the earth, the assumption that the bodymind is separate from the earth also is questionable.
These questionable assumptions may have come about during a phase of cultural evolution that emphasized objectivity, emotional detachment, and intellectual abstraction. Some observers have identified phonetic alphabet literacy as causal in this separation. If our learning and operation of a tool as useful as the alphabet comes with unwanted side-effects, then mental and physical health require that we carefully scrutinize what happens in achieving literacy.
Some observers have noticed that mind and perception, in general, are influenced in the use of any human artifact. Neuroscientists have measured changes or modifications in brain wave activity in subjects participating in various activities and in learning to perform even the simplest of tasks.
These observations should not be surprising if we consider just one aspect of literacy: we cannot unlearn literacy programming - the program cannot be uninstalled. Further, presenting the eyes with printed material in one's language the literate person is compelled to read - one has no choice but to read. This may help us begin to understand that modifications in brain electrical activity, engendered by our use of our artifacts, affect perception.
One of the most remarkable side-effects of literacy, and one of which we are mostly unaware, is the detachment from experience.
From the point-of-view of literacy, the technology of writing and reading has made possible many things that we view, from the point-of-view of that technology, as superior ways of obtaining and storing information. This comparison is made with information systems of oral cultures that have had no experience with phonetic alphabet literacy. From the point-of-view of the literates, literacy corresponds with intelligence and illiteracy with ignorance. That is, we think literacy makes us smart. In fact, literacy is a specialized way of training the eyes and brain to identify groups of abstract symbols, and the mind to ascribe meaning based on previous intense conditioning.But since this literacy is the root of all of our information storage and retrieval systems, we do not consider abandoning it. And we don't need to abandon it if we come to a good understanding of all effects and side-effects that come with this programming.
Some additional notes...
Traditional yoga practices emphasize "union" of aspects that seem to be separate or that have become estranged. This practice may include methods that facilitate integration of mind and body.
The classic Yoga Sutras by Patanjali defines yoga as "the cessation of the modifications of the mind". Interestingly, historians say that Patanjali was a grammarian.
"Distracted from distraction by distraction..." is how the poet and critic T.S. Eliot described our pattern of (in)attentiveness. James Joyce identified our mental condition as an "...impovernment of the booble, by the bauble, for the bubble..."
Seventeenth century French philosopher Renes Descartes is responsible for having established the mind-body duality problem. The problem continued as a topic of hot debate into the end of the 18th century when the guillotine was invented during the brutal French Revolution to explore the possibility and to expedite executions.