Have you ever asked yourself what the mind is? What is it made up of? Where does it begin and where does it end? Can we come to an objective definition that everybody can agree on such as the definition of a straight line, which is: “A straight line is the shortest distance between two points.”
Where does the mind begin?
Let’s explore further and try to find out where mind might begin. Most scientists agree that the mind is the product of the brain. The mind is what the brain does, some people say. I’m not saying that I agree with this, just stating common academic beliefs. There is, however, a huge difference between the mind and the brain. The brain is physical and objective and the mind is mental and subjective. So the mind must begin where the physical properties of the brain leave off and the mental properties of mind take over.
Where is the mind located?
So if the mind is not physical and isn’t located anywhere as an object in physical space it must be nonspatial, which means it doesn’t occupy space. So if we try to pinpoint its location we would have to say that the mind is a nonspatial extent located between two variables.
How does a physical signal turn into a mental signal?
If we look into the brain and examine its smallest parts we see neurons emitting chemical and electrical signals. When a sound enters your ear, it’s converted into an electrical/chemical signal and relayed to a group of neurons in the auditory part of your brain. At the same time other signals (visual, kinesthetic, olfactory) that you experienced at the same time are relayed to other parts of your brain.
Later when we recall the sound this sensory bit of information is converted or translated into a mental bit of information as you hear, see and feel the same things, or similar, as when you initially experienced it. The original signal has been converted into a mental signal. So the mind must begin where electrical and chemical signals within the body and brain leave off and get converted into subjective signals such as thought or perception. The conversion point where a physical signal is translated into a mental signal.
The inner boundary of mind
So now we have located the first variable of measurement of where the mind begins. The lower spectrum of the mind, where the objective and subjective meet, the boundary that divides the brain and mind. Our definition thus far would then be: Mind is a nonspatial extent located between the event where the physical properties of sensation end. Now we need to find the second variable on the other end of the spectrum of mind to finish our definition.
Why is sensation not the same as perception?
In order to find the other end of the spectrum, the outer rim of the mind, we will have to go through the mind and then try to go beyond it. The common denominator of all mental processes is perception. But what exactly is perception? Let’s compare it to sensation. Sensation is a kinesthetic feeling, perception is a thought resulting from that feeling. Perception interprets the report of sensation, and translates it into a thought, or idea. Sensation is when something goes into the brain, and a perception is what the mind does with it. Perception is your opinions, likes and dislikes, attitudes, beliefs, values and rationalizations.
What is beyond the mind?
So the outer edge of mind would be where thought or any kind of perception ceases to exist. Now we need to explain what lies on the other side of perception. Because if we don’t know what is beyond perception, we lack a reference point to define the boundary or edge of where mind ends. We have to know what is on the other side.
So what do we experience when we are fully aware and conscious and at the same time don’t percieve anything? No thoughts, no ideas, no emotions. What could possibly be beyond perception that we can describe in a logical and reasonable way? Now if you think about it, this is something that happens to most people sometime in their lives. Their mind stops thinking. It becomes empty and quiet, there is no internal dialog describing what they experience. If you have experienced this you might have noticed that even though your internal dialog had stopped you were still aware and conscious. Those who have gone beyond the mind notice that they have a direct connection with their immediate surroundings and feel what is going on without any thought or perception. They feel the world directly. So it seems that feeling begins where perception ends.
How is feeling not an emotion?
But what is feeling? There is a difference between feeling and emotion, they are not the same thing. You can feel an emotion but you can’t emotion a feel. Feeling is detached observation. It’s the ability to notice and witness a particular experience in a dispassionate way without intellectual or emotional involvement, attachment or reaction. Feeling is a cooperative effort between your attention, consciousness and awareness, and is sometimes associated with the realm of spirit. If matter is objective and mind is subjective then spirit must be collective, right? Think about it a little and you will see the connection.
The outer edge of the mind
So the outer boundary or edge of the mind is where subjective perception meets collective feeling. This is where the spiritual realm begins. Now we have found the second variable which enables us to pinpoint where the outer edge of mind ends. The higher spectrum of the mind, where the subjective and the objective meet, the boundary between mind and feeling. We have found the final piece of the puzzle to define the mind.
Mind is a nonspatial extent located between the event where the properties of sensation end, and the event where the properties of feeling begin.