Letter from the Editor | 1
Five years ago I founded Mindstream Ventures Ltd. in Scotland. I was a stranger in a strange land, having come to Edinburgh from New York City via London, to cover the mind-body-spirit movement for greater health and happiness. I knew no one in this country and had no professional ties or career experience in the field of Complementary and Alternative Medicine, natural health, personal development, and spiritual growth.
What I did have was deep, broad award-winning professional experience across journalism, digital media, communications, and business; plus a lifetime of curiosity for the phenomena surrounding the human experience.
I wondered, how is it possible that…
- My grandmother witnessed me, as an infant who couldn’t walk or talk, interact with the spirits of Native American Indians in our house, which was built on their burial ground?
- Every organised religion teaches love and kindness, yet people kill in the name of God?
- Top nutritionists proclaimed in the 1980s, “Eat fat and you’ll get fat,” so thousands of people (including me) switched to low- or non-fat diets and landed on the operating table to remove gall bladders full of stones?
Questions like these led me to believe that we don’t fully understand our own capabilities or how the universe works, and that it’s healthy to question the presumed authorities. After all, people survived ~ and thrived ~ for millennia, yet we seem to be out-of-touch on how to care for ourselves and to get along. (That was then. Now we’re more polarized than ever and know more on how the earth is dying.)
When I looked for answers, such as how to increase my own intuition and how to be healthy, I was let-down. The information ranged from nonexistent or confusing to untrustworthy or sensationalist. Yet I felt pretty sure that the capabilities we call supernatural are natural; that people have much more in common than not and we’re all in this together; that there must be meaning and purpose to our individual and collective lives on earth; and that there must be some higher power or energy.
We exist in a wondrous plane, and we are wondrous, I felt. But I wanted to know.
So I decided to create the independent resource I had once hoped to find.
Mindstream is on a mission to bring mind-body-spirit into the mainstream for greater health and happiness. Get it?
“Mind-body-spirit” is both a philosophy and a descriptor of disciplines and practices that help us connect within ourselves and with others. This holistic approach improves wellbeing: We feel better physically, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually, and socially. We feel more connected so we can enjoy greater meaning in life, and act and feel with purpose. We experience a higher quality of life.
The “win” of connecting mind, body and spirit, can be felt on the individual, community and societal levels. The phrase “greater health and happiness” is a shortcut for eudaimonia, which is about living one’s one highest level of virtue — achieving the best of what is within each of us. And since the distinguishing factor of man versus animal is the ability to reason, eudaimonia is about “rational activity performed virtuously,” according to Britannica.com.
I don’t believe we can truly experience fulfillment ~ eudaimonia ~ without connecting mind, body and spirit. We can have fleeting moments of happiness or success, perhaps, but to truly feel content, we must be aligned with our true selves.
The way to discover one’s true self ~ what I value, what is meaningful to me, and how I express that in the world ~ is to connect within. And there is a whole world of practices and wisdom available for us. They generally have ancient roots, from when humankind was intimately connected with the natural world, and they are what comprise the category of “mind-body-spirit.”
Contemplating the mysteries of our human experience, the spiritual realm and the order of the universe has been a lifelong pursuit. And healthy questioning of assumed authorities has grown as I have. So aligning my professional and personal passions through Mindstream was a natural progression for me.
Founding Mindstream was based on my hunches as a seeker:
- the mind-body-spirit category feels like “the Wild West” ~ a mysterious and exciting frontier that beckons but requires you to proceed at your own risk
- trusted, credible information is either lacking, hard to find or unorganised
- there’s growing interest in holistic living
The next step was research. I have learned loads in these five years through a variety of channels, including a 2017 online survey by Mindstream and audience research for clients in this field.
Five learnings on the mind-body-spirit movement:
- “Mind-body-spirit” is the lingo. I did not make up this term. It’s been in use for a long time, and even the UK Parliament uses it: The term appears in documentation that led to the Health & Social Care professional standards board and from which sprang the Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council, a professional registry and consumer-protection organisation. “Mind-body-spirit” is recognised formally and informally. “Holistic” is interchangeable, but that term has become diluted with widespread use in society.
- The mind-body-spirit landscape is vast, fragmented and growing. The mind-body-spirit area spans several established areas and industries, primarily science (medicine, physics), philosophy (wisdom, beliefs, spirituality, religion) and culture (how we apply philosophy and science through lifestyle). The mind-body-spirit conversation ranges from wellness and consciousness to morals and climate. The disciplines within it include Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Traditional Medicine, natural health, personal development, divination, spiritual growth, and the cosmos. The mind-body-spirit category is an umbrella to all. However, drill down within each discipline and you’ll find that professional organisations often compete and there’s variation in professional standards and the language used. How is the the general public supposed to understand “Energy Medicine” if the leading Reiki organisations, who train and certify practitioners, are competing? This is an issue across several disciplines. Across the mind-body-spirit landscape, there’s a lot of speaking to the choir in a vacuum. Yet society is desperate to feel better. Meditation has been the fastest growing complementary therapy for a few years. Herbalism, acupuncture, crystals, and divination tools (Tarot and oracle cards, among others) are now mainstream as people search for meaning and agency. Can you think of a better time than now ~ after the height of the pandemic in a time of failing health systems, depressed economies and war ~ to invite people to learn about more natural ways to connect within and with others for greater wellbeing?
- Credibility is the No. 1 challenge. Most of the practices within the mind-body-spirit are unregulated or self-regulated by professional organisations; that can happen on a national or international basis. There is protocol for practitioner training and services, yet the general public doesn’t know about them and you generally have to dig deep to find this information. If someone is considering a practice or seeing a practitioner, will he or she take the time to research all the professional associations for educational certifications and then review practitioners? Or will the charlatans be one step ahead?
- Mainstream science censors research on mind-body-spirit. I’ve learned this directly from leading organisations of international scientists, researchers and academics. Time after time, they say, journals refuse to publish legitimate research by legitimate scientists due to bias against the topic. My own audience research on the scientific community, which was conducted for client organisations, demonstrates they are afraid: Scientists, researchers and academics fear losing their reputation, their professional relationships, their tenure, their jobs, and eventually their income, their homes, and their personal relationships. That fear is very real, and likely why this Tedx Talk was censored. The funny thing is that materialist science can’t explain why I dream at night, yet they refuse research on the fact that peoples’ dreams are premonitions proven true. Great work is being done to prove the mind-body-spirit connection and how we can apply the findings for greater quality of life.
- Mind-body-spirit is a solution for individuals, communities and society at large. Most people die of preventable disease, which is harrowing and expensive. Integrative Medicine, which takes a holistic view of each person for health and wellbeing, is growing everywhere. Well, almost. I’ve sadly learned, while serving on the volunteer committee of the Friends of the Centre for Integrative Care in Glasgow, that the NHS has systematically deprived this last holistic hospital within its service of necessary funding. What was once a robust research and training hospital and dispensary, where international medical professionals came to learn about holistic care, is being suffocated by the failing NHS. The other previous Integrative Medicine centres in the UK have gone private. North America, Europe and other regions are investing in Integrative Medicine. The World Health Organization just opened a Traditional Medicine centre in India to protect, support and research ancient and modern indigenous health and wellbeing practices to aid conventional medical practice. The amazing thing about mind-body-spirit disciplines is that they are largely more safe, effective, affordable, and accessible (many are do-it-yourself!) than conventional medical care and pharmaceutical treatment. And let’s face it: We’re in crisis mode today. Enabling people to learn about how to take care of their mind, body and spirit ~ and how those connect for holistic wellbeing ~ is primary.
What’s at stake? Everything, one might say.
Just imagine if each of us felt more connected within and then with others and nature. How would that change our experience in life? Now imagine that at scale, if most of us did so. There would be less suffering, less neglect, less disease, less crime, and more love and kindness.
The findings of Mindstream’s original research in 2017 were just the start of my learning on the mind-body-spirit movement. Mindstream is dedicated to understanding the changing beliefs and behaviours of consumers and professionals across this landscape, and we can use your help.
Participate in our 2023 survey for “The State of the Mind-Body-Spirit Movement” report, which we’re conducting in collaboration with the University of Aberdeen’s Institute of Applied Health Sciences. The report is the first of its kind, defining the mind-body-spirit movement, sizing the landscape, and tracking the beliefs and behaviours of acceptance.
I truly believe each of us stands to gain a great deal by connecting our mind, body and spirit. My vision is for Mindstream to be a resource on this path of discovery for seekers, healers and the curious. Whichever group you may be, you can help by signing up with the form below. Thank you very much!