4 Obstacles to Second Mind Medicine, with Solutions

  1. We implicitly believe that brain creates mind and not the other way around.

    We believe this regardless of the fact that the science is also consistent with the view that mind creates brain. Still, our societal belief system in the primacy of the brain is strong, partly because we fail to differentiate between the two levels of the mind and their relationship to science. If you fall into this camp, watch this video and spend some time reflecting on how the brain may be an appearance of the mind.

  2. Our healthcare systems are entrenched in First Mind perspectives.

    Our approaches to diagnosis, treatment, reimbursement, and innovation are all based in the First Mind. Diagnosis, treatment, and innovation generally assume our body is made of tiny balls we call atoms and sub-atomic particles. This is the discrete, physicalized view of the First Mind. Reimbursement is tied in with this view. A perspective of the human body as a mindfield of information that is directly accessible and modifiable via the mind is associated with diagnostic and treatment methods that are not reimbursable, which leads us to the next obstacle.

  3. Demonstrating the efficacy of Second Mind Medicine is not easy because of a lack of standardized protocols.

    • No two people recognize, access, and label the mind in the exact same way, so how we describe mental phenomena differ, even when referring to the same phenomena.

    • There is no commonly accepted language to describe Second Mind Medicine. What one person calls mind, another calls energy. What one person calls energy, another calls information. Furthermore, words like information and energy have a range of meanings, from personal and experiential to strictly scientific, such as the energy measured in Joules.

    • The language we use has been developed by the First Mind for the First Mind. When conveying Second Mind principles, this language has to be used with greater rigor and attention to be scientifically meaningful.

    • The processes of the Second Mind are subtle enough that a person may be executing them without recognizing it as a discrete activity. This makes it difficult to discern a cause-effect relationship between mind and “body”. Developing a standardized language will help us recognize and label these processes, bringing greater rigor to science.

  4. It’s scary to leave the familiar and live in the unfamiliar.

    This last obstacle encompasses and is at the root of the other three. Shifting from the First to the Second Mind challenges many of the beliefs we would prefer not to examine. It changes our view of who we are and what our responsibilities are. It changes whether we are still considered experts in our fields. This unfamiliarity scares the First Mind. This fear, then, is the greatest obstacle to Second Mind Medicine, not a lack of science. All we have to lose are our misconceptions.

What are the solutions?

  1. Education

    The First Mind is the dominant perspective in medical science around the world. We have to develop a curriculum whereby the First Mind can recognize itself and see that there is also a broader Second Mind context in which it is situated. The curriculum should emphasize that the broader context still applies First Mind diagnostic and treatment principles in the right situations, while not being restricted to them.

  2. Practice

    There is a limit to what can be communicated in words. The reason we communicate freely in language is because we share the same experiences. For example, we know what it feels like when air flows over our bodies as we glide forward while riding a bike, so we can all understand when someone says “I feel like I’m flying and free when I ride my bike.” If we didn’t share that experience, the words would be confusing, even meaningless. Moving healthcare toward Second Mind Medicine means shifting experience from the First to the Second Mind one person at a time so that we can recognize and understand much more of what we call a “body” and its processes. This means experimenting with your mind responsibly. There are innumerable ways to begin. You can start right now—nothing other than you is needed.

  3. Research

    Once the above obstacles are recognized, and once education and practice have begun, informed and directed research can begin. Without a prepared foundation, research will be ineffective because the First Mind will not be able to find its standard bearings in context, language, and protocol.

Anoop Kumar, M.D.