Chapter 8 : Body, Mind & Essence


In the previous chapter, we learnt simple techniques that one can use to improve on his/her ability to grasp concepts related to exams. Section seven is particularly concerned with techniques one can employ to bring about full realization of the inner self. Topics to be discussed are:

What is the inner self?

How is our personality shaped by the inner being?

Ways of improving our mind & memory functioning for an improved wholesome lifestyle.

View of Personality

Various philosophers and psychologists have over the years tried to answer’ what is personality’ and up to date there is no definite answer to this question as different scholars have their own unique views in regards to this topic.

  • Some philosophers have proposed that when individuals are born they represent blank slates; meaning that we are entirely shaped by the environment which we grow up in. Our experiences in life are what cumulate to form our individual personality traits when we later become adults.
  • Another school of thought theorizes that individuals are born inherently evil. This philosophical view can be tied to the story of man’s sinning and eventual fall and expulsion from God’s garden in the bible. Proponents behind this hypothesis believe that this is main reason as to why kids are born with ‘selfish traits’ as all they care about is just themselves. And it is this egotistic attribute that grows with us well into adulthood.
  • In addition, some scholars have said that our inner selves are plainly reliant on the genetic and biological predispositions we have. These people simply connote that we have no control in regards to the direction our personality takes since we are already ‘decoded’ to follow set routes.
Mind & Personality Development According To Classical Psychoanalysis

The main proponent of classical psychoanalysis was an Austrian psychiatrist by the name Sigmund Freud. He theorized our personality to be chiefly controlled by our past childhood experiences which are embedded in our unconscious memory. Individuals don’t have any control over this part of memory and are unaware of its existence, despite the fact that it has control over their behavioral trends. Freud subdivides memory into three areas which include a) Conscious b) Preconscious and c) Subconscious

a. Conscious memory; these are activities that we engage in and are fully aware of their happenings, and our involvement in them. It is at the tip of Freud’s iceberg and takes a very small portion of the entire chunk.

b. Preconscious memory, this is the kind of recall which that is available only when we need it. We remember stuff that’s only important in aiding us to fulfill certain tasks at hand.

c. Subconscious memory; Here Freud proposes that individuals are totally unaware of its existence, and the influence it does have on our memory despite the fact that it does play the biggest role in shaping our personalities. For instance, a kid who fell off a table while young may grow up to have an unexplained phobia for heights. The grown up wouldn’t trace this fear to any recent happening in his/her life.

Personality Structure According To the Theory

Classical psychoanalysis divides personality into three levels which include a) Id b) Ego and c) Superego.

A. Id. This is the part in us which operates in accordance to the pleasure principle. It seeks immediate gratification regardless of the rationale behind ones action. Id is primal and is at the lowest level of a human being’s mental functioning. Example of Id in operation is when a man rapes a young girl, not thinking of consequences that will follow such gross actions.

B. The Superego, this is the part of our mind which operates under the ‘taught principle.’ Throughout our lives we have been told by others or learnt from experience what is good & bad. It is this ethical predisposition which we get from significant others in our lives such as parents or the society that is embedded in our memories and helps in making decisions of life.

C. The Ego, this component of our personality functions according to the reality principle. It checks and balances both the Superego and Id and it’s constantly in conflict with the two, but mostly with Id. Ego rationalizes things through assessing what ones actions would result to, not only for the individual but also other parties who would be affected by these actions.

Mental Defense Mechanisms We Learn

These are both conscious and unconscious psychological systems we use to bring about synthesis and an optimal state of mind. We use them to justify our actions or please others.

  1. Sublimation, here the individual tries to escape past painful memories or limitations through substituting them with more positive attributes. For instance, an individual who has difficulty controlling anger may end up becoming a professional wrestler or boxer. This way the person will be in a better position to express anger in a way that is more acceptable to the society.
  2. Denial, in this method a person suppresses negative events into the memory and tries to act as usual even when it’s clear that things aren’t going the way they ought to be. For example, a teenager who has just lost a parent can pretend not be affected by the occurrence, and would not shed a tear but continue playing with friends and laughing around as if things are normal. The truth will only dawn on this person when friends go back their happy families and the pain of not having a family-member close by sets in.
  3. Projection, people using projection as a coping mechanism tend to target their own flaws and limitations to other less threatening objects. For instance, a bully who doesn’t perform well in class and is bigger in composure than others doing well can harass them for no apparent reason. Or, someone who has just received a letter of retrenchment from work can kick the neighbor’s cat to relieve off stress; even if the cat doesn’t have any direct correlation with this resignation letter.
  4. Magnification, in this process an individual tends to view certain occurrences at either great or lesser light than they ought to be visualized in actual sense. For instance, when diagnosed with cancer the ‘magnifier’ can falsely put in mind that cancer isn’t that serious and he/she would eventually heal even without seeking proper treatment. This person puts aside the fact that cancer can be fatal if prompt medical consultation isn’t sought.
  5. Reaction formation, in such a structure the person says exact opposite of what he/she actually intends so as to please the receiver. For instance, when served an unsavory meal by a relative who then requests you comment on the cooking most probably one will lie that it’s good, just so not to hurt her feelings.
Achieving Self Realization

The goal of every individual is getting to know the true purpose of life through getting in touch with all the senses and making good use of the environment. Abraham Maslow tried to explain this process through his pyramid of needs which is discussed as follows.

Physiological Needs

These are some of the very basic necessities of our lives. They are basic and literal necessities for survival of the human species. Incase these necessities aren’t sufficiently met the individual’s body shall cease to function. Water, food and air are all metabolic necessities for actual survival of any human being.

Also, clothing as well as appropriate shelter provides us with essential protection against adverse climatic elements. Researchers have also revealed that actual intensity of ones sexual impulse is principally fashioned by ‘sexual contest’ amongst individuals, rather than maintaining a rate of birth which is sufficient to actual survival of relative species.

Safety Needs

Once the above is fulfilled then the next focus would be on security. Here, one seeks to seize precedence as well as dominate behavior. When physical security is absent as a result of natural disaster, childhood mistreatment or in-family conflict individuals will experience PTSD and multigenerational trauma transfer. On the other hand, economic insecurity resulting from worldwide fiscal crisis or retrenchment of the family’s breadwinner can lead to stress and despair. Security requirements can be subdivided to a) personal security b) well-being & health c) protection against illnesses, catastrophes and other undesirable impacts. d) Monetary security

Adoration & Belongingness

This intricate layer of a person’s needs is social and incorporates real belongingness feelings. In addition, the need tends to be stronger during childhood. In some instances it may over-ride ones need for actual safety, like witnessed in kids who cling too much on abusive parents in a condition known as Stockholm syndrome. Maslow argued that absence of such aspects in the hierarchy as a result of neglect, ostracism or shunning may impede the individual’s ability to form meaningful relations later in life. These associations are:

  • Family
  • Friendship
  • Intimacy

People generally need to establish some sense of acceptance as well as belongingness whether it’s from huge social gatherings like clubs, gangs or small collective connections such as confidants, intimate partners, mentors or members of the family.

When love is lacking the individual will shrink to forlornness, societal apprehension and also clinical depression. In some instances the need to belong can override physiological or safety requirements. It depends on influence of ones peer pressure. For instance, an anorexic can ignore need to consume sufficient food alongside the safety brought by ample health. The individual would rather prefer the feeling of belongingness and ultimate control as a better alternative to eating.


All of us have the inherent need for respect as well as self-esteem and respect. This affords the normal individual with desire for full acceptance, along with value for significant others. Most of us need to participate in certain activities which would afford us a feeling of contribution. We need to sense some self-value and that is why people engage in hobbies or professions. Certain imbalances at this particular level will lead to poor self-esteem and eventual inferiority complex.

Individuals with poor self esteem constantly require the reverence of others. They will seek recognition or glory, and this entirely depends on the view of others. Research also reveals that individuals with poor esteem will not advance view of their personality despite the fame, external glory or respect they may receive. Certain psychological imbalances like depression may further impede one from achieving proper self-esteem.

Maslow identified two different structures of esteem needs. The lower section is concerned with respect, recognition, fame or attention displayed by others. The much higher echelon is concerned with competence, independence, mastery, freedom and also necessity for strength. It is more on the higher side of esteem because the individual largely depends on inner competence that is largely achieved via experience. Actual deprivation of such needs would result to inferiority feelings, helplessness and also weakness.

Self Actualization

This pertains to the individual’s ability to realize wholesome potential and also realize maximum capacity through ‘discovering the real self.’ Maslow describes this stage as where one strives to be everything they are able of becoming.

Also note that self realization varies from one individual to another as it all depends on goals that have been set. For instance, one person can have a strong longing to be the best parent to the kids. On the other hand, there’s an individual who will view self-actualization as being able to express thoughts more in terms of classic inventions, paintings and also pictorials.

Memory and Learning

According to mind & memory researchers, actual learning is characteristically thought to be a mental process. Nevertheless, your brain is a standard physical organ which mostly functions in an electrochemical and psychological way. There are some movements along with categories of exercise which will sufficiently stimulate your mind and aid in learning.

Workings of Your Brain
  • On average there are new cells that are produced in the brain right from birth up to the person’s demise. This accounts to the individual’s capacity to carry on with learning in a bid to sufficiently‘update the mind database’
  • Every individual generally has around 100 billion functional neurons in the brain. Each of them comprises about 1,000 and 100,000 nervous links. Information would be conveyed electrically all through neurons via chemical neurotransmitters. If your mind is sufficiently stimulated while thinking or puzzling up data, then brain cells would liberate chemicals which enhance the intensification of certain hormonal links along the cell structures.
  • The brain does consume around 25% of the entire fraction of glucose along with oxygen that humans do absorb. Glucose serves as your brain’s chief source of energy and is vital for nourishing nerve fibers for better recollection of information. Through consuming complex carbohydrates, proteins or lipids one would sufficiently feed the body’s most hungry organ.
  • An individual’s biological state does support most of the mental efforts applied. When an individual does stand after long periods of heavy mind exercise, for instance, stretching up the legs would aid you to sufficiently refresh mind functionalities.
  • Exercises which comprise a clear combination of equilibrium coordination alongside learning certain intricate movements will produce be a greater amount of neurons. Memory and relevant mastery of certain information can vastly be administered through exercises related to such categories. This is principally because the prime motor cortex, cerebellum and also basal ganglia do coordinate physiological movements as well as thought structures through ordering a cycle of thoughts requisite in thinking.
  • Many educational systems prefer classroom setting as their favorite method of learning. However, researchers have found out that it is not very effective because it lacks engagement. Tasks that incorporate movement, communication skills and solving of problems can exercise your brain effectively.
  • Humor can also be used to stimulate the brain for meaningful perception & learning. For healing to occur one should have a bold spirit and have in mind the goal of linking individual energy sources for mental clarity in a fun-filled environment.

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