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Author Topic: Are the soul & the brain/mind the same thing?  (Read 1214 times) Average Rating: 0
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88Devin12
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« on: August 17, 2009, 08:02:37 AM »

Saw the other thread and decided to finally ask this question which has been bouncing around in my head for a while...

I watched a video of a famous (or infamous) Orthodox man where he spoke the entire video on prayer w/o speaking about the soul or even the spirit, all he spoke about with our human brain and how using the prayer rope affects our brain and really never alluded to it being a spiritual experience.

Is this common among Orthodoxy?
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pensateomnia
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« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2009, 09:22:54 AM »

Is this common among Orthodoxy?

No. Extremely, extremely, extremely uncommon. Extremely.
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« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2009, 09:36:03 AM »

No. Extremely, extremely, extremely uncommon. Extremely.

Yep, we don't believe in brains Grin Grin Grin

No really, I have not come across anything like what the OP mentions from an Orthodox author.
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« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2009, 10:08:12 AM »

Saw the other thread and decided to finally ask this question which has been bouncing around in my head for a while...

I watched a video of a famous (or infamous) Orthodox man where he spoke the entire video on prayer w/o speaking about the soul or even the spirit, all he spoke about with our human brain and how using the prayer rope affects our brain and really never alluded to it being a spiritual experience.

Is this common among Orthodoxy?

Odd.

Since man is a body-soul-spirit, anything one "part" does affects the other (hence pscychosomatism).  Why he left out the spiritual here, that's odd.  Maybe to emphasize the physical side of spirituality?
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88Devin12
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« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2009, 10:27:33 AM »

I may be totally off on my assumptions, but here is the video...
Ladder of Divine Ascent: Part 3, Prayer Ropes-
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-wtKvnQQXo

I did not name the man that did the video so that this thread didn't get off topic on his other teachings/positions.

I didn't find him to be totally wrong in the video, but I just found it odd that he spoke of all these lofty anatomical ideas but never spoke of the spiritual side of prayer. I didn't know if it was a teaching that soul & mind are the same, or if he simply left out the spiritual side for another reason.
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« Reply #5 on: August 17, 2009, 11:31:16 AM »

I believe the term 'mind' in our common parlance encompasses a great deal of territory, from memory to sensual perception to reasoning.

Orthodox terminology, at least from my limited knowledge, doesn't rely on this imprecise term.  The brain isn't mentioned so much because it was not understood as it is now.  Deep thought was associated with the heart, which we now think of as the seat of emotion.

This is just my opinion, but I see the brain not as the seat or location of the mind, but rather as the antenna that helps connect the body and the soul and spirit together.  This is why brain injury is so complex, since scientists look at the brain as a data storage device rather than a signal processor.  Since they can't measure the 'soul signal' they assume it is not there.  Brian damage, like breaking an antenna, can effect signal quality and interfere with our perceptions.  When the brain is injured or negatively effected, it further distorts our perceptions and limits our already hampered reason.

According to the Fathers, human awareness is made up of body, soul and spirit perceptions, which are scattered.  Due to our limits, we are never totally aware of all three aspects at one time, and so our focus bounces around randomly.  There is a need to gather the awareness together, to bring stillness to the inner self (in a way, the mind or the heart, depending on what your terminology is) and thus greater awareness of the total self.
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« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2009, 11:44:54 AM »

I may be totally off on my assumptions, but here is the video...
Ladder of Divine Ascent: Part 3, Prayer Ropes-
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-wtKvnQQXo

In this video, Vladika Lazar is talking about only one aspect of the use of the prayer rope. He is not equating the soul with the mind/brain, but talking about the need to still and focus the mind in prayer.
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« Reply #7 on: August 17, 2009, 04:30:56 PM »

I have yet to finish the video due to my infernal internet buffering (who needs high speed?) Oddly enough this very issue came up with dh recently, so troubling was it that he went to the other priest in town to discuss it. This was with our priest's blessing, he lives out of state and is NOT a convert as we are.  I guess dh wanted a convert's perspective because our elderly priest is aghast at some of the doctrine we came programed with.

Apparently, as others have said, Orthodoxy focuses on quieting our mind because it wants to lead the body and the spirit-the two are separated as a result of the fall and we are always at war with our spiritual selves and our intellectual selves. As evidenced by the incredible intensity some people pursue worldly education above all other growth. I gathered that we are to place more emphasis on the spiritual, the nous than on the intellectual which is finite and quite capable of mistakes. AT least that is from a convert's version, our priest basically said the same thing later but it only made sense after the younger priest said it.  Grin So this video, as much as I have seen, doesn't add up to me.
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88Devin12
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« Reply #8 on: August 17, 2009, 04:35:50 PM »

Yeah, I was just very cautious about the video given the controversial figure who is speaking in it... I wanted to see whether or not he was coming from an Orthodox perspective. I understand if he was simply talking about the physical/mental aspects, but I was afraid he was purposely leaving out the spiritual and promoting a less spiritual aspect of prayer.

Hopefully I'm wrong and he is just focusing on the mental to show it's physical as well as spiritual.
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