“The body is but the machine used by the mind. If it be week, the power of our thought may be largely used and almost useless is resisting its weakness. The mind is then the workman endeavoring to carry out his design with an imperfect tool. Eventually, this detective tool may derange and destroy entirely the workman’s power.
“Strength of mind and body is the cornerstone of all enjoyment and success. The weak body enjoys little or nothing. Our bodies are reservoirs of force. … What is most desirable for all to know is, how to retain the most of that force during our waking hours and if possible to increase it; because this force has a commercial value in dollars and cents. The weak and exhausted body is neither the body for ‘business’ of pleasure, and all business is best done when it is a pleasure to do it.” ~Prentice Mulford
The Body as a Tool
Yes, we can think of the body as a tool for the mind. It might be more accurate, however, to think of the body and mind more like partners who need to work together. Mulford notes that a mind cannot do its job very well with a weak or sick body. It is also true that the body can’t accomplish much with a damaged or weak mind.
But it doesn’t stop there. While Mulford may only be interested in the body and mind, there is also the spirit and soul to be considered. The spirit and soul certainly don’t need the physical body to function. They may use it, however, to help with certain things that they wish to do.
It is not true, however, that the body can exist without a spirit. It can exist without a soul, or at least without the divine soul which is the soul most people mean when they talk about the soul. We also have a mundane soul that is linked to the body. The divine soul, however, is very loosely connected to the body and will leave if the body and mind commit serious acts of violence such as murder.
So in short, we are complex beings and we function best when all the parts work together in peace and harmony. Body, mind, psyche, spirit, and soul all need to be friends and partners. When they are not, or one part is too weak or damaged to properly function, the whole being suffers.
When the body is weak or sickly, the mind may have to do part of its job. It may also be unable to do much else. The mind may be concentrating on the ills of the body and looking for ways to get over them. Unfortunately, with many people, that doesn’t include proper nutrition or exercise. Not that those things solve all health problems, but it solves far more than many want to believe.
Where it becomes role reversal is when you start living in mental fantasies. You don’t want to exercise, so you fantasize yourself doing things instead. You don’t want to eat healthily, so you fantasize that you are strong and healthy while you slowly rot your body with cupcakes, donuts, and hamburgers. As you get more and more adept at that, you feel less and less the desire to actually do things instead of just doing them in your imagination. But while there is evidence that mental visualization can help you accomplish physical things, they cannot do it for you. You can’t have the nail pounding the hammer. You have to get the relationship of your parts functioning properly. Thinking of the body as a tool may seem like devaluing its importance, but that is its relationship to the mind. The brain-mind thinks it, the body does it.
Mind and Soul Relationship
The mind and soul have a relationship that is very similar to that of the body and the mind. At least, that is the way it is supposed to be. The mind controls the body and the soul is supposed to control the mind. But that is the case in very few of us.
The primary reason is that the spirit and soul in the vast majority of people remain dormant. They are dormant when we come into the physical world and cannot truly function until they are awakened. While it is technically true that there are numerous ways to awaken the spirit and soul, there is only one method that is reliable enough to do. It isn’t wishing for it and it isn’t living through a tragedy. It isn’t even meditation. Sorry, but I know people who meditate often and yet are not spiritually awakened. The one reliable method is to feed the spirit and soul spiritual light. That light comes to us on Earth through the spiritual sun, or Sun of Righteousness.
The second reason why the mind and soul don’t function together properly is that the ego part of the mind is unwilling to surrender control. That is why so many think that the ego is an enemy, but it is not. It is more like a dog that needs proper training. And without ego, you can’t function in the physical world, especially the cutthroat world of materialism. So we have to persuade the ego. We have to convince it that it will be better off letting the soul take the lead. Like anything else in spiritual growth, it isn’t easy, but it’s worth the effort. Have the body as a tool of the mind, the mind as a tool of the soul, and your life will improve greatly on all levels.