Body Mind and Soul: What Tigers Have in Common With Us


This is a purely personal blog of an idea that has roots going back more than 20 years, when I woke up from a dream (while in Arizona, where I am currently visiting). It was about my grandfather, who died when my mother was 10. The dream felt so lucid that it inspired me, years later, to write a full draft of a novel that has been sitting in my drawer since. The concept that unfolded in the novel was about a kind of transcendence from our physical life here on Earth to a place that I consider to be our collective unconscious.

In my novel, Land of Id, my main character is surrounded by her (my) dead ancestors, who had developed a belief in something my grandfather described as the Triunarian faith. This was a spirituality in which the physical body, emotional mind, and intellectual awareness were seen as part of the process of letting go before attaining unity with the highest consciousness. Obviously, the physical body was the first to go.

(Interesting note: the “triunarian” term came to me before I discovered there was an actual denomination called Unitarian, which I am now part of.)

In the Land of Id, ancestors who remained (some had mysteriously disappeared) were trying to figure out if it was emotions or the intellectual concept of “I Am” that was holding them back from the next level.

In my less defined wisdom of that time I was trying to figure out which one could be discarded as we ascended: Our hearts? Or our brains? I was fascinated with the story of “Same Time, Next Year” (movie with Alan Alda and Ellen Burstyn), when two people consciously chose to meet once a year without getting more deeply entangled.

As I was pondering the “value” of emotions, I asked for the opinion of my friend Morin, a Harvard graduate who studied at the Union Theological Seminary, as we traveled to a shared group beach house on the Jersey shore in his highly evolved BMW. Which one did he think was most important: physical, emotional or intellectual? He replied that our true challenge as humans was to integrate all three.

Flash forward to present day

I have since discovered the Unitarian faith in real life — known as the “intellectual half” of a faith that merged in the 1960s with the Universalists, known as the “emotional” half (and which I was part of for several years).

I am decidedly more at peace with the books I am reading and discussions I am having about quantum physics, evolution, neuroscience and theories of conscious awareness than I am with anything related to the emotions. (I am, however, making good progress on that. 🙂 … notably my two kids have opened up my heart in tremendous ways.)

And in synchronistic ways, I am being reminded regularly these days of my interest in finding a comfortable balance between the body, the emotions and conscious thought. In another Arizona dream a few days ago, I was pointedly asked by a friend to rank their importance (I did not answer). Upon waking, I discovered that three people who I consider to represent — in my connections to them — one of each of those three branches, had all sent me an email at the same time.

Yes, I know I’m starting to sound flaky, but bear with me.

The next day, I sat down for my conversation with Stuart Hameroff who, among other things, believes there is a kind of pleasure principle at work in our evolution, beyond that of simply survival. He mentioned that he has been writing something about life as emotional feeling and life as intellectual awareness. few days later my parents, kids and I were at the Out of Africa park near Sedona, watching as the hunting instincts of two large tigers were purposely triggered by staff members. The park owner, also inside the enclosure, with his back to the tigers, uses the opportunity of his Tiger Splash show to educate the audience about how animals use both intellect and emotion to decide how to react. In the case of staff members the tigers are familiar with, who they have grown attached to, they consciously choose not to pounce with intent to kill. They will leap into the pool after a known human they have been invited to chase, and even wrap their fangs around an arm, but they do not use their teeth or claws to maim because they choose not to hurt someone they know.

A toy, on the other hand, easily gets shredded into bits.

So what am I, essentially, yammering on about? believe we are all grappling, consciously or not, with integrating three essential elements of life that are not always easy: physical needs, emotional connections, and conscious choices.

In my personal view (shared by others), I believe that our universe also consists of three essential elements:

  • Matter (physical particles)
  • Energy (roughly vibrational connection that impacts matter)
  • Awareness (field of consciousness through which vibrations flow)

I think Science has done a good job focusing its five senses on physical matter… and it has been able to detect and calculate energy… but it is only now beginning to discover how Awareness plays an equal — and even greater — role in the evolution of our Universe.

It is Awareness that I think tends to get short shrift, and that is what this blog and the Connected in the Deep e-guides will explore in many ways, from various thinkers, experiences and scientific viewpoints.

A quick overview of these viewpoints can be found here.

— Mikki Morrissette