We are all pretty well accepting of the mind/body interface—interpreted mostly to mean that the mind can influence the body, although we are all familiar with the reverse—that physical fatigue, malaise, pain, etc. influence the mind.
Or does the body influence the mind? The mind can interpret the causes for such conditions and guide us to take action to overcome them. We have greater understanding today of chemical and nutritional imbalances that affect the psyche, and can change our nutrition and cleanse the body to overcome depression and psychological disturbances. Instead of accepting such physical causes, the mind can become the controller.
Through hypnosis and other forms of mind programming, we can influence body functions, for good or bad. Many times it is for bad in the ways that advertising and the media stimulate interest and demand for foods, drugs, and behavior that are bad for us—for our health and for our family, social, and professional relationships. In these situations, others are using the mind/body interface to gain control over our behavior. We need to recognize these activities for what they are, and assert control over them. To a large measure, this is what self-hypnosis is about—asserting control over your own life.
Still, even though the phrase "body, mind & spirit" is becoming familiar, the reality of a spirit/mind/body interface is still very challenging.
Spirit = Consciousness
We don't have a grasp of what we mean by the word "spirit." As a noun the word is used variously: spirits of the dead, getting into the spirit of things, Holy Spirit; descriptively as in spirited, spiritual, spirituality, Spiritual Truth; and even as a verb, as in "spirited away."
As indicated in that last usage, spirited away, we say that spirit itself is invisible even though it may manifest through mind and body.
What is the difference between Mind and Spirit? What if we use the analogy of a person swimming in the ocean? The ocean is analogous to spirit, and the swimmer to mind. The ocean, like spirit or consciousness, exists while the swimmer makes choices and moves about.
But, it is said, all things come from the sea. Life evolved from the ocean, indeed even the human body is mostly water, and blood has a salt content like that of the ocean. But the body is a particularization of a greater whole. Now that we live on land, we are told that we come from dust (dirt, earth) and to dust we return. So it is with mind: mind is a particularization of consciousness, but it too is part of the greater whole.
The body lives on the surface of earth and shares in the earth's bounty because of conscious choices and actions made through mind. The individual mind lives on the surface of the ocean of consciousness and shares in the whole through the conscious choices and actions made by mind.
Mind = Controller
Because of the nature of our particular reality, we are more limited in our physicality than we are in our mentality. Physically we cannot fully merge with earth except through the death of the body. Mentally, however, we can merge in lesser or greater extent with consciousness through techniques of magick, meditation, prayer, ritual, and various shamanic practices.
Just as we learn to live better on earth through various technologies (agriculture, husbandry, manufacture, etc.) we learn to live better in consciousness (or spirit) through these various spiritual technologies.
Spirit = Mind + Body
Some teach that all comes from spirit, just as life came from the ocean. Spirit is all, but the body is a place of dwelling for the endurance of a single incarnation. The individual mind (personality, ego) is also a dwelling place for a single incarnation, but the nature of mind is such that it can be expanded beyond the specific limitations of personality to give us glimpses of the greater spiritual realities.
The body grows through nourishment and exercise—so mind grows in similar fashion, and in so doing opens to what we call "spirit." Using our body, under the direction of mind, we can move upon the surface of earth and identify with all humanity and all life, and using mind we can move upon the surface of consciousness and identify with spirit.
Because mind and body are of spirit, they influence each other. But when we accept that mind is the controller, mind can change the paradigm from mere interaction to one where the powers of spirit can be brought to bear on the physical body, and upon the physical world. The more our mental choices and actions correspond to the nature of spirit, the more harmony and beauty we achieve. We become "co-creators" and need to accept greater responsibility for the world in which we live.
Mind + Spirit = Magick
It has been taught that through magick we can bring about changes in consciousness, and changes in perceived reality. It is the nature of the magical universe that changes in perception. On a large enough scale, it can bring about changes in physical reality. This brings us to a new point of realization: "garbage in, garbage out!"
We are all magicians of lesser or greater skill, and of lesser or greater responsibility for the world we share. People in ignorance of this fact, and people unaccepting of this responsibility, are in fact largely responsible for the state of the world as it is. We tend to blame everyone but ourselves for crime, poverty, disease, war, global warming, extreme weather, catastrophes, and even the neighbor next door whom we don't love as ourselves.
New Age = Responsibility
I believe we are at a "tipping point" in human evolution where more people are opening to higher levels of consciousness, extended awareness and mental capabilities to the point that we will soon be able to bring about a "New Order of the Ages" (Novus Ordo Seclorum). See the Great Seal on the back of your dollar bill—where it also says Annuit Coeptis, meaning "Providence Has Favored Our Undertakings," but it also shows an incomplete pyramid. We have to finish the project through our own efforts.
We have been blessed with life, but even more so with responsibility. We perceive the world where we have dumped our garbage, treated the earth with disrespect, trampled upon our neighbors and created hatred among our kind in the name of differently perceived Divinity. Let us accept responsibility, exercise our mental power and achieve spiritual insight to "finish the project" and bring about a New Order of the Age as favored by Providence.
— Carl Llewellyn Weschcke, Publisher