For many years the scientific community has struggled to make the mind-brain connection. Not surprisingly, there is not a clear definition of the mind because of the mystery which surrounds it. From a religious perspective, mind is synonymous with soul, spirit and divine principle. Scientists have so far been unable or unwilling to define the mind. Daniel Siegel has probably provided the most comprehensive definition of the mind, which is gaining widespread acceptance amongst scientists. He defined the mind as follows: “a core aspect of the mind is an embodied and relational process that regulates the flow of energy and information’’ (p. 2). Siegel’s conceptualization of the mind, encapsulating the mind, brain and relationship elements, is illustrated in the diagram below.
Source: Adapted from Siegel (Siegel, 2010).
In this conception of the mind, the brain is seen as an organ having a variety of parts designed to perform some specific functions by themselves in combination with other parts. The mind is conceptualized as the flow of energy and information. This assumes that the mind regulates the energy. By regulating, Siegel meant monitoring what is happening with the energy and exerting an influence to alter the way things are happening. The information component represents the symbolization of what is happening. The relationship element of the model suggests a mind-body connection, rather than a limited perspective of mind-brain connection. According to Siegel, the mind regulates energy and information flow not only throughout the whole body of an individual, but also between and among people. The relationship function is for sharing of energy and information flow (Campbell, 2008). This brain-mind conception proposes the brain as a flexible, modifiable, malleable organ that can be altered with new experiences and thoughts. As mentioned earlier, the mind is the flow of energy and information. Therefore the dynamics of brain plasticity can be explained as the effects of the mind over the brain. New experiences and thoughts generate a flow of energy and information (mind), which acts on the neurons to trigger the development of new neurons and new neural connections.