Are you a result of your body, or is your body a result of you?

by Wendy Down on February 27, 2018

Hello again, friends. That’s me in the photo, left, eyeing the collection of quotes, concepts and images that will be woven into the PhD study I hope you’ll decide to become a part of.

I spent this morning getting a handle on what exactly is required of my study and dissertation. Within 20 minutes, I’d hit overwhelm. So much to learn, keep track of and do. So many details and so many unknowns.

So I stopped reading and did what I now instinctively always do with any uncomfortable emotion; Close my eyes and feel all the way through its energy until I reach the peacefulness out of which it arose in the first place. (Something you’ll also learn to do if you decide to be part of my 6-month study group.)

Next I used a practical strategy I employed often while renovating my little house project, The Oyster.  There, when the scale and scope of the project overwhelmed me, I’d focus on taking just one small action. The easiest, smallest or simplest thing I could do. I might have cleaned a window. Or hammered another nail into a wall.

Most times, I’d elect to do the one thing I just felt like doing.

Today my one small study-related action is to share with you a single concept. This concept is the key difference between Western and Eastern/integrative/quantum medicines. It provides the question upon which my PhD study rests.

The concept is captured in the image below.  Note that the image isn’t of very good quality.  (Improving it wasn’t the one-small-thing-I-decided-to-do.)

In Western medicine – and Newtonian physics – the foundation of our world is the particle.  Matter is primary, meaning it exists first and everything else exists because of it.

As you can see in the diagram below, this perspective is called Upward Causation.

Upward Causation would say that you, your emotions, thoughts and very ‘being’ exist because you have body. You and all your experiences result from things happening on the physical level.  If your body didn’t exist, you wouldn’t exist.  When your body dies, poof, you’re gone too.

Upward Causation extends this perspective to a view on how best to treat physical, emotional, mental and life problems. You get to the core of everything by addressing it on the physical level.  If you’re in pain, ill, sad or unclear on your direction in life, matter and substance is the dimension in which to seek the answer.

Figure from Drouin, Paul (2014) Creative Integrative Medicine. Balboa Press, Bloomington, IN.

By contrast, consider the opposite. In the upside down version of this model, consciousness (awareness) exists, not as an expression of physical matter but as the precursor to it.  From consciousness, the unseen, intangible dimension, everything we experience, including matter itself emerges.

Quantum physics and most Eastern medical perspectives are based on this model which is known as Downward Causation.

According to Downward Causation, you exist first and from the non-material ‘you’ emerges the rest of you – your thoughts, emotions, personality and physical body.  Your body exists because YOU exist.  If your body dies, no poof, YOU still exist!

Do you see that only one of these perspectives can be true?

For years, I was 100% committed to the Upward Causation (matter first) model as indisputable fact. As a nurse, I practiced and taught from this perspective. But over time, my thinking has undergone a head-spinning 180 degree turn.  Too many events have defied the notion that the body/matter is the source of everything else.  I’ve seen too many instances where consciously manipulating non-matter – energy and emotional fields – predates remarkable changes in physical matter of all sorts.

My personal change in perspective seems to be part of a larger opening-of-minds among many Westerners. A paradigm-shift, as it were.

I point to healer Charlie Goldsmith, who recently garnered enough mainstream interest to have a show on TLC, The Learning Channel. Charlie’s method of rapid non-touch healing works through no known mechanism explainable by Upward Causation (at least not yet) but makes perfect sense according to Downward Causation where consciousness is the foundation of all being.

Downward Causation is the perspective I turn to first as a Life Coach.  Its the model that will be tested by those who will take part in the 6-month coaching group that will be the source of data for my PhD study.

I’m still working out the details of that offering, (remember my detailed to-do list?) But I will pass that information along in due time here.  Right now, I think I’ll head out into the sunshine for a walk.

Did you find this distinction helpful?  I’d love to know.  The comments function below is now working unlike when I posted last time.

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Lori March 7, 2018 at 12:52 am

Love this. The work I’m doing with nature has me convinced that consciousness is in every physical manifestation on this earth in some manner. Whether stone or element or animal or plant, everything has a consciousness of some sort. Can’t wait to see what your program is like!

Deb mueller March 3, 2018 at 7:58 pm

I am definitely a downward causation thinker! So blessed!


Deb mueller March 3, 2018 at 7:53 pm

Hi Wendy

So interesting. I am definitely a downward causation believer. Feeling very blessed and grateful. Two of my favourite words.

This is great!

Pat Jessen March 3, 2018 at 5:31 pm

I am so interested and eager to participate, and–believe me–I have plenty to work on!

Catalina-Anca Golea March 3, 2018 at 9:37 am

I would like to participate too. Count on me

Alana March 2, 2018 at 2:18 pm

I´m really honored for this invitation, and I would love to participate. I only achieve success on my health issues, when I access to them energetically and from consciousness first.

Natasha March 2, 2018 at 1:46 am

And the Playground comes to life again — yippee! I have missed you, Wendy, and all of the wonderful people you draw in. I would love to be part of this. Just seeing that twinkle in your eye again reminds me of what delights you bring to life. I’m in!

Wendy Down March 2, 2018 at 2:10 pm

I’m delighted, Natasha. And thanks for your kind words.

Elise March 1, 2018 at 10:31 pm

Hi Wendy
Fascinating! And I’m definitely a downward… count me in as I presume my physical presence not required just tmy conscious self??
Much love btw xxx

Wendy Down March 2, 2018 at 2:09 pm

No physical presence is required, Elise. Just your conscious self, wherever you may be.

Daliah March 1, 2018 at 8:50 pm

Wishing you well with your oyster. Going to read up on that now it’s going to help me a lot. Thank you, Wendy.

Wendy Down March 2, 2018 at 2:08 pm

We’re all in this together, aren’t we, Daliah?

Lynda Poole March 1, 2018 at 4:28 pm

Hi Wendy- I would like to do this! Please include me in the group. Id really love to be part of you accomplishing your PhD Goal if I can 🙂

Wendy Down March 2, 2018 at 2:08 pm

I’d love that so much, Lynda!

mary February 28, 2018 at 4:57 pm

Yes, Wendy! We are every-thing and no-thing all at the same time! I sometimes feel as if I have my skin on backwards, as within me is always more something than the illusory outside of me. I know you get me, and it’s where I want to live all the time….count me in!

Wendy Down February 28, 2018 at 5:24 pm

I get you, Mary, I get you…

Counted IN!

Susan February 28, 2018 at 4:01 pm

Hi Wendy,

I’m not inclined to either/or but believe both Upward & Downward Causation may embrace and interact in a place we do not yet have an understanding of or a name for.

Count me in.

Wendy Down February 28, 2018 at 5:24 pm

Thanks for the chills, Susan 🙂

Cora Whittington February 28, 2018 at 2:29 pm

I would love to be in your study. I am ready for my next stage of expansion and learning.

Wendy Down February 28, 2018 at 5:23 pm

Woot woot. Being ready for more expansion and learning sounds just like you, Cora.

Pat February 28, 2018 at 5:12 am

I am very interested in this whole debatable concept. I can see both sides of it and feel that they actually move in & out as a progression in each direction is made as one moves throughout the day.
Yes, I would love to be a participant in this project of yours. You have me very much pulled into this wanting to know more.
Pat Forbes
Fort Collins, Colorado

Wendy Down February 28, 2018 at 5:22 pm

Seeing both sides and feeling their movement – so awesome, Pat!

I’d love to have you involved.

nancy February 28, 2018 at 4:14 am

YES! Everything starts from pure formless energy, that’s why people can perform “miracles”, shift the energy and see what shows up.

Wendy Down February 28, 2018 at 5:21 pm

Makes sense, doesn’t it, Nancy?

barb February 27, 2018 at 11:54 pm

Both Janice D’s comment and Adriana’s resonated with me.
While reading the description of Upward, I sensed a rigidity within, and boundaries galore. And yet, I was plagued by a needling memory of one of our past CP recording sessions in which you taught us the ONE Word That Changes Everything: “AND”.
So, although if forced to choose only one, I would divinely partnered with Downward Causation. But, I don’t believe in limits. I don’t believe in “either/or”.

Hmmm…. You certainly have my head swimming, Wendy. In a wonderful way.

Wendy Down February 28, 2018 at 5:20 pm

“I don’t believe in limits. I don’t believe in either/or.”

What a thoughtful and relevant contribution, Barb. Let’s take it further…

Kristi L Johnson February 27, 2018 at 11:42 pm

Consciousness first without a doubt! I’d love to be part of your study.. and look forward to the details!

Wendy Down February 28, 2018 at 5:19 pm

You’ll bring something special, love to you have you there, Kristi!

Caroline February 27, 2018 at 9:47 pm

I love all your stuff Wendy and no doubt will love watching you go through your phd 🙂

Being consciousness first has always resonated with me as being my true form and everything that comes my way seems to prove that

I recently discovered Neville Goddard’s work (cant believe it took so long to find me lol) and have been so enjoying Dr Joe’d new book – Becoming Supernatural – everywhere you go, or I go I see evidence of it being so. Just need to keep practicing those breadcrumbs

Wendy Down February 28, 2018 at 4:57 pm

I’m not familiar with Neville Goddard, Caroline. Making a note to check his work out!

Janice Dietert February 27, 2018 at 9:10 pm

As soon as I read Upward Causation I heard a loud, internal buzzer. Nope…wrong. But then…we’ve been around that block together, haven’t we, Wendy? No PhD dissertation is ever simple at the outset. However, if you can bring down the ceiling in the wall of the Oyster with little to no effort, you’ve got this, too. Would love to be part of your study!

Wendy Down February 27, 2018 at 9:43 pm

We have been around that block, yes indeed. And… yay!

adriana February 27, 2018 at 8:53 pm

Why can’t both be first? Born together. Matter and consciousness. Why must one be first? I don’t get it. That one moment when the sperm and ovum make a person, there is a flash of light in that very moment. Could the matter and consciousness come into this dimension simultaneously?

Wendy Down February 27, 2018 at 9:42 pm

Such a great question, Adriana. You are definitely on to something here.
I’m planning to talk about this in my next post.

Grace February 27, 2018 at 8:10 pm

I’m in!

Wendy Down February 27, 2018 at 9:41 pm

Let the hilarity begin

kelley elkins February 27, 2018 at 7:48 pm

I have always been and I shall always be… it is consciousness first… and that is what I am now guiding in Awakening Through the French Doors Experience

Wendy Down February 27, 2018 at 9:41 pm

That sounds wonderful, Kelley.

Joscelyn February 27, 2018 at 7:45 pm

I like the explanation of the distinction. Just to confirm my understanding, is it possible that there is error: “Upward causation is perspective I use regularly….” i thought it was downward where consciousness was 1st

Wendy Down February 27, 2018 at 7:50 pm

Good catch, Joscelyn! I’ve corrected it 🙂

moira February 27, 2018 at 7:16 pm

I love this distinction. In my work with chronic pain clients i so often see them believing that the brain has no part in the model rather their entire experience is cellular or muscular or orthopaedic. I too struggle often finding myself caught between the two distinctions. Struggling to “fix” menopause with hormones, diet, exercise rather than from consciousness. Hmmmm….

Wendy Down February 27, 2018 at 9:41 pm