The Holistic Self
Perhaps due to the great advances in science and technology, we have a tendency to divide, sort, and categorize everything. The body is divided into the nervous system, lymphatic system, digestive system and so on. Even the mind is divided into the id, ego and superego in Freudian psychology.
The Eastern approach also involves categorization, but there is a greater emphasis on interconnectedness. Both the mind and the body are seen in a holistic light where everything has an effect on everything else. Indeed, even the mind and the body are recognized as inextricably connected.
One principle we can derive from this is that if one wishes to sharpen the mind, one cannot rely only one reading, learning and other mental activities. One must also work on the body. This means both exercise and nutrition. This is one of the reasons many sages exercise regularly and either choose a vegetarian lifestyle or limit their consumption of animal products. At higher levels of cultivation, one can sense the effects of food on the mind, and a diet rich in plant-based foods is considered the best choice for mental clarity.
The Tao Today
Most of us are not operating at peak efficiency, either physically or mentally. Your body and mind are capable of so much more. Think about them as the sages do, not as separate parts, but as an interconnected whole. Look for ways to work on both body and mind to be at your strongest and clearest.