Body, Mind and Spirit – All One

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The world of spirituality is full of contradictions that aren’t contradictions at all.  But you don’t know that until you have broken through the world of rationality into the world of spiritual awareness.   In the world of spiritual awareness, mind and spirit are one, yet mind can both enhance and handicap the development of spiritual awareness.         

Mind enhances spiritual awareness through:

  • Curiosity – a powerful driving force for exploration
  • Objective Reason – a powerful protector in a world of sometimes dubious claims and practices.  
  • Understanding and processing spiritual experiences and truths – essential if we want to put spirituality into action in our lives.
  • Being able to learn from experience

Mind handicaps spiritual awareness through:

  • Excessive reliance on rationality and objective reason
  • Trying to control life and the people in it
  • Holding tightly to the lessons we have learned from our experiences to the detriment of the new.

It’s best explained through yin and yang.  Yin turns into yang and yang into yin, night turns into day and day to night.  The mind processes and holds onto the lessons we’ve learned from life.  The lessons are often painful and this leads to suffering.  That suffering sends us searching for a solution.  That solution is often the awakening to our own spirituality and that awakening changes our minds.  

There is no divide between psychology and spirituality.  They are one and that fact is the key to putting spirituality into action in everyday life. 

Step two:  embrace your mind.  It’s not your enemy.  It might just need some soothing and taming.

Everyone has something to teach.   Share your wisdom – make a comment.

Quotes for Life: Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh on Body, Mind and Spirit

 

Holons

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Arthur Koestler, in his famous book The Ghost in the Machine, coined the term holon.  A holon (based on the Greek word for whole) is an entity or system that is itself a whole and, simultaneously, a part of some other broader whole.   Ken Wilbur, in A Brief History of Everything, uses the concept of holons to explain spirituality.  “All of existence is composed of holons,” Wilbur says, “beginning with inanimate matter.  Matter is contained within the higher holon of life.  Life transcends and contains matter.  Spirit is the highest currently known holon.  “Spirit transcends all, so it includes all.  It is utterly beyond this world, but utterly embraces every single holon in this world…It’s the highest rung in the ladder, but it’s also the wood out of which the entire ladder is made.”

Two thousand or so years ago the Bible put it more poetically:  spirit is the “ground in which we live and move and have our being” (Acts 7: 27-28).  In other words, we cannot avoid the spiritual; we can only remain unaware of it.  It is the totality of who we are and the universe in which we live – no separation of parts, no divisions, no duality.

Given this union of all things, why do we continue to divide ourselves into contradictory parts, demonize some of them and adulate others?   Why do some of us see our bodies as ugly or sinful?  Why do some of us see our minds as our enemy?  Why do some of us see our intuition and non-rational traits as inferior to reason?  Why do some of us reject our ability to think clearly and logically?

Everyone has something to teach.   Share your wisdom – make a comment.

Quotes for Life: Ken Wilber on What is Spirit?

What is Breathwork? (Part 3 of more)

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Breathwork takes many forms:  Holotropic, Vivation, Resonance, Integrative, Transformational, Breakthrough, Clarity, Rebirthing and many more.  Some rely on hyperventilation which is controversial in the medical community, others rely on relaxed breathing.  The form of breathwork I practiced – as both breather and therapist – and have written about extensively for nearly 20 years is Rebirthing Breathwork.  So when I use the term Breathwork, I’m talking about Rebirthing Breathwork.

The breathwork experience is one of those spiritual states that are difficult to explain unless you’ve been there.  Let’s begin with a description of a Breathwork session.

If you were to watch someone practicing Rebirthing Breathwork, you might see their chest moving, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly, sometimes hardly moving at all.  You might see them shift about, yawn, scratch.  There might be some crying, sometimes quite a lot of crying.  There might also be some laughter.  And, at the end of the session, you might see someone so deeply relaxed that they haven’t’ a tense muscle in their body.  You might also notice radiant skin, luminous eyes and a face that, at least temporarily, looks years younger and more relaxed.

But nothing you can see would give you any indication of the depth and wonder of the world you can’t see, the world breathwork opens up inside the person who is breathing.

Note:  Rebirthing Breathwork has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with the regression technique psychotherapists in Colorado called rebirthing, a technique that led to tragedy a few years ago.  They are totally different practices that have no connection whatsoever with each other.

Everyone has something to teach.   Share your wisdom – make a comment.

Quotes for Life: Thich Nhat Hanh

 

The Great Divide – Psychology and Spirituality (Part 2 of 2)

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In the past, psychologists, and particularly psychiatrists, looked on the human psyche as something to be objectively and ‘scientifically’ studied using the tools of reason and rationality.  Medical doctors focused on the body and not even on the whole body, just the part that was broken or diseased.  Priests focused on the immortal soul and New Agers took the collection of functions Freud called the ego and made it the enemy of spirit. 

Fortunately that divide is being bridged.  Doctors now ask about their patients’ stress levels and living situations.  Psychiatrists such as Gerald May pioneered the inclusion of spirituality into the treatment of people with mental illness and addictions.  New Agers are gradually recognizing the importance of rationality and soon they may even stop seeing the ego as an enemy to be obliterated. 

In time maybe we will all recognize that we are all a wonderful scramble of everything, a magnificently blended, if not always fully functioning, whole with no dividing lines where everything belongs and everything has a purpose.

That said, let’s start exploring the role our psychology plays in our spirituality.

Everyone has something to teach.   Share your wisdom – make a comment.

Quotes for Life: Hermann Hesse

The Great Divide – Psychology and Spirituality (Part 1 of 2)

Separated 1941 – Istvan Farkas
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We humans have analyzed ourselves into our component parts – we’re a body, a mind, a soul, a spirit.  Depending on where we’re coming from, one or the other of our parts takes precedence.  For an old school allopathic doctor, the body is the primary focus.  The mind is the focus of a psychotherapist, the soul comes under the remit of a priest and the spirit dwells in the world of a guru or a New Age shaman.   

This causes artificial divisions within our world view.  We are a body and a mind and a soul and a spirit and a lot more besides.  It’s all one package.  And the fullness of life can be accessed through any and all of our component parts. 

Traditional religions have condemned the body as the enemy of spirituality.  Yet in tantric traditions the body is the gateway to the divine.  New Age theory often sees the mind as the enemy, but the mind and the suffering it creates can be our most immediate opening to the world of spiritual awareness. 

The study of spirituality is as old as history.  The study of human behavior is just as ancient, but it became an independent discipline called psychology only in the 1870’s.  Before that it was seen as a branch of philosophy.  That separation, which allowed the study of human behavior and thinking to develop as a science, also creates an artificial divide between spirituality and psychology.   This is a gap we need to close because spirituality and psychology are a seamless whole.   Growth in one area immediately affects awareness in the other and limitations in one area immediately handicaps us in the other.

Everyone has something to teach.   Share your wisdom – make a comment.

Quotes for Life: Jesse Jackson