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Body Mind Spirit Integration: Nothing to Do, Everything to Be

By body brilliance, body mind spirit, Mental Intelligence No Comments
Integral Map Zen Map
It might be said that the Integral Map is, more than anything else, a map of self-mastery. Offering the most comprehensive guide to human development yet assembled, it allows us to customize and refine our various practices to most effectively nourish our growth and connection with the world.
Which, of course, requires a lot of work. Self-mastery, after all, is a lifelong process—perhaps multiple, if you believe in that sort of thing. But what about the Zen ideal of there being nothing to do, and no one to do it? If we are in some sense always-already enlightened, then why bother practice at all?
What is Integral consciousness? It may seem odd to ask such a simple question, especially on a site like Integral Naked which compiles hundreds of hours of cutting-edge integral content.
 
Yet, amidst the staggering wealth of second-tier perspectives that are only now beginning to emerge, and despite the rudimentary markers of second-tier consciousness that we’ve been able to identify so far, it is absolutely crucial that we never allow ourselves to think that we have found the definitive answer to this most fundamental question.
 
We’ve only begun our extraordinary journey together toward the next phase of human consciousness—even the most profound concepts, visions, relationships, charts, graphs, practices, and artworks to spring from integral consciousness are mere relics of the future, crude petroglyphs on the walls of our own becoming.
 
We have barely begun to scratch the surface in terms of defining what living an "Integral Life" actually means—and as the pioneers of an entirely new altitude of consciousness, together we must all hold this basic question in our hearts, allowing it to unfold just a little bit more every day.
 
We ask the question "What is integral consciousness?" while Jeff Salzman described some important qualities of second-tier awareness. However, it is not enough to describe what this consciousness looks like, we must also talk about what it feels like to live from an integral perspective, the subjective contours of the second-tier space. In this spirit, Jeff shares an excerpt from Walt Whitman’s Song of the Open Road:
"From this hour I ordain myself loos’d of limits and imaginary lines,
Going where I list, my own master total and absolute,
Listening to others, considering well what they say,
Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating,
Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that
would hold me.
I inhale great draughts of space,
The east and the west are mine, and the north and the south are mine.
I am larger, better than I thought,
I did not know I held so much goodness.
All seems beautiful to me…."

Love your way,
 
Alan Davidson, founder of
 
and author of Body Brilliance:
Mastering Your Five Vital
Intelligences (IQs)’
 
 
Watch the Body Brilliance Movie
 
Dedicated to our healthy, happy, and prosperous world through the full enlightenment of every human being.
 
Through Your Body
1103 Peveto St.
Houston, TX 77019
713-942-0923
 

 

Diet by the Sword: Body Mind Spirit Martial Art

By body brilliance, body mind spirit, Breath, Diet, Emotional Intelligence, Flexability, Physical Intelligence, Strength One Comment

 

Diet by the Sword: Forza Body Mind Spirit Martial Art

By MARY TANNEN
 
 
I am trying not to think what Freud would say about this roomful of mostly women brandishing big sticks. At Equinox on Broadway and 19th Street, we stand in rows facing a mirror, eyes trained on our wooden swords as well as on our leader, Ilaria Montagnani. Moving to the beat of music that sounds like rhythmic jackhammering, we squat, lunge, slice and slash. The class is called Forza. The footwork is simple, and there are only 13 sword moves. The difficulty comes in making each cut precise, putting the whole body behind the swing and controlling the stick.
Montagnani’s weapon and body move as one. Although I try to mimic the harmony and economy of her motions, I can’t help noticing that my stick is on its own trajectory. There’s an alarming amount of flailing, and I even strike some shelves behind my head. Montagnani has cautiously taken aside the neophytes before class to watch as they practice. There are no “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” acrobatics in this class, I was disappointed to discover. Montagnani explains that the movie featured an intricate Chinese style that extends over time, with much jousting. The traditional Japanese swordsmanship, iaido, on which Forza is based, is “linear, precise — one stab and it’s over,” she says. “It’s very calm, and then quick.”
Forza, Italian for “strength,” is the creation of Montagnani, who is in fact Italian. That said, there is no dolce far niente in her demeanor. With her fair hair, hazel eyes and military stance, she looks like a small, feminine Prussian officer.
“I’ve been a martial artist since I was little,” she allows, but since she was a proper Florentine young lady, she was not sent to karate lessons but for ballet and piano instruction. All that she learned about martial arts came from books until she left for the States at age 19 to study. “I was driven,” she says. “It was the entire focus of my life.” She earned her black belt in karate, then took up the sword, attracted by its “beauty, grace and power.” She had to train with a wooden sword for 11 years before graduating to the real thing. “And then you inevitably cut yourself,” she says. Because of the terminal nature of this kind of fighting, you do not practice with an opponent. You judge your skill by the sound of the blade as it slices through the air.
As her training in martial arts required that she spend hours executing the same moves over and over, Montagnani hit upon the idea of setting moves to music and of fashioning the moves into aerobic routines. She hatched Powerstrike, kickboxing against an imaginary opponent, which is now registered all over the world. Forza came next, with the idea that students could begin with one-pound swords and graduate to heavier weights. (Montagnani trains with a four-pounder, but after an hour of lifting and swinging, I felt one was plenty.)
In addition to teaching 20 hours of classes a week, Montagnani trains instructors worldwide. The sport is a hit in Scandinavia: “They’re good athletes, not soft. They like regimentation. South America and Italy don’t have the correct frame of mind. It’s not for everyone. It requires focus.”
Montagnani has made a DVD, and the wooden swords, called bokken, can be obtained in Chinatown, so theoretically you could become a sitting-room samurai (after carefully clearing the area of bric-a-brac and kids). But there’s nothing like being with other grunting, sweating, slashing acolytes to keep your mind on message.
Outside the glass studio at Equinox, people are trudging on StairMasters and lifting weights. They probably think we are the frivolous ones, but Forza, if done right, is supposed to burn 500 calories an hour, while working arms, legs, back and abs. And you can imagine lopping off heads and disemboweling enemies, which adds a certain passion you can’t bring to weightlifting.
Later, over cappuccino, I tell Montagnani that if accosted in a dark alley, I think I’ll be able to defend myself, as long as I have access to a big stick. Looking a trifle discomfited, she confesses that she was accosted by a man in a crowded subway recently. Though armed, she did not use her sword: “It would have been devastating for him.” Instead she yelled and shoved like any civilian, and no one even looked up.
Well, at least I am burning calories; I’ll be able to eat a doughnut. But Montagnani, who has no discernible body fat, is drinking a small skim and looking wistfully at the pastry selection. “I’m in training,” she explains. I’m beginning to see that it will take more than a couple of hours a week of stick waving to get to look like her. You must live by the sword.
Be Brilliant; body mind spirit brilliant.
 
Love your way, ad
 
Alan Davidson, founder of
and author of Body Brilliance:
Mastering Your Five Vital
Intelligences (IQs)
 
 
Watch the Body Brilliance Movie
 
Dedicated to our healthy, happy, and prosperous world through the full enlightenment of every human being.
 
Through Your Body
1103 Peveto St.
Houston, TX 77019
713-942-0923

Working Through the Body Mind Spirit Integration

By body brilliance, body mind spirit, Energy, Physical Intelligence, Spiritual Intelligence One Comment
Western civilization, as a whole, has not been kind to the human body. The past 2,400 years have seen the body worshipped, debauched, vilified, denied, ignored, and mechanized. Things started well enough for the body with the Greeks. They worshipped the body. The Greek word soma means “the living body in it’s wholeness” or mind, body and spirit in unity. The Olympic Games were the ideal test of physical strength and endurance and mental and spiritual purity. 
With the dawn of the Piscian Age the shift of power moved to Rome. The Romans took their worship of the body and sensual pleasures to the extreme. The orgies of their Wine God, Bacchus, were notorious for their debaucheries. These drunken festivals would be the fodder that the Christians would rail against. The Christian Church has taught for 1,700 years that the body is carnal; riddled with sexuality and given to crude pleasures and appetites. 
The final blow came when De Carte declared, “I think. Therefore, I am.”   The Age of Reason saw the body as inferior to the superior mind.   The body became the object which transported the brain. The advent of modern medicine has, at the very least, viewed the body as a magnificent machine.
 
The past century has seen a re-claiming of the human body. The cultural merging of western principles and Oriental attitudes and spiritual practices has generated a dramatic shift in the way we experience our bodies. Somatics is a body-centered approach of many therapies which began with Wilhelm Reich. 
Reich was a student of Freud’s and stated that the clinical treatment of neurosis must include changes in the physical body. Fritz Perls, a student of Reich’s, helped to found Gestalt therapy. Gestalt in German means an irreducible experience. It has an emphasis on the organism as a whole; the mind and emotions equally connected to the body. 
Ida Rolf developed Structural Integration, a series of deep tissue massage techniques which re-align the posture of the muscular/skeletal structure. 
Dr. Randolf Stone contributed Polarity therapy with it’s emphasis on restoring energy movement through the contracted tissues of the body. Somatic movement saw such pioneers as Moshe Feldenkrais and Thomas Hanna. They used movement to re-educate the muscular system to find the most efficient ways of moving and eliminating bodily tension. 
 
There are several Asian traditions which are integrated into Somatic practice. These are Hatha, Tantra and Pranayama Yoga, Seva, Vippasana meditation and Aikido. 
Hatha Yoga is the well known stretching postures. Tantra yoga is the cultivation of sexual energy for spiritual transformation. Pranayama yoga is the control and direction of breath. Seva is a Sanskrit word which translates to “selfless service”.
Vippasana, which means “insight,” is a body centered meditation technique taught by the Buddha. 
Aikido is a Japanese martial art which teaches harnessing universal love to heal conflict, create fluidity of the body, and the strengthening of ki, or personal energy. 
 
Love your way,
 
Alan Davidson, founder of
and author of Body Brilliance:
Mastering Your Five Vital
Intelligences (IQs)

 
Watch the Body Brilliance Movie

 
Dedicated to our healthy, happy, and prosperous world through the full enlightenment of every human being.