The Body As A Spiritual Path

That’s an interview from about a year and a half ago with Reggie Ray and Renate McNay on meditating with the body, consciousness and the spiritual path through the body.

It’s gold. Watch it. And pay attention to the sensations in your body as you do.

I grew up in a culture in which we took for granted the imposition of our thinking, the absolute primacy of a “God-given” morality over our bodies.

In other words, the body was mostly bad, something to be fought, something to be fundamentally DISTRUSTED. The body could and would lead us astray. The heart desperately wicked, inherently wrong. The genitals, especially the genitals, organs of sinful temptation, full of shame. Downright indecent!

The past few years of my life I’ve increasingly followed a path of embodiment, of keeping my awareness IN my body–First through noticing aches and pains in my body and tightness in the muscles around my eyes, straining to see more, to see something different…

In college my vision was -3.50 diopters at one point. Now I use -1.50 glasses when I’m driving. And it keeps getting clearer. I’m in much less of a rush now, too, to see more clearly than I do right now, most of the time. We can talk about that if you’d like.

The pain in my left knee… I started to see a traditional chiropractor for that and had some results. The x-rays showed results. I didn’t feel much different though.

Then I started to see a Network Spinal Analysis (NSA) chiropractor in Charlotte, NC. (There might be one in your city, so look it up!) That’s when I started to FEEL different.

I started feeling the sensations in my body, going more fully into them, and especially at first, I was terrified.

I thought, no, I KNEW!: “If I let myself feel this sadness, I’ll be lost in it forever. I’ll never come back.”

But I was tired and out of other options, so I let myself feel it.

And it sucked. Ugh, it sucked.

It was such deep, infinite sadness.

And then something magical happened.

After about 8-10 minutes, I stopped crying and I started to return to a more balanced emotional state, except, something was different now.

I felt lighter.

I felt freer.

My body… the sensations in my body were different. It was like there was more space. I could breathe more deeply.

Wow!

So I kept going back.

I’ve been seeing different NSA practitioners now for about 4 years (because I’ve moved cities a few times.)

I’ve released icebergs worth of frozen energy from my body, frozen trauma and tension.

Sometimes it comes off in chunks, just like chunks calving off an iceberg or glacier.

Sometimes it’s little pieces that come off. Sometimes I’m not sure if much is happening at all, but I keep going because it’s a practice and my body lets go when it’s ready.

Then, about a year and a half ago, I found Orgasmic Meditation.

Whoa!

Talk about a catalyst.

As long as I practice, that is.

Since finding OM and the OM community, I’ve learned so much about showing up as who I really am. I feel more. I know more. I am more aware of what I want, and I’m more trusting that things will all work out. I surrender more, to what life is asking of me.

The sexual energy is a powerful energy, the creative force.

We can try to repress it, to control it, to ignore it… but mostly then it will come out in funky or harmful ways.

The best way to discover what lies in the darkness is to shine a light into it, to explore it, to approach it perhaps with a healthy dose of caution, but for godsakes, at least to investigate.

That’s my path, anyway.

I want to be free. I want to be fully ALIVE. I want to FEEL fully ALIVE. I want to know what it is to be fully human and operate at the limits of my capacities.

That’s my spiritual path.

To find my edges and lean into them.

And all my edges show up in my body.

I meditate with my body every day now, whether it’s OM or some of the embodiment practices from Dharma Ocean. In fact, I look forward to it! What will I discover today? What will be different? What will I learn? What will I let go of?

So here are a couple questions for you:

What is your relationship to your body?

Do you want more freedom in your body, more peace, more joy and connection, more energy, more structural stability, more of that feeling when you just feel like you?

Well, you can have all that, and much more. And I can help you with some of that navigation. I can help you remember some of the things you already know, if you’d like.

Love,

Aaron

P.S. What are your dreams and what challenges are in the way of having them? Would you like a free powerful 1-1 coaching session? Drop me a line at aaron@reallifeconnectioncoach.com

Yesterday I Danced To The Theme Of Freedom

It was difficult.

I go to an ecstatic dance meetup regularly, as part of my self-development and community practices. There are many of these “ecstatic dance communities” all over the world, each with its own unique culture. These groups consist of the most lovely variety of people engaging in free-form dancing, alone and/or with each other during an hour or two of conversation-free, drug-free, good ol’ booty shaking.

I’ve been a regular attendee for over a year at various groups, and I absolutely love it. It is such a joy and consistently one of the highlights of my week. (If you aren’t already part of one, Google ecstatic dance in your city and check one out or start one!)

Often, the music sets feature diverse and beautiful tunes from all over the world. Usually, the music starts slowly and gradually picks up pace and intensity, building into a fun, chaotic crescendo, before gradually tapering back off into slowness and eventually stillness.

Sometimes the DJ, or the person in charge of the playlist announces a theme before we start grooving.

Yesterday’s theme was freedom.

And I feel so heavy about freedom.

I want freedom so badly, both inside and out.

A few months ago I was re-reading the US Declaration of Independence, pondering the ardor of those souls who dared separate from their oppressors, and I literally sobbed.

They were willing to risk everything, and, of course, they did. Lucky for many of us they did.

And not so lucky for many others, too, for example, the people whose land they stole and pillaged in the name of their God and their “righteous” cause.

I’m speaking of the indigenous Americans, of course, who are still routinely oppressed and pillaged today.

Freedom is such a loaded word, because, on the one hand, we all want to be free, but on the other hand, many people are willing to ENFORCE their version of freedom onto other people.

And a freedom which does not respect individual freedom and property rights is no true freedom.

If it’s only freedom for you but not for me: That’s not freedom.

Freedom always comes with responsibility. Without taking responsibility, there is no freedom. Without an individual taking self-responsibility, there is no individual freedom.

Part of that means dropping our entitlement ideas that anyone owes us anything.

Taking self-responsibility means accepting that no one owes you anthing.

And that’s another problem with popular ideas of “freedom.”

Freedom is usually terrifying, because it entails waking up, facing reality and taking self-responsibility. This applies in the internal and external worlds.

Freedom is terrifying in our own physical bodies, which is why we so often constrict them and hold tension in them in a desperate attempt to avoid Nature in her naked truth and raw intensity.

And it really does cost everything we have, or at least everything we think we have (our ego, our self-concept must die and be reborn for freedom to flourish).

Let’s first talk about freedom in the external world:

Real freedom, true freedom, a deep, radical, self-responsible freedom is one which lets go of ALL attempts to control others, to manipulate and deceive others, to take advantage of others, or to take rightful property from others. None of this is tolerated by true freedom. Otherwise we wouldn’t be free.

Freedom will not tolerate lies. Lies are the stuff of fear, of control, and ultimately, if perpetuated, of violence.

Albert Camus famously said, “The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.”

Real freedom is downright offensive to those who wish to control and to oppress and to maddeningly equalize.

There are many people that speak of freedom who want nothing more than to command you to obey.

But that’s not freedom now, is it?

There are many people with beautiful intentions, with souls that long for peace and for paradise, whose idea of freedom means your censorship, your oppression, your obedience to their ideals and their god.

But that’s not freedom either!

That’s oppression idealized and masquerading as freedom.

That’s Utopia’s empty promises of “do what I say” and “enact my committee’s plan” “don’t go too high or too low” and you will finally be free.

See, the concept of radical freedom can be really hard for those who want it only for themselves and their own select, chosen, inspired and enlightened group of people…

I advocate a deeper freedom, a freedom based on individual self-responsibility and a respect for sacred Nature, starting with our physical bodies and extending to the World.

A freedom which does not transgress the self-sovereignty of the individual. A freedom in which your consent is NOT optional!

(I’m speaking of adults here, there are, of course, some obvious responsibilities that parents have for their children, and I’m not addressing those separate issues here.)

I’m talking about a freedom which does not say “because you are peacefully excellent, you must pay me a tax, you must pay your ‘fair’ share, (and fair is whatever we deem it to be!)”.

This is based on the non-aggression principle (NAP), which essentially teaches that the initiation of violence or the threat of violence on an individual or their property is a violation of basic human rights. Violence is only permissible if used in self-defense.

There are many people who see the world only in terms of win-lose, which says, “If I win, then someone, has to lose.” This is a childish worldview.

Do these types of transactions happen? Obviously they do. But they are far from the norm, and they are unsustainable in a free world where free people will choose to work with those who do not repeatedly deceive them.

The more transparency and responsibility people have, the less often these win-lose transactions happen. And the world is clearly trending up in transparency and freedom, and therefore also in prosperity and in reduction of violence. Look at the transparency that is demanded of many companies these days–MUCH more than ever was in the past.

This will continue as long as we promote freedom and self-responsibility, and detest control and “power-over.”

Many people see the world mostly in terms of power-over: “In order for me to be more powerful, you must be less powerful.”

It’s an elementary worldview, with a distracted focus because, even though this is the case sometimes, it is not sustainable. A socioeconomic structure based on “power-over” others will not last.

The reason it won’t last is simple: The more people wake up and become aware, the less they will tolerate being controlled.

The only way to control people is to lie to them, and to keep them in resistance to fear, to manipulate them.

Control, the path of violence, is only maintained by deception. There is no other way to control free people. And as human beings, our birthright is self-sovereign, self-responsible freedom.

Freedom, on the other hand, the path of peace, is only maintained by self-responsibility, truth and transparency. There is no other way to keep it from those who would attempt to control us and make us do what they think is best for us whether we like it or not. (Think: taxes, forced equality, ideological oppression and forced conformity, censorship of free speech and of art).

In a horrifying, maddened quest for equality, and in a well-intentioned but violent attempt to end suffering, many people impugn free speech and privilege as grounds for oppression, while glorifying and exalting sickness and mediocrity, simultaneously downplaying the evils of censorship and oppression. The world really has gone mad.

And this is not what freedom looks like!

Freedom is not glorification of sickness, as we hear the youth of this country exclaim, “Sick!” as a slang stand-in for when they mean something is “great!”

I 100% respect their right to say that.

Censorship of speech and the criminalizing of any non-violent actions is one of the tackiest, most offensive, most ridiculous forms of attempting to control others. These tactics are employed by desperate, control oriented, immature people who are terrified of words and ideas and free people, and essentially conflate words and ideas with actions.

And, of course, words do have meanings, and my point here about the slang “sick!” is that it is essentially exalting sickness AS health: That’s a symptom that something has gone awry.

We’ve forgotten what is real freedom.

In an attempt to escape a “freedom” which persecutes those who are different (an ethnocentric freedom–“my culture gets freedom but not yours”), some of us have simply gone too far and elevated equality before individual freedom.

The astute Milton Friedman observed, “The society that puts equality before freedom will end up with neither. The society that puts freedom before equality will end up with a great measure of both.”

So do we stand for real freedom or not?! Do we value individual property rights or not?! Do we respect the consent of each other or not when it comes to taking from each other one’s life, limbs or their rightfully earned living?!

Or has our idea of external freedom been reduced to a politically correct, bastardized form of “consent” barely even masquerading as equality that says, “I won’t hurt your feelings if you don’t hurt mine.”

I’m talking about FREEDOM: self-ownership of our bodies, of what goes into them and what we do with them, and individual property rights, based on a nature-honoring paradigm which necessitates deep self-responsibility and transparency. THAT, is FREEDOM.

We’ve got to know what we stand for in this crazy place.

REAL freedom that includes the rights to our bodies and our spiritual development, because, of course, that is what this is ultimately all about.

A few words about Freedom and the Body:

Freedom is so often terrifying to most of us because we’ve got our bodies themselves on lock-down, tightly controlled by the incessant dictator voice in our heads.

Every place in our body that we are contracting with tension and resistance to the flow of nature is a place that we are attempting to control Nature, as opposed to honoring Nature. An attempt to control Nature, as Ayn Rand says, is an attempt “to assert the primacy of our consciousness over existence” instead of surrendering our consciousness, our self-concept (our ego) to the fierce and wonderful and terrific nature of reality and the REALITY OF NATURE itself.

Wherever we try to control our bodies, our internal worlds, with tightness and tension and resistance to fear, this shows up in the external world around us.

As above, so below. As within, so without.

It has been said that enlightenment is simply being totally relaxed.

And there are studies which have demonstrated that when there is no tension in any of the muscles of the body, it is physiologically impossible to feel fear.

So, of course, it is up to us, as self-responsible leaders to become free first.

That is what leadership is: going first. Real power, real leadership sees the world in terms of win-win, of self-responsibility and of excellence through peaceful, freely offered service–the only sustainable way to excellence and to being fully ALIVE.

Real freedom knows that unless you win, I don’t win.

I only win if you win, too. “Win-win.”

SO HOW DO WE CREATE THIS WORLD?!?

Sometimes I really just don’t know.

And sometimes I feel exhausted just thinking of it, like when I was dancing yesterday–exasperated because sometimes I just don’t fucking know.

And many times I feel hopeless when I think of all the people who want to control others and extract resources from others through FORCE; when I think of all the people who want to censor each other and command each other to obey instead of invite each other to enjoy.

How can we cultivate real, self-responsible freedom?

I do have one suggestion:

Meditate with your body. Feel more. Feel the tension, the spots of resistance, where you are attempting to control Nature, where you do not trust Nature, where you would rather believe the distortions, the lies that nature is not for you. And relax those parts. Over and over and over.

Start with a few minutes a day.

Recognize that fear is not the enemy. Your resistance to fear is the enemy. Fear is simply a strong sensation, an impulse which has been clamped down upon in your nervous system, creating chronic contraction and resistance, and if sustained, bodily sickness.

Fear does not exist when we embrace it, because it instantly transmutes itself into an energetic force which impels us into excited action.

Have patience with this process, because our bodies are often genuinely TERRIFIED of freedom. Freedom, real freedom includes self-responsibility and transparency, realization, and many of us are not ready to be free.

There are many parts of myself that I still keep constricted, controlled, on “lock-down.” Those parts of myself aren’t ready for freedom yet either. That’s why I meditate pretty much every day and work with healers and teachers and I thirst for knowledge and vitality. Because I want to be free. I want to be fully ALIVE.

In summary:

Becoming free is a process that takes DEVOTION.

Becoming free takes persistence, mentorship and training, tolerance for risk, a thirsty-as-fuck curiosity, a willingness to try new things, to read new things, to listen a little more closely, to speak a little more loudly, to be the truest version of yourself and, ultimately, to let “who you think you are” die.

Be patient with yourself because to die can be terrifying, and it is what real freedom asks of our self-concepts, our egos: “who we think we are.”

Freedom really does cost everything we have. Real freedom, which starts internally, in the body, asks of us a sacred ego-death which welcomes and transforms us from who we thought we were into whom we are meant to be. And then it asks us to keep doing that. Over and over and over. Then it spreads to the external world.

You will not become free by feeling like it might be nice.

You will neither attain nor keep freedom by always being nice to people and tolerating their attempts to control you.

You will not become free by making others obey your version of freedom.

You will not become free by accident.

Freedom, like self-responsibility, is a choice.

Choose freedom.

Love,

AZ

Imagine Your Body As A Business Organization, And YOU Are The CEO

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Everybody wants the gold. Everybody wants the resources to travel freely, to eat at the best restaurants, to soak up the sun on the beach without a care in the world.

Everybody wants it!

If you deny that you wouldn’t love to have tons of resources right at your fingertips, then you’re kidding yourself. The specific things that you want are likely different from the specific things that I want, but we all want abundant RESOURCES and RESOURCEFULNESS. And we all have dreams and desires, however varying those dreams and desires might be from person to person.

Sadly, one of the greatest hindrances we encounter in realizing our dreams is that we often don’t allow ourselves to fully feel the intensity of desire we have for them, pretending and convincing ourselves that if we don’t really want it, then maybe it won’t hurt as bad if we don’t get it. Low expectation, low disappointment, right?

We can deny our truest, deepest desires because we might reason: how badly would it hurt if we really allowed ourselves to feel the full intensity of those desires but never get them?

But who would turn down more resourcefulness, more abundance? Who in their right mind would turn down a real, actual no-strings-attached $100,000 check? No sane person would.

See, it’s helpful to understand that money is just energy once removed. Money is a physical representation (or often a digital representation) of how much we have helped other people.

Tai Lopez calls money “reciprocal altruism units” or RAUs. The basic philosophy here is that when we do something nice for someone, they give us money, as a physical certificate showing how much value we traded for those RAUs. It’s an idea also heavily popularized by Rabbi Daniel Lapin in his practical book Thou Shalt Prosper.

But money ain’t free, is it?

Well, the US government and the federal reserve seem to think so or at least act like it is, but for us, the people who don’t have the guns or the twisted sense of morality to forcibly take money from others, money ain’t free. (And yes, that’s another whole discussion.)

People get money by serving people.

(See a previous article I wrote here on Money & Happiness.)

The more and better we serve others, the more money we get in return.

So here’s a simple first step for acting more like a CEO in order to have more resources like a successful CEO (and not just monetary resources): Become the CEO of your body.

Your body is the instrument through which you can serve others. Your body is the organism that holds your energy, which is your capacity to move and act and LISTEN to other people. Your body is the constellation through which you interact with the world.

And your relationship with your body determines your relationship with others. You are limited in your connection with others by the limits of your connection with yourself. (Read that last sentence again.)

As Deepak Chopra says in The Book of Secrets, “The universe is in you.”

Now, imagine your body as a business organization.

Your body has hundreds of different parts, even trillions of parts at the cellular level.

And YOU are the CEO.

And your job is to take care of your organization. If you don’t take care of your organization, as the CEO, what’s going to happen to it? It’s going to fall apart! So in order for your organism to function optimally, you’ve got to make sure that each member is doing it’s job, that it has what it needs to do it’s job, and that each member is being heard properly and also held in balance and in check with proper accountability. Don’t let any one member take over the show. You’re the CEO.

Now, imagine a business organization where several important members really had some important messages to say to the rest of the company, but the CEO wouldn’t allow them to speak.

In this case, there would probably be some turmoil in the business, right?

Our emotions can often be like these muted members of the organization. If we don’t allow ourselves to listen to each part of ourselves, then our organization is not going to be cooperating. It will be more of an oligarchy or dictatorship than a coherent, successfully operating culture.

Which type of organization is going to last longer and be more effective? A dictatorship where the members of the body/business are subjected to whatever the “ruler” decides, or a more democratic organization where each member of the body gets a voice, gets to be heard, gives its message?

Now, again, this doesn’t mean we allow any one member to take over our organization.

Here’s one crucial piece of this which is easy to misunderstand: You are not your thinking mind.

YOU are something beyond your thinking mind.

Don’t let your mind be the autocrat of your organism. Because it will if you let it.

YOU are the awareness that inhabits your body and can listen to your thinking mind, if you so choose. You are the CEO who recognizes the importance of the thinking mind, but doesn’t allow it to run the show.

You, the aware CEO, can also listen to your heart.

And to your guts.

And to your fingertips, and hands, arms, shoulders, neck, eyes, ears, nose, feet, toes, legs, knees, hips, genitals, chest, nervous system, electromagnetic sensors, etc.

You’ve got a lot of parts in your organism.

And they’ve all got messages at different times. Don’t let any one part take over the show, especially not your thinking mind, which LOVES to take over the show and pretend it’s the CEO.

You–your awareness–that’s the part of you that is most YOU, and that’s the part you can think of as the CEO.

So with this understanding and metaphor, the next step is to cultivate more intimacy with all the parts of your organism/organization, so that you can be a more effective, resourceful CEO. You’ve got to get in there and balance things out.

Not in a despotic way, but in a compassionate, perhaps lovingly and fatherly way.

And you begin to do this better by listening better. You practice listening, because listening is a practice.

Listen to your organism, your organization, your constellation of beautiful parts. Hear the messages. Let the members of your body speak to you for as long as they need to.

 

Here’s a simple meditation for you to practice listening better, so that you can cultivate more awareness and therefore more resourcefulness, more abundance and more compassionate CEO-ness.

Sit or lie down comfortably, and begin to place your awareness on different members of your organism.

Feel your awareness in your stomach, in your guts. Let your awareness rest there, slowly beginning to notice what sensations are there in your guts.

And just notice.

If you’re paying attention, what you’ll probably notice is that you’ll start to have some thoughts.

Don’t beat yourself up about it, remember: you’re the compassionate CEO.

Just recognize that you’ve had a thought and that the thought isn’t you, and bring your awareness back down to your stomach.

And do this process over and over again. Your mind will give you thoughts, and you’ll notice this, and bring your awareness back to your stomach. And you do this over and over again. Awareness expansion, notice the thought, come back to awareness.

After doing this for a few minutes, bring your awareness to your heart.

Feel the sensations in your heart. “Listen” to them. Often when I’m doing this, really becoming aware of my heart, I feel some pain there, but also love.

Whatever is there, especially if it’s pain, be with that pain as much as you can, as if you’re being with a distraught child who’s hurt, holding the pain in the compassionate embrace of your awareness. Do your best to not get lost in it or indulge in it, or allow it to masquerade as you. Remember that YOU are something beyond the feeling. Ideally, you have the feeling, the feeling doesn’t have you.

And as your thoughts come in, simply notice this and bring your awareness back to your heart, your guts, your legs, your arms, the rest of your body that is likely crying out for some compassionate listening. Your body that wants so badly to be heard.

I do this for 20 minutes every day, rarely missing a day.

It’s a simple meditation, in the vein of what’s commonly known as Vipassana meditation, if you want to research it more on your own.

What you’re doing here is cultivating your awareness. You’re taking care of your body organism by compassionately listening to it. And as one of my life coaches often says, “ABC–Awareness Brings Choice.” The more choices you have, the more resources you have.

And as you consistently listen to your body, you might start to notice that your body–all parts of your organism–are on your side. Each part, when held in compassion and balance is an important member that has messages for you to take into account, so that you can operate more effectively and resourcefully.

“In an abundance of counsel, there is great wisdom.” -Hebrew Proverb

So listen to the wisdom of your body.

Each individual part might not be telling the whole story–by definition, it’s not telling the whole story. But by taking its counsel and listening to its message, you will be more aware of what is really going on in your “organization.”

You’ll have more resources.

And from this place of more resources, you’ll be better prepared to meet life’s challenges.

You’ll also likely have more energy! Because when your body is operating on all cylinders, like a healthy V-8 engine, it’s going to have more power, more capacity to move and get things done in the world.

I challenge you to start acting more like a compassionate CEO. After all, you are the owner of a massive, complex organismization. (That’s your new word for the day 😉 )

And the better you start listening to your whole organization, listening to the counsel of the different members, the more they’ll love you–they more they’ll love being a part of the organization, and the more they’ll give back to you. AND, the more you’ll be able to listen better to other people. So that you can hear between their words, and maybe even deeper than they can even hear themselves sometimes. And when we can hear others deeply, we can also serve them more powerfully. We can help them  more!

So stay with the practice.

Do you think you could try this for a week? 15-20 minutes a day listening deeply to your personal organismization?

If you want to give it a shot, I’d love to hear about your experience with it and what you notice–whatever you notice.

Let me know in the comments section below if you’re going to take on this challenge, or if you’ve already been practicing something similar, and what effect it has has on you.

And if you’d like me to coach you through some of these simple practices, head over to the page Life Coaching, and drop me a line!

In love and service,

Aaron