“But the awakened and knowing say: ‘body am I entirely, and nothing else; and soul is only a word for something about the body.
Behind your thoughts and feeling, my brother, there stands a mighty ruler, an unknown sage – whose name is self.
In your body he dwells; He is your body.”
– Friedrich Nietzsche
You Are Your Body.
That’s something that most so-called “spiritually” inclined people don’t want to hear, and which they will mostly never reconcile themselves with, but the denial of this fundamental truth, and the repression of our body leads to big problems, which is why most of the “spiritual” people you run across are secretly hateful, jealous, petty, neurotic kooks.
Because you can’t control what you repress.
Just before his own self-awakening, the Buddha, who had been living as an ascetic and torturing his body finally ate food offered to him by a farm girl, and then almost immediately after became “enlightened”.
This shows that caring for the body is essential for personal development.
“The Earth Is My Witness”
Within the context of The Four Elements, whether from the Buddha, Plato, Miyamoto Musashi, etc. – the element of Earth symbolizes physicality and gross energy.
During his 4 watches of the night before he awakened, Siddhartha had resisted every temptation that the demon Mara could devise. The lord of desire had one final test: He demanded to know who would testify that Siddhartha was worthy of attaining ultimate wisdom. And his demon army rose up to support him.
Siddhartha said nothing. He reached down and touched the ground, and the earth shuddered. Mara’s demons fled.
As part of his Middle Path ( Majjhimāpaṭipadā ), The Buddha renounced practices that involved renunciation of the body and discovered the way back to full embodiment.
He developed a system of meditation ( Vipassana Bhavana ) which was grounded in:
Emotions, Thoughts And Even Consciousness Arise Out Of The Depths Of The Body
“This my body is material, made up from the four great elements, born of mother and father, fed on rice and gruel, impermanent, liable to be injured and abraded, broken and destroyed , and this is my consciousness which is bound to it and dependent on it.”
– The Buddha
They are felt in the body, as well.
By training our bodies, we also train our emotions and our consciousness, and the access we have to others and them to us.
Unfortunately, because negative and extreme emotions are felt through the body, these negative emotions tend to drive most people further away from their bodies – wanting to “transcend” their bodies…
Being FULLY Embodied
Siddhatta’s (the Buddha to be) previous training had involved disembodiment and a move away from experience as a human being.
His two main teachers, Arada Kalama and Udraka Ramaputra taught practices to transcend embodiment and enter into ethereal trances (which the Buddha later said were all mind-created, mind conditioned, impermanent and ultimately unsatisfactory).
In his later journey with his 5 ascetic partners, Siddhatta tried to disembody by annihilating his body through extreme ascetic practices.
In the end he realized he was going the wrong way, and took up The Middle Path.
He understood that consciousness arises out of the bodies experience of the phenomenalogical world around it, and that “transcendence” is always the ego’s game – desperately clinging to some notion of permanence or self hood. The same old game of forgetting, ignoring and repressing.
As I’m putting together the public training for The Four Elements: Life Alchemy, one central idea has become very clear for me.
Embodying An Idea
The materialistic, consumer culture that we all exist in and which has conditioned all of us leaves everyone feeling like personal development – whether martial arts, leadership, achieving goals, spirituality, etc. is a matter of gaining or accumulating more and more.
- More knowledge
- More technique
- More information.
When it’s really just the opposite.
Personal development in all 4 quadrants (physical, social, mental and post-personal) isn’t a phenomenological issue, it’s an ontological issue.
It’s an issue of your psycho-physical “beingness” not your “havingness” or “knowingness”.
It’s about eliminating everything except what matters most to you, and then stripping yourself down to your bare psycho-physical core, and committing yourself to 1 thing, and expressing yourself authentically – at all times.
What Makes Life Really Worth Living?
What makes happiness possible is when your life is embodying a purpose that’s larger than the things in your life.
All of the nonsense in your life is swept away when you commit yourself to a bigger purpose than your life.
Suddenly your neurosis and psychoses are gone.
It may be that you’re so stuck in your problems that you’re not able to commit yourself to a bigger purpose.
But for most of us, nothing more difficult, nothing more complex than to commit our lives and our entire beings to a purpose bigger than our lives is necessary to really shift the whole spectrum of the problems in our lives so that suddenly these things are not problems they’re just other things to deal with in life.
This is the true joy in life.
Being Used For A Purpose Recognized By Yourself Is Powerful
Being a force of nature rather than a feverish selfish little cloud of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy leads to misery.
Embodying an unshakeable, fixed purpose and committing yourself to that purpose – often at the expense of anything else in your life creates clarity, peace, and freedom.
That is happiness.
- It’s the space from which it comes.
- It’s the place to which it’s devoted.
- It is what gives it meaning and dignifies it.
You want to make a difference in the world?
The only thing that’s going to make your life any more meaningful now or ever is to step up.
It’s to raise your standards and discover what you’re capable of and feel that incredible power pushing through whatever’s holding you back and get to the other side of your self.
That’s what this game is all about.
When You Step Into A Purpose And Continue To Push Yourself To Go On- Something Happens For You
If you don’t develop the courage to do what you know you need to do and you spend a lot of time going around trying to get other people’s approval – what will happen is that you will lose your nerve.
Other people will convince you that what you believe in doesn’t have any value, and you’ll give up on your dreams.
How much time do you have left?
We don’t know.
Stop wasting valuable time.
If you want something you’re going to have to learn to become resourceful and powerful and creative and awakened.
The power of earth. The power of water. The power of fire. The power of air. These are a winners quality.
My belief is in the blood and flesh as being wiser than the intellect. We can go wrong in our minds. The body unconscious is where life bubbles up in us.
But the awakened and knowing say: body am I entirely, and nothing else; and soul is only a word for something about the body. Behind your thoughts and feelings, my brother, there stands a mighty ruler, an unknown sage – whose name is self. In your body he dwells; he is your body.
Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra
Don’t explain your philisophy. Embody it.
If you teach an individual first to be aware of the physical organism and then use it as it was meant to be used, you can often change his entire attitude toward life
Knowledge is only a rumour until it is in the muscle
New Guinea Proverb
There is nothing outside of yourself that can ever enable you to get better, stronger, richer, quicker, or smarter. Everything is within. Everything exists. Seek nothing outside of yourself
This my body is material, made up from the four great elements, born of mother and father, fed on rice and gruel, impermanent, liable to be injured and abraded, broken and destroyed, and this is my consciousness which is bound to it and dependent on it
In this very body with its sense-impressions and its thoughts and ideas, are the world, the origin of the world and likewise, the Way that leads to the ceasing thereof
To realize the principle within your own heart, do not just read, memorise or imitate, instead, study hard to absorb these things into your body