Monday, November 17, 2008

Walking on the Edge of Strength and Spirit

I liked this post from the Integral Strength pod over at Gaiam. Damon touches on some ideas that I believe transcend the realm of strength training into a more expansive idea of finding balance in our lives.

Damon poses some questions through his own experience that each of us can reflect on in our lives, especially in the realm of body. Do we train as a practice toward greater sense of self and being, or is the training itself the object, perhaps with some shadow elements compelling us to work out? I know I have my own shadow stuff that sometimes motivates my workouts.

And can we ask these same questions in other areas of our lives?

Walking on the edge of strength and spirit

Damon said Oct 27, 5:56 AM:

This is a reflection more than a beginning of a discussion thread, but would be interested on anyone else view on a similar subject.

The nature of any practice is to develop capacities beyond the limits set by our self - to transcend. Be it meditation, yoga, philosophical study, religious introspection, or as the subject here is a focus strength training. Any system of practice has the capacity to set us free from the normal waking consciousness and into different states or stages of development. These same systems of practice also have the capacity to limit our capacity of growth through attachment, routine, egoism, illusion, delusion, lack of mindfulness and of minimal spiritual intent.

This is where I have found myself with my own practice. No longer do I feel connected to strength training in a developmental capacity, rather I feel limited in pursuing lifting as a form of strength and body training without reflection. Its the same reason I needed to leave a yoga asana practice - the common link is me.

So I find myself thinking about the edge between practice as a focus on to itself and practice as a form beyond itself. Is it natural to fall in and out of attachment within these practices, and how does one recognise the signs before we feel we have drifted too far from the edge and into a maya of form over real substance. I don't want to withdraw this time, deny the nature of my true self and the relationship to a practice I know instinctively has a deep and profound capacity for deep introspection. So what do I do from here…..continue, change, withdraw (maybe all three).

When you walk the edge of strength and spirit maybe this is natural, a falling in and out of spirit. Maybe a consistency of a strength training practice is important to reveal this evolution, reflecting that spirit may not always be the focus, but a dedicated intense path that strength training is will break us down spiritually only to build us back up.

Here is a piece of Rob's response to this, which I think is spot on (be sure to go read the whole response and the rest of the thread). He gets to what I was trying to say above.

So you've got your conventional purposes to strength training, these are important and to be integrated into the larger activity of Transcendence Dancing with Resistance, but as you articulate so well, conventional purposes can entrap and ensnare your conditioning such that the vitality and emergent novelty of who you really are becomes the forgotten dream.

Integral practice and strength training must embrace the post-conventional purpose which is radically non-linear. So it throws purpose in the conventional understanding on it's head. There's no purpose outside of this direct immediacy.

To leave this out is to live your life without a heart. To leave out this most essential component is to fall into a training that seeks not to unfold and awaken your larger sphere of identity, instead your training has the purpose of keeping you in a slumber, shackling your body-mind to cave walls, shadows and the distorted life too afraid to face the radiance of their authentic calling.

So how do you know if you've fallen into habituation?

Ask yourself this one question: do you seek other than what's here?

If the answer is yes, then you're deluded and fundamentally stuck on at least some part of your conditioned history, if not huge sections of your conditioning.

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