Rob McNamara is one of the leaders in the integral embodiment community (along with Shawn Phillips) and has been instrumental in designing the body component of the Integral Life Practice system. His first book is Strength to Awaken: An Integral Guide to Strength Training, Performance and Spiritual Practice for Men and Women (2012). This piece comes from Integral Life's Integral Post series.
To start off, here is some background on Rob:
Here is the beginning of the article - enjoy!
Rob McNamara is an Author, Performance Coach, Psychotherapist and Professor from Boulder Colorado serving clients throughout North America and Europe. Rob’s book, Strength to Awaken: An Integral Guide to Strength Training, Performance and Spiritual Practice for Men and Women (2012) sets forth to reshape integral embodiment and the evolution of integral consciousness. He is a professor of Integral, Transpersonal and Developmental Psychology at Naropa University and has has worked with Ken Wilber, the Integral Institute and contributed to Integral Life for over a decade serving as a Core Faculty for the Integral Life Practice and Integral Spiritual Experience seminar series.
Going Beyond Misunderstood EmbodimentJuly 23rd, 2012Recently I spent an afternoon with Ken Wilber down in Denver to discuss the important issue of embodiment. Ken and I first met over a decade ago and our early connections circled around the rich and often misunderstood discipline of strength training. You could say embodiment is, and has been, a central concern for both of us. As we settled into conversation at his loft, we kicked around some of the major issues: why embodiment is essential for all of us and how it is critical for many to grow into what I am calling mature integral consciousness. Here are a few dimensions of our conversation that I would love to share with you.
The Two Big Misunderstandings
When I talk about embodiment, most of the time people immediately start to think about and look at their body. While this is most certainly part of the picture, it is not all of it. Embodiment is not just a message that you need to give your physical body more attention, care and consideration. Often when I get into conversations about embodiment, someone starts talking to me about how they have been meaning to eat better, get to the gym more and so on. Yes, this is part of it, but quite honestly—at least from my perspective—this is tertiary. Embodiment is not and cannot be reduced to taking care of your body. This is our first big misunderstanding.
The second big misunderstanding is the presumption that embodiment is pointing to some anti-intellectual feeling consciousness residing in your body. This is the generic and often overplayed question, “how do you feel about that?” The implicit message, stop thinking and start feeling. This is often not necessarily an invitation to become more embodied, but instead more psychologically divided between two modes of functioning: thinking and feeling. Embodiment is not anti-thinking or anti-intellectual motion. So, if this blog is not about taking better care of your body or a message telling you to get out of your head, Where exactly are we going?
Embodiment is the structure and form of who you are. Embodiment is literally you in form. The structure of your thoughts are just as much a part of your embodiment as the form of your skeleton. The anatomy of your emotional life right now in this moment, the pattern of breath that is breathing you, the shape of your attention in this immediacy and the organization of your perspective as you make meaning about this sentence are all part of your embodiment—just as is your muscle mass and heart rate. Embodiment is the structure and form of you ... all of you.
The Topography of your Embodiment
Embodiment has at least three central processes. Lose one and your embodiment erodes, causing you to become less in the immediacy of your life. The three processes are embrace, inhabitation and movement.
Go read the rest of the article at Integral Life.