I want to live where soul meets body...

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    May 20, 2008 3:51 PM GMT
    I was just wondering who else in here views exercise as being more than just a physical practice? It's been a few days since i've seen anything metaphysical discussed in here lol.

    Personally, for me, I look at my workouts and exercise a couple of ways- yes, on the surface, i do it all to look my best, better myself, and enjoy the multitudinous benefits of good health. But even more importantly, I approach it all from mental and spiritual angles. I've spent a lot of time and energy studying the esotericism of the West, and am starting to look at and integrate the mysticism of the East, to give some background on my ideas.

    mentally, it allows me to live in the moment, as in yogic practice. concentration on what one's doing, feeling, experiencing- not thinking about the future or the past or of the plethoric distractions that pull us away from ourselves all day long, but simply listening to my body and using the repetition of my actions, the sensations they illicit, the reactions of my body to the stresses put upon it, the manipulation of energies within myself, in order to live wholly in the present, if only briefly. In this way, I can at least partially still my mind, or at least digest everything that's been whirling through my life lately. when i leave the gym, i feel centered and purged and calm with the energy i've raised and channeled.

    beyond even this meditative calm that I pursue in the gym, there're spiritual implications and benefits to be had. I see the evolution and bettering of my body as a practice in building and sculpting a temple worthy of the spirit within. 'that which is above is as that which is below, and that which is below is as that which is above, in the creation of the one thing,' says the emerald tablet- its an ancient and cross-cultural acknowledgement that the microcosm and macrocosm (self and universe, ego and divinity, multiplicity and unity) are reflections of each other, ad infinum; that just as a small part of a hologram contains the entire image within itself, so we, being 'created in the image of god,' are not only infinitesimal parts of the universal whole, but are manifestations of that whole in its entirety. the body is a manifestation or crudely magnificent vehicle of the ego or self, which is a lifeless and surreal reflection of the soul, which is in turn everything and nothing- Sat Chit Ananda. what you can access in the deeper parts of your being can be reflected or refracted outward, but equally so, what is done on the surface-most level of your being (if its done with an understanding of what you're doing) can be turned inward and sanctified; used as the tool it truly is. I have a lot more to say on this, but i think this should be enough to generate discussion for now lol.

    many become addicted to bettering one's body in order to assuage one's insecurities or to boost confidence or to worship the self- in effect fortifying the ego, and this is to the detriment of the soul underneath, which one is ignoring in favor of an inflated or deflated sense of self. some, alternatively, focus on the pursuit of the divine and let their bodies wither or bloat, as the case may be, having little respect for worldly things and matter. but i think the best thing of all is to marry the two, as its perhaps meant to be- a beautiful union of matter and spirit, connected together at the point of an ego that one recognizes for the illusion it truly is. health and well being should be reflected back and forth between the upper and lower; the inner and outer. I'm just curious what other takes people may have on this, based on varying spiritual backgrounds and beliefs, value systems, personal perspectives, etc.


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    May 20, 2008 6:12 PM GMT
    I'm sorry, my IQ run out half way through the fourth paragraph... can you repost this in a multiple choice format? icon_lol.gif
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    May 20, 2008 6:42 PM GMT
    Wow well that was very well thought out. But I totally agree with you. Yes I exercise because it does make me look better, but that is just an excellent bi-product. I really exercise for the peace of mind it gives me. If I don't go to Jujitsu, my mind is firing at a mile a minute ,and I talk like 4000 words a second. I am scatter brained and no one can understand me.

    However when I train my mind is slowed down and focused like an arrow. I can talk more fluently, my mind can stop and think before I speak. It feels like for once in my life I can slow down. My mind feels calm and my soul feels settled.

    I used to have really bad self esteem, and a horrible body image problem and went to the gym all the time because I hated my body, even though I was in great shape. It wasn't until I started to do Jujitsu that my mind fixed itself and for the first time in my life I loved who I was as a person. It changed my life. It healed my soul I guess.
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    May 20, 2008 6:47 PM GMT
    Well what I got out of his writing was that it wasn't talking more about right or wrong or morals, he was talking about a sense of self. And from what I got out of it, is that if you see yourself as good you are reflecting your soul which is also good, and you will be a good person...... I don't know I could have misunderstood it, so who knows
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    May 20, 2008 7:02 PM GMT
    I want to live where verbal diarrhea is less of a problem, where someone's brain fart is not the puddle of runny poop you can almost not help stepping in.
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    May 20, 2008 7:12 PM GMT
    czarodziej saidI was just wondering who else in here views exercise as ...


    OK, NOW URE STARTIN TO BORE ME

    I didnt want to be the first one to post here cuz I would have gotten HK, elb and the rest of the heavenly choir after me. ... icon_rolleyes.gif
  • asupas

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    May 20, 2008 7:15 PM GMT
    There is an LOLcat for every occasion!
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    May 20, 2008 7:15 PM GMT
    I dont think there is any self celebration in czarodziej's post. Sounds to me like he is just putting some thoughts on paper and opening it for discussion.

    "I was just wondering who else in here views exercise as being more than just a physical practice?"

    I for one tend to think way to much when I am at the gym. I am not experiencing it as a yogic practice or meditation of any form. I have a workout buddy; we spend a lot of the time between sets joking and catching up. Undeniably the serotonins are still being produced and I always reap some sort of benefit other than the physical. This post is making me wonder whether I should spend a few hours a week meditating.

    Trying to tie this into the metaphysical and the higher powers is way over my head. My ancestors believed that to be happy you must strive to develop natural potential, and that I believe with every cell, muscle or fat, of my body.
  • asupas

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    May 20, 2008 7:17 PM GMT
    So basically he is saying (in a very long winded way full of $5 words) "I work out because its feels good, inside and out". Well, I think we can all agree with that much.
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    May 20, 2008 7:18 PM GMT
    ....well I asked him to make it multiple choice, nobody listened icon_lol.gif
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    May 20, 2008 7:21 PM GMT
    I tried to listen, but my head was swimming and I felt like I was falling from someplace very high.
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    May 20, 2008 7:24 PM GMT
    asupas saidSo basically he is saying (in a very long winded way full of $5 words) "I work out because its feels good, inside and out". Well, I think we can all agree with that much.


    I took it a slightly different way, that he works out more than just his body at the same time, and do we do that as well? I actually do that sometimes. I'll either try to figure out a problem I couldn't earlier, or just relax and try to focus all on the movements and a slightly meditative focus on what I'm doing.
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    May 20, 2008 7:27 PM GMT
    The "does anyone fart in the tub/pool" post was bound to be a little more lighthearted... lets just move there, I'll bring the beans.
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    May 20, 2008 7:30 PM GMT
    Do you find the beans a means of perfecting the body for the spirit within or as a means of perfecting the spirit for the body without?

    Why is Monday not Tuesday?
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    May 20, 2008 7:30 PM GMT
    palikari saidThe "does anyone fart in the tub/pool" post was bound to be a little more lighthearted... lets just move there, I'll bring the beans.


    BRING IT ON!!!! icon_lol.gificon_twisted.gificon_twisted.gificon_lol.gif
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    May 20, 2008 7:34 PM GMT
    cat .....Oh I am sorry. What were you all saying?
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    May 20, 2008 7:37 PM GMT
    NNJfitnbi

    The point is that the good life is to have a beautiful body. Nothing else is "worthy" of what's within. How you look is how how are.


    It doesnt have to be in absolute terms. Everyone has a different natural potential including that of one's body. I think czarodziej is perhaps tieing in his happier existence with his more highly actualized physical potential.
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    May 20, 2008 7:38 PM GMT
    palikari saidI'm sorry, my IQ run out half way through the fourth paragraph... can you repost this in a multiple choice format? icon_lol.gif


    HAHA! I lol'ed...

    asupas saidSo basically he is saying (in a very long winded way full of $5 words) "I work out because its feels good, inside and out". Well, I think we can all agree with that much.


    Agreed.

    Plus, I do my best thinking when I workout.
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    May 20, 2008 7:40 PM GMT
    The ancient greeks used beans as a vessel to align the physical with the metaphysical and to make the spirit sit on the body within, without creating the microcosms and macrocosms responsible for farts in a tub.
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    May 20, 2008 7:58 PM GMT
    The place where the mind/spirit and the body begin and end isn't so certain, nor sure. Our bodies are such complex and magnificent "machines" that in a way, they should be honored (with a good deal of humor and lack of narcissism).

    Exercise helps to restore the equilibrium of life in a world where it is now normal to move but not move (driving a car); where it's normal to sit on one's ass and look at a monitor 8hrs a day; where "to go" and "take out" has become normal; where 60% of Americans are obese; where time is defined less by the limits of the natural world (the sun/moon) and by the (alarm) clock. Of course, there's something a bit neurotic about throwing weights around in a closed space, but best not to focus on that aspect too much! icon_smile.gif

    I've had some of the most important revelations while sweating out at the gym and for me, it helps to keep me balanced and inspired (by others who too respect themselves enough to practice wellness). 2 cents.
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    May 20, 2008 9:06 PM GMT
    caslon saidcat .....Oh I am sorry. What were you all saying?


    As much as I love me some LOL cats I have to be an anal retentive ass and ask why a puma would be dining on zebra and gazelle? Shouldn't it be put into geographic context and be something along the lines of mule deer and big horn sheep? This is of course making the assumption that this is supposed to represent a wild animal in its natural habitat and not an escapee from the North American Animals exhibit that found it's way to the African Safari exhibit..........just sayin'icon_lol.gif

    p.s. Sorry to contribute to the further hijacking of the thread.
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    May 20, 2008 11:38 PM GMT
    And by the way, what the hell is the "esotericism of the West"? Esotericism isn't a word anyway, and there is nothing "esoteric" about Western culture. If it applies to any culture, it might (MIGHT) apply to Eastern philosophy.
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    May 20, 2008 11:46 PM GMT
    To put the thread back on track...

    I believe that you have discovered for yourself some ancient principles. Ancient Greeks stressed physical, spiritual, and mental fitness in every day life. Plato and Aristotle claimed that through exercising each of these, one would be moving closer and closer to their true form.

    Eastern philosophies have also been bound with a tradition of physical training in combination with meditation and philosophy.

    You make a valid point that one cannot just exercise the body without exercising the mind, and vice-versa. I concur.
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    May 21, 2008 12:48 AM GMT
    "The point is that the good life is to have a beautiful body. Nothing else is "worthy" of what's within. How you look is how how are." "You are celebrating self-love, and a particularly elitist form. It seems to depend so much on what the body looks like. But ugly bodies can rescue people from burning buildings. And they can create art, which is something beautiful that is not the self."


    almost everyone, except most decidedly for NNJfitandbi and jprichva, had valid ideas and input- thanx guys. ok, Caslon didn't either though, just sayin' lol. but then he rarely does :p (cats can only say so much- not particularly known for their linguistic skills, poor things) thanx for the input though everyone- its good to hear that others find peace and mental or spiritual centering from a workout.

    NNJ, try re-reading it, and apply some mental effort this time, ok? cause you only read what you wanted to see, and your input only reflects your own neurosis and ignorance.

    that said, a lot of what i mentioned does draw from a lot of sources, and i was kind of feeling out who among us here may have similar interests, spiritual inclinations, and favorite reading material... i don't think, for those of you who had trouble with it all, that i could re-word any of it any more concisely... it's admittedly all very abstract and transcends logic a lil bit, and i struggle with some of these concepts too... but to give it another crack:

    many schools of mystical thought, both in western esotericism (the occult- theosophy, thaumaturgical beliefs and practices, medieval theology and theurgy, metaphysics, spiritual alchemy, Kabbalah, etc) and in eastern spiritual beliefs, its believed that reality radiates or emanates forth from the subtle and pure to the gross and material, concentrically; but everything is not only connected in this trickle-down chain of unfolding creation- its all made of the same stuff, invested with varying degrees of energy, from the absolute potential of pre-creation, through the pure fire of divinity, down to gross matter. Think of the metaphor of god creating from himself the archangels, who create the hierarchy of angels below them, who create the elemental energies, which condense into matter; or think of the pure energy of the big bang condensing to form light gasses, which over time fuse in stars to forge heavier elements, which comprise current material reality; its much like matter being able to exist as solid, liquid, gas, or plasma, depending on its energetic investment- though in this spiritual context, all exist at once. This can be scientifically echoed in the statement that all energy and matter are one and the same, and that it can't be created or destroyed, only made to change state; also by the quantum physical concept that at the level of the plank scale, in the quantum foam, reality is continually creating and destroying itself; though at varying scales of reality, varying phenomena and entirely different laws altogether hold sway. all of these realities co-exist simultaneously, superimposed. just giving you back ground info thus far on ideas concerning creation from the highest levels of divinity down to material reality. that much said:

    the personality (ego) is not who we are or what we are, its simply an intermediary phase of our being in that progression from divine to material- its what neurologically binds our souls to our bodies- a survival tactic created to evade death with a conscious fear of death; something we believe is worth preserving- nothing more. really, its a reflection of both body and soul, and is therefor an illusion- no more 'real' than what it reflects (ok, NNJ was right when he said the ego doesn't exist, i'll concede there). that's why many schools in the east suggest doing away with a personal ego altogether, as do later initiatory stages in western mystery cults and arcane fraternities, as its the source of our 'suffering'- belief, preoccupation, and value in something that doesn't even exist. the body being the outer-most, grossest concretization of the nothingness that essentially comprises us, and the soul being the state of our being closest to that etherial bliss in nothingness, one can view their relationship to each other as upper and lower, or inner and outer, though neither is particularly apt or accurate- merely symbols for understanding. that said, though they can be looked at as separate from each other, there is no difference- all is fundamentally One. therefor, while someone like NNJ who thinks only at a surface level of things may make the leap of 'logic' that a connection is being drawn betwixt having an attractive healthy body and living a good life or being a 'good person' (lol), the fact of the matter is that based on these various schools of thought (which you can research in your own time- message me for suggested readings), the body is a crude manifestation of the soul in a crude and muddied 'reality,' but is nonetheless connected directly to the highest states of being. what you do in the microcosm is reflected in more subtle states, and vice versa, because they're One. its what Jesus meant when he told St. Peter that what he decreed on earth would be so in heaven. its the foundation of all magickal practice too- that not just our bodies, but all of physical reality is a surface level, superficial representation of deeper archetypal concepts in the aether; that what is done below is reflected above, and vice versa.

    its at the core of buddhist meditational practices that involve perfect immersion in the present at all times, even or most especially with mundane tasks. doing dishes, gardening, scrubbing floors (or cars- wax on, wax off), can all be elevated to spiritual levels, as even the simplest, most mundane action is intimately connected to divinity. the western schools also say: consider every stimulus, every event, to be a deeply personal interaction of god with your self. an action is only mundane, only worthless, if we let it be so- but if we consciously connect what we're doing to an acknowledgement of our own personal divinity, it becomes a divine act. who here has ever found calm and almost meditational peace and insight while washing a car or weeding a garden or jogging? that's what i meant by my workouts being a divine act for me if i make them so- immersion in the present leaves the ego no place to weave its web- no fantasies of a non-existent future, no musings on an already extinct past- and so leaves one free to focus on the divinity from which we're formed and with which we're invested. exercising the body can be a deeply spiritual practice, as in yoga, or more deeply still, in tantric practice ;) all one has to do is concentrate on the present, on the sensations of the body, of the energies at play within, understanding that the body is in a sense a crystallization of everything and of the soul- and they should come to a deeper understanding of who they are, arriving at insights that don't visit normal thought processes.
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    May 21, 2008 12:53 AM GMT
    This is the most mind-numbing hogwash.