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My Other Pet Blog – ADistillationOfSelf.com

Written by Philip Walter on Dec 22 at 10:40 pm.

Project Distillation

A Distillation of … what?

Photo credit: Pål Berge

So, the holidays are coming up, and as most of you probably know, I’ve been hard at work finalizing the recipes, workout plans, stress management techniques, and thought experiments that will make up my book, The Brickhouse Bodymind Blueprint.  That has unfortunately meant fewer posts here at the blog.  Things will return to normal as soon as the book is ready, which with any luck will be the end of January.

Anyway, until then I have started up a new little project.  In addition to being a fun challenge in the web design department, it should give me an outlet for less structured features than those found here, and keep me from becoming a total recluse while I finalize the book.

It will also serve as my workout log.  Those of you who are interested in seeing what my regular physical training regimine actually looks like can do that at this website.  Currently I am trying to shed a final few percentge-points of bodyfat before we take pictures of the exercises that will be featured in my book.  You can read a detailed description of the workout cycle here.

The new website is called A Distillation of Self.  I wrote an introductory post that explains the whole vision in a nutshell.  Also, you can find the best yet description of my personal transformative practice there.  Please don’t hesitate to let me know what ya’ll think of the new site by commenting here or there, or sending me an e-mail at philip(at)brickhousebodymind.com.

Peace and thanks for reading!

Do This Now – The Anatomy of Happiness – Part III

Written by Philip Walter on Dec 2 at 7:55 pm.

a new home (to be seen)

photo courtesy of justneal

No long wait this time! It’s Part 3 of my ongoing series of conversations with my longtime friend and yoga teacher, Matt Krepps, about the nature of happiness. I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday! Hard to believe it’s December already, huh? I’m deep in the throes of editing my manuscript, still hoping for a January publication date for The Brickhouse Bodymind Blueprint. Even with all that, we managed to get Part 3 together. We’re really driving toward the culmination now. This part addresses the Mechanisms of Personal Perception and Identification.

How exactly do we become aware of external events? How do we make decisions? Is what we perceive to be the present really in the present moment? Given everything that is physically required to do something as simple as move your finger, do you really purport to have control over your actions? Furthermore, do you really want your happiness to depend on your ability to make all those things happen in just the right way and at just the right time?

Here’s a point-by-point synopsis:

  • Intro and recap of Part 2
  • The experiments of Benjamin Libet
  • Happiness as a product of personal volition
  • A stuck perspective = A living death
  • Job’s Body and the Sense of Effort
  • Biotensegrity
  • Were you there when you were seven? Are you here now?

Here’s a link to the pdf – A Course in Consciousness – that we mention several times in this conversation. Here’s the audio file download link, and of course you can use the player below. It runs about 59 minutes.

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This conversation really took some twists and turns, but like Matt said, the purpose of this is to be like a torpedo to the ego. So much of human happiness and consequently the lack of said happiness is tied to personal identification. The ego’s job is to own things and identify with things. That’s how we relate to the world around us. But since all things eventually pass away, the ego sets us up for disappointment. Only when we begin to shift our identification toward that which does not pass away can we hope to find true happiness. Only then do we become fearless, unshakeable, and unbreakable. Only then do we flow as we were always meant to flow.

As Matt points out here in Part 3, this is ultimately a religious discussion, since God – The Great I Am – is “that which does not pass away.” In the final installment, we want to bring together what we have learned in Parts 1-3, and have this religious discussion; but we need your help. Please comment below or e-mail me at philip(at)brickhousebodymind(dot)com if you have any questions, thoughts, etc.

Is there anything else in particular you would like us to address? Are you having trouble digesting the conversations? Do you think we’re crazy – are we wasting our time?

Please let me know.

What is the nature of your religious faith? How do the things we’ve discussed here jive with that faith? How does your faith play into your happiness? How does it help you through difficult times? Does your happiness depend on your ability to make certain things happen in this life?

Until next time, Sit down, Shut up, and Ask yourself what’s True.

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My Mantra for Completely Balanced Personal Development

Written by Philip Walter on Sep 22 at 8:12 pm.

Photo courtesy of *Paysimaginaire*

Here is my mantra for personal development – Let your intuition guide you through the various universal stages of development that progress from the simpler to the more complex based upon conditions of individual circumstances. I know … I know … It’s way too long to be a mantra, but stick with me here and you won’t be disappointed.

This statement reflects the findings of many developmental psychologists. It reflects the integral theory of Ken Wilber and others. It is also a reflection of the first five of the 10 principles or rules of Scott Sonnon’s Intu-Flow system of pain-free movement. That so many have come to this illumination in such a variety of fields gives testament to its truth.

In the interest of gaining a better understanding, let’s break it down to its constituent parts.

  1. Let your intuition guide youEach of our bodies knows what it needs to be healthy; indeed, only the sickest of us mentally does not know the voice of our conscience; and nary can a few of us deny the existence of some Mysterious Other watching our thoughts and feelings as we pace around this anxious Earth. Learn to listen to and honor your intuition. Trust your gut. We all know the folly of second-guessing ourselves. This is the genetic residue of generations of intuition guiding us properly into our uncertain futures.
  2. Through the various universal stages of developmentIt is proven, physically, psychologically, and spiritually, that development happens in stages or waves, and that no one skips a stage along the way. Think about it. You must learn to support your own head as a baby before you can crawl, before you can walk, before you can run. You must learn the difference between your own body and those around you before you can conceptualize other things, before you can associate words with them, before you can make sentences of those words.
  3. That progress from the simpler to the more complexThe stages discussed previously are specific and incremental. They deal with the simplest skills first before advancing to the more complex. This is evident in any training, be it athletic, academic, or mystical.
  4. Based upon conditions of individual circumstancesThis is the nurture part of the “nature v. nurture” equation. And we all know it’s not really “nature v. nurture” but “nature + nurture,” so while nature represents intuition, nurture represents individual circumstances. We each have our own battles to fight, our own advantages and disadvantages to live with. These will help determine how our development progresses. This is also the part that reminds us not to impose some arbitrary standard on our practice that may be beyond our bodymind’s capacity.

So let’s put it together one more time – Let your intuition guide you through the various universal stages of development from the simpler to the more complex based upon conditions of individual circumstances.

Make sense? It might be helpful now to look at a few variations on these universal stages of development.

Read the rest of this entry »

BrickhouseBodymind Blueprint 002 – Biotensegrity and Musculoskeletal Traction in Hatha Yoga Posture Practice

Written by Philip Walter on Aug 3 at 1:27 pm.

Brickhouse Bodymind Blueprint 001 - Approaching Alignment from the Inside Out

Designed by philip.

Well, it has been a while since the first blueprint came out, but as promised this is a series of documents, so here’s the second one. It’s called “Biotensegrity and Musculoskeletal Traction in Hatha Yoga Posture Practice.” It represents an amalgam of ideas I’ve been mulling over for a while now, but only really came to fruition after reading Scott Sonnon’s blog post, Biotensegrity = Circular Strength Training. As is my modus operandi, I began digging through the search engines to find out as much as I could about the subject, and what I found validated much of what I already felt to be true of the value of hatha yoga posture practice.

Biotensegrity is a subject that has recently come of age, which observes the principles of tensegrity structures at work in living, biological systems. This dynamic dictates that certain conditions be present for living systems such as the human body to function efficiently. In this blueprint, I discuss the principles of tensegrity structures, how those principles apply to the human body, and then how the practice of hatha yoga asanas can help bring equilibrium to such a system.

This blueprint will, like the first one, be freely available to anyone who drops by. I encourage folks who enjoy these essays to subscribe to my e-mail feed, or via rss. This insures two things – 1) that you’ll be among the first to know when the next blueprint comes out, and 2) once these documents become available to subscribers only, you’ll already be on board.

Get it here – BrickhouseBodymind Blueprint 002 – Biotensegrity and Musculoskeletal Traction in Hatha Yoga Posture Practice.

BrickhouseBodymind TV Episode 5 – The Software of Hatha Yoga

Written by Philip Walter on Jul 11 at 6:12 pm.

prasara flow, vinyasa, and asana - yoga practice at the lake

Photo courtesy of
Becca Davis

This is the first lecture-based installment of BrickhouseBodymind TV. The idea came out of a brief discussion on the RMAX Forums about the differences between vinyasa and prasara flow. Do they differ? If so, how do they differ, and how can they be integrated into a single practice?

The first pitfall is to think of prasara yoga as a type or brand of yoga. It is not. It is simply one of the software programs that comes with the Hatha Yoga 2008 package. I am grateful to Scott Sonnon for re-introducing this piece of the puzzle. The other two pieces of software are vinyasa and asana. To find out how they work together to integrate the hardware of the human body – breath, structure and movement – check out the video below.

One final note – I’m trying out a new video player to see if I can deliver a better quality video than YouTube. If this copy doesn’t work for you, you can view the crappy YouTube version here.

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