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Do This Now – The Anatomy of Happiness – Part II

Written by Philip Walter on Nov 23 at 9:47 am.

Do This Now - The Anatomy of Happiness - an audio series from brickhousebodymind.com

You, me, or perhaps your mother, from the perspective of a bubble chamber.

At long last, here’s Part 2 of my ongoing series of conversations with my longtime friend and yoga teacher, Matt Krepps, about the nature of happiness. This part is called, “Macro vs. Micro: The Lessons of Modern Physics.” Below is a point-by-point outline of our discussion:

  • Overview of the perspectives of modern and classical physics
  • A thought experiment – Schrodinger’s Cat
  • J.J. Abrams’ Mystery Box and the creative collapse of the wavefunction
  • Another thought experiment – The Levitating Camera
  • The Yamas as a description of Awareness (your True Nature)

I actually got my “production guy” shit together on this one, so the sound quality is far superior to Part I. I must warn you, however, we come across a bit schizophrenic at times. Sometimes we speak as the True Self, other times as the small self. Sometimes we address the True Self in you, other times we address your small self. Either way, there’s a lot of great info packed in here. I hope you enjoy listening, and as always, please ask any questions you might have below.

Oh, and I’ve started a newsletter. If you’re interested in receiving some great, exclusive information and video content unavailable to the general public, please fill out the short form below to subscribe. The plan is to do one every two or three weeks.

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Click here to download the audio file to your computer, or use the player below. Part II runs about an hour in length, so get comfy. As always, your comments are encouraged. And if you like what you hear, don’t forget to subscribe to the blog either by rss or e-mail, so you won’t miss the next installment of this informative audio series.

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PS – Here’s your Moment of Zen from this installment: Matt blowing his own mind with the following words of profundity, and my rudely moving on without acknowledging them to get to my thought experiment … that’s why he’s the teacher, and I am but the padouin.

“I am not inside this body looking out. This body is inside me. I am not in the world. The world in inside Me. Nothing has ever existed apart from the Awareness that creates matt. The I Am. The basic Thing that cannot not be … The Being [as a verb] that knows Itself, that wants to be.”

How Big is Your Mystery Box?

Written by Philip Walter on Nov 7 at 6:12 pm.

J.J. Abrams, the mystery box, and the secret to personal development

Photo borrowed from the ether

I was recently turned on to J.J. Abrams’ talk at TED.com about the appeal of mystery. He is of course the creative genius behind such enormously popular projects as Alias, Lost and the movie, Cloverfield. If you have 18 minutes to spare, you’ll thank yourself for following this link and checking it out.

My favorite moment is when Abrams busts out the Mystery Box, an intriguing little item from his childhood that has somehow remained unopened to this day, and declares, “Mystery is the catalyst for imagination.” His basic premise is that the unopened box, the Mystery Box, is a symbol for human potential, and that the result of potentiality is spontaneous, creative expression. He relates this in a very entertaining way to his work in TV and film, and I find that it relates also to my work in integral fitness coaching and flow recovery.

I sometimes refer to this work as flow un-covery, because what we do is not so much finding something outside ourselves as it is uncovering the Truth within ourselves. One of my mentors, the original flow coach, Scott Sonnon, remarks in his book, Prasara Yoga: Flow Beyond Thought, that flow is our natural state, our Essential Nature. It is what remains once we “burn away the slag that is our fears.” (p. 59)

So where do these fears come from? And what do they accomplish?

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Do This Now – The Anatomy of Happiness – Part I

Written by Philip Walter on Sep 29 at 5:15 pm.

Do This Now - The Anatomy of Happines - an audio series from brickhousebodymind.com

Photo borrowed from The Doc Whisperer

Editor’s Note – The audio quality on this recording leaves a bit to be desired. We recorded it with a simple voice recorder, and as a consequence the mp3 compression is a bit distracting. It’s not that bad if you listen through external PC speakers or something similar, but for those listening through earbuds or headphones, I apologize. Being a production guy, I should have planned ahead a bit more, but rest assured that future installments will sound better.

I mentioned a while back there was some exciting new content coming toward the end of summer. Well, I am proud to present a new series of audio recordings called Do This Now. At the bottom of this post is the first installment in a series of conversations between my longtime friend and yoga teacher Matt Krepps and I about the nature of happiness. In my experience contentment, happiness, and equanimity are all synonymous with the experience of enlightenment. When we talk about enlightenment, however, the conversation tends to get bogged down in concepts like nonduality, the True Self, and Maya, none of which has any real context in Western society. This usually leads to confusion and frustration, ultimately turning people off to the idea of enlightenment altogether.

Still, I believe some understanding or felt-connection with these concepts is necessary for true happiness to be embodied. In my continuing effort to bring a new vocabulary to enlightenment and to find correlations to Eastern concepts within Western constructs, I have initiated this series of dialogues with my friend and teacher.

What can we learn about happiness and the human predicament from the Biblical story of Adam and Eve, their temptation and eventual ejection from the Garden of Eden? Are there modern teachings we are already familiar with in the Western world that echo more ancient teachings from the East? Can we hope to transcend the endless coulda-shoulda-woulda game without giving up the passionate pursuit of work, family, and fun we love so much in this life?

For the answers to these questions and a host of others, hit play below or click here to download to your computer. Part I runs about an hour in length, so get comfy. As always, your comments are encouraged. And if you like what you hear, don’t forget to subscribe to the blog either by rss or e-mail, so you won’t miss the next installment of this informative audio series.

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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.

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Happiness in the Here and Now – 10 Principles that Turn Every Practice into Yoga Practice

Written by Philip Walter on Jul 25 at 2:35 pm.

Editor’s Note – The translations referenced in this post are from Godfrey Devereux. I feel his translation is more practical than some of the others out there. If these differ from your previous exposure, please take them for what they are – interpretations.

photo credit: bitshaker

Alright, first things first – yoga is not all mirrored rooms packed with sweaty Gumbies stretching and oming. In truth everything you do can be yoga practice … if you approach it with the right intentions. Yoga is all about getting to the point, cutting through the fluff, and seeing things for what they are. At the root of any yoga practice is that inalienable human right to pursue happiness – happiness in the form a life lived free from the blame and guilt that arise from the pesky human ego.

Think about it. Most of our lives are spent running ourselves ragged trying desperately to calm our neurotic egos, satisfy the often unrealistic expectations of others, and convince ourselves we have things under control. This business of always trying to stay one step ahead of the curve, separates us tragically from the absolutely stunning beauty of the moment.

These ego games we use to define what’s mine and what’s yours are useful in many ways, but they fall short of providing us true joy and lasting happiness. We know there is something else, something beyond the roles we’ve learned to play in our everyday lives. Sites like this one, integralnaked.org, zenhabits.net, and many others are a testament to this realization. It is this pursuit of genuine happiness that underlies all authentic yoga practice. It is nothing more than a great cosmic sigh of relief, which erupts naturally as we embrace and explore that Something Else.

So how exactly do we turn every practice into this graceful sigh of relief? Well, I believe we can learn a bit here from the father of yoga himself, Patanjali. His Yogasutras lay out an eight-limbed path (Ashtanga Yoga) to what we might call enlightenment, and enlightenment’s really just a fancy word for peace – everlasting, joyous, ecstatic peace. This peace can only be found through the cultivation of proper perspective. One could also say enlightenment itself is nothing more than proper perspective.

Patanjali’s yoga is framed and informed by the first two limbs, called yama and niyama. These are basically attitudes or orientations that naturally set the stage for yoga practice. They are each comprised of 5 principles. These 10 principles together lay the foundation upon which yoga builds its house. Without them, all we have is some exotic stretching, odd chanting, and weird breathing techniques. I assure you, if you take these principles to heart and begin to infuse them with your daily activities, you will soon start to see the yoga coming out in everything you do.

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