Resources: Visionaries

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 Some of my favorite visionaries:

Don Beck: founder of  “Spiral Dynamics Integral (SDi), the remarkable body of work attracting a growing constellation of thousands of people around the world. Spiral Dynamics Integral, or SDi for short, concerns itself with the deep complexity codes that shape our many worlds.” If you any interest in facilitating large scale social change and evolution, or just trying to make sense of the present moment as it unfolds across the planet, Don isn the man to study with. This page offers a brief interactive explanation of the spiral.

 

Itzhak Bentov: Scientist, meditator, inventor, cosmic traveller. I discovered his first book, Stalking the Wild Pendulum just after it first came out in 1978 and it is still today a major source of wisdom and inquiry for me. His second book, A Cosmic Book, published after his untimely (for us) death in a plane crash, allowed Bentov to expand consciousness way out into the cosmos. There are a series of Youtube videos, ‘From Atoms to Cosmos’ of Itzhak being interviewed about his model of reality, kundalini and the evolution of the nervous system. He was way ahead of his time.

Thomas Berry: Geologian, cultural historian, Catholic priest, pioneering writer on spiritual ecology, passionate and articulate spokesman for all the living species of the planet. I was lucky to spend many hours with Thomas over the years, in California, in Cambridge, and greatly cherish the week co-teaching with Thomas and Bea Briggs at the Feathered Pipe Ranch in Montana back in 1989. Thomas was Brian Swimme’s mentor and it was through Brian that I met Thomas as was introduced to his amazing vision.

 

 

Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen: Bonnie’s combination of sensitivity, compassion and articulateness makes her a teacher extraordinaire. Founder of Body Mind Centering, visionary in the field of somatics, movement therapy, developmental movement, and more, Bonnie’s penetrating curiosity and breath of enquiry has provided me with more clues on the cosmic treasure hunt that is my life than any other of my teachers. I am currently exploring my embryological origins with insights from a recent workshop with her.

 

 

Emilie Conrad: was a dear friend and absolutely unique and charismatic individual. Emilie has had a huge effect on my practice. She introduced me to somatic inquiry as a continuum of sound, vibration, movement, pulsation and intelligence, with no boundaries, no borders. She is truly a genius of the cells and organs. She gave me the key to unlocking Iyengar’s brilliance as my approach to yoga before I met her was far more rigid than I ever could have imagined. Emilie pushed the edge of awareness deeper and deeper into the mystery of organic wisdom right up to her untimely death in the spring of 2014.

Mae-Wan Ho: Brilliant quantum biologist, biophysicist and geneticist, author of The Rainbow and the Worm, and her new released sequel, Living Rainbow H20, Dr. Ho is the co-founder of the Institute for Science in Society, a group of scientists engaged in educating the public about science in a way that directly confronts the ways governments and industry lie about and misuse technology and its effects upon the environment. Her vision embraces science and spirituality as a single path of awakening to the magnificence of creation.

B.K.S. Iyengar: Revolutionized the practice of yoga. Iyengar integrates the artistic grace of a world class dancer, the athleticism of an Olympic athlete, the penetrating intellect of a nobel prize winning scientist and the dedication of a healer. One of the giants of out time. His imprint on my life, my nervous system and practice is immeasurable.

 

Dan Siegel: I continue to find his brilliance stunning. I got a taste of neuroscience in 1970 but Dan has blown the doors off my brain with his insights and articulation of the nature of relationships, integration in the nervous system and the evolution of consciousness. His work is featured in the neuroscience section. He is the author of The Developing Mind, The Mindful Brain, Mindsight, The Mindful Therapist and more. In person he is even better than in his writing. I am a Dan groupie.

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Recent Posts

Micro-Cosmic Orbit: Pt 2

Exploring and Embodying Three Dimensions

In the previous post we explored the micro-cosmic orbit as a means to refine our focal attention (samadhi) through bringing our attention to specific points along the orbit and linking these points into lines, arcs and circles. As we work more deeply this way, we may discover that we can find these points at three levels. The first is out beyond the confines of the skin, in an ‘orbit’ in the energy field around the body. The second is directly on the skin, where an acupuncturist or shiatsu practitioner would apply needles or pressure. The third is in the interior of the body along the planes of fascia interwoven through the organs, blood vessels and nerves. When we can feel all three of these levels simultaneously, we are inhabiting our spherical energy field and can begin to fully realize the possibilities of having three dimensional/spatial sensitivity, perception and consciousness.

images-5The girdle vessel (Dai Mai,) the fourth vessel we use, is a latitude line and is essential in finding our three dimensional perceptual field. This yang vessel pairs with the yin ‘thrusting vessel, the vertical center axis, creating horizontal stability, and allowing us to rotate/twist. Rotation inherently builds the third dimension of depth ( A circle has length and width. To create a sphere you add depth. ) and is the gateway to cosmic awareness as well as a more vibrant embodied presence.

Rotation drives the whole manifest universe. In our solar system, the planets spiral around milky_waythe sun. In our Milky Way galaxy, the stars, including our sun, spiral around a center (probably a giant black hole! If you can find Sagittarius in the night sky, and you will probably have to wait until next summer, look through and imagine 26,000 light years off in the distance.) The earth rotates on its own axis creating weather patterns as well as a sense of day and night.

The spinning top (one of the oldest toys known to humans, found in archeological sites all over the world) demonstrates the cosmic principle in physics we are embodying. The faster it rotates, the more stable the vertical line. When the top slows down it starts to wobble and when it stops spinning, it falls over. To keep the rotation, you need to keep feeding it with energy. The bicycle uses this same principle, flipped 90 degrees. Another aspect we explore is the radius of the horizontal circle. Rotation pushes from the center outward (yang) in what is called centrifugal force. As this is counterbalanced by theGM2434B-1 yin centripetal (center seeking) force, we can change the volume of the energy field by playing with this ‘expanding – condensing’, yang – yin relationship.

In this top, the widest circle with the most outward thrust, the purple one, is below the center of the vertical axis. Lowering the center of gravity adds even more stability, which is why we emphasize the lower dantien in our breathing, movement and meditation practice. When we discover how to work with this principle in the energy field, our twisting poses can actually help expand the body. If we work muscularly, you will feel constricting in twisting poses.

SBK_1711254-24Traditionally the ‘dai mai’ girdle vessel surrounds the body at the level of the pelvis in the lower dantien. but we can move our attention to awaken other ‘latitudes’ of the body. To begin in the feet, stand with the right foot forward, the left foot back, as if you are about to move into a standing twist (without the forward bend), but haven’t yet begun. Before you move any further, imagine a spiraling coil of energy beginning below the floor (the Antarctic Circle) and traveling up the center. Notice how this mimics the girdle vessel. Now imagine the coils widening as they rise up from the base ( moving toward the equator), as the yang energy expands outward. The girdle vessel is very yang so this is quite natural. Feel the energetic volume expanding and condensing with the breath, but slowly expanding in overall volume

To awaken the front body-yin energy field, we can take the hoop forward to fully engage the arms and shoulders. Now imagine the hoops extends through the back body, receiving the rising spiral and expanding as the action of twisting. SBK_1711254-2SBK_1711254-9Most students eventually leave half of the body behind and end up contracting rather than expanding, especially along the spine column. Imagine the center of the spinal canal opening outward in an expanding circle/spiral, melting the tissue, feeling spaciousness, transcending the limitations of structure.SBK_1711254-4 (My front foot turns out much more than average to release the inner groin. Don’t feel you have to imitate this, but find out for yourself where openness and balance meet.) The hoop is moved to the front to expand the yin/organ/front body qi field and expand the ‘wings’ of the body, but also feel the back body softening and opening. This feeling can be evoked in sitting, lying and inverted twists as well. If you do not have a hula hoop handy, you can also use a thera-ball to find the volume.SBK_1711254-8

 

Another key component awakened here is the Pericardium 8 point, PC-8 (or P-8) in the center of the palms. Analagous to the K-1 points on the feet, P-8 is a gateway between the inner and outer qi fields. The SBK_1711254-11Pericardium, the fascial connective tissue membrane surrounding the heart, arises embryologically from the same cells and tissues that create the diaphragm and liver. The ‘heart protector’ literally does this, on many levels. As someone with a well-armored heart, I am finding that opening and nurturing the heart protector so that is does its job with over doing it is awakening a level of sweet vulnerability that is both precious and scary.

SBK_1711254-12In acupuncture, the pericardium meridian is part of the JueYin channel and connects all the way through the femoral canal to the legs. For those of you who have been practicing ‘climbing the wall’ for the last few years, you can actually trace the whole fascial continuity of the Jue Yin. (Use imagination to fill in the blanks.) Rise up from K-1 (not the heels, even though they do rise on their own) (DFL for those of you who know Tom Myers’ ‘Anatomy Trains’ system) to P-8, passing through liver, diaphragm and pericardium.

You can also track the qi from P-8 back into the body horizontally, again using the wall.SBK_1711254-14 Using the tip of the  middle finger of your other hand (PC-9) to feel the connections, trace the qi from the the wall and P-8 into the area around the pec minor muscle and then go inside the body to the pericardiam itself, along with the liver and diaphragm. Use the breath and your imagination. Then go back and try the twistings shown above with these new perceptions.

SBK_1711254-20To continue our building of a three dimensional perceptual qi field, we can return to the thera-ball to provide sensation and visualization. I like the feel of my third chakra having organ support, so I find placing the ball there and using a wall creates a powerful presence on the inside. Embryologically speaking, this is the extemely yin yolk sac which becomes the entire gut body. The conception vessel points on the micro-cosmic orbit are stimulated by the ball, bringing sensation and perception here. The liver comes from the yolk sac, so I can use this position to also find the Jue Yin channel we explored above. Lying SBK_1711254-19over the ball in a forward bend creates a similar feeling, with even more yielding and softening to the yang back body erector muscles. By moving the ball to the sternum, I can activate a new set of points on the conception vessel and engage the inner tissues surrounding the 4th chakra

If I want to build up my back field perception, I use the ball from behind and awaken sensation on the yang Governing Vessel.SBK_1711254-16 Here I have dropped it a bit lower to find the sacral-lumbar junction and here I can feel the possibility of both lumbar flexion and extension, from S curve to C curve and back.  The very important GV-4 Qi gong Image‘gate of vitality’ is here The inner abdominal space also opens and the front back and center plane begin to become conscious. This becomes trickier as you move upwards towards the liver. You can place the ball anywhere and feel different points coming alive. Feel their inner as well as outer presence. Back support can also help open the front. I haveSBK_1711254-17been trying to open my throat more for my sax sound and using the ball (or any elastic support) helps soften and melt tight tissue.

SBK_1711254-21Fish body support, opening some Gall Bladder Meridian points is another way to use the ball. I am using the wall, but this can be done on the floor as well, with slightly different effects. All of these ways of playing with the three dimensional field are ways of awakening and establishing a dynamic energetic field, centered in your heart, and radiating out throughout the whole of the cosmos. When you are out in Nature, feel this. When you are out and about in the human sphere, feel how you respond. It is fascinating to see what happens.

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