Alignment and timing are powerful fundamental principles. These elements influence your life in ways that may not be immediately apparent. So, learning how to improve them can be very helpful. Read more to find out how.
Let’s see if we can find out the hierarchy of these principles. We’ll look at two examples to find the answer. We’ll use the subjects of Martial Arts and Spiritual Exploration.
Alignment is Everything
Guru Tua Means “great teacher”. This is what we call our Dutch-Indonesian teacher. He came to the USA after World War ll. He is a painter, philosopher, healer, and teacher of several Chinese and Indonesian martial arts.
Martial artists spend a lot of time training their bodies and their minds. It some ways of training the body is easier than training the mind. Here’s the problem. If you train and ingrain unpleasant habits with your body, they become reactions that become difficult to change.
On the positive side, this means most commercialized martial arts training is largely ineffective. After all, you really don’t want a lot of people learning how to be warriors.
To be sure, practicing kicking and punching makes you better at these physical movements. Boxers training to be proficient at boxing. People who practice karate are more proficient at this sport. However, it important to point to remember that these are “sports” with specific rules of engagement. This is true even of mixed martial arts.
Once you train with these guidelines, you ingrain the habits in your mind and muscle memory. I learned the hard way that these are not effective outside the dojo. Rather these are martial-art like processes. True martial arts have no rules of engagement. It means training the mind differently. People think timing is everything because they only see the result.
Real martial arts are beyond any single style or form. There are specific types of traditions that studied how to use the mind and body in efficient and effective ways for individual combat. They understood a warrior is facing many opponents and situations, some are larger, faster or stronger. Some opponents had weapons, and some had armor. You needed to train the mind and body to be fluid and adaptable to the rapidly changing theater of combat.
So, training the mind and body to move within a style or form creates boundaries and obstacles to your ability to be fluid and highly adaptable. For that reason, moving at the right time, to the right place, in the right way are the keys to success. This requires an understanding of how mind and body align. It is what enables one to enter the conflict as a dancer able to move fluidly and defeat your opponents.
Speed is bull___. Alignment is everything. ― Guru Tu
Guru Tua is fond of saying and showing how we align the mind and body is more important than speed or strength in martial arts. Timing depends upon proper alignments. This is what enables one to move on time when in the dance of combat. Perfect timing results from aligning the mind and body.
The mind is the real tool of martial arts. It is the supercomputer enabling one to assess the people and ever-changing environment. One of these important keys is learning to control the nervous system.
Sympathetic and Parasympathetic Nervous Systems
Our natural reaction to a threatening situation is to engage the Sympathetic Nervous (SN) system. This activates the “fight, flight or freeze” response. The SN increases blood flow to muscles by shutting down blood flow to the skin and intestines.
When SN is engaged, the brain responds to the increased adrenalin and a host of other powerful enzymes. To protect the higher thinking centers from these enzymes, it shuts off the higher thinking centers of the brain. That’s the problem. With the SN in control, you can move quickly, but it’s reactionary. You are using the primitive mind centers controlled by the emotions of fear and anger.
To move with proper timing, you need the higher-level thinking and computing functions of the mind to be online. This is why the secret to martial arts is in learning to overrides the primitive instincts. When we act out of powerful emotions like anger or fear, we are more apt to error.
So, in a combat situation, you want the “thinking” center of the mind needs to be in control. The parasympathetic nervous system controls high-level think processes. This may seem counterintuitive. However, it is the parasympathetic nervous system enables proper alignment and timing.
We need to be able to engage our higher thinking centers to assess the ever-changing combat situation. It requires a Nano-second assessment and adjustments. So, a warrior trains to activate the parasympathetic system to counterbalance automatic sympathetic. Proper timing is everything, and the parasympathetic abilities of the mind make this possible.
Here is the key. The parasympathetic system has control over the oculomotor of the eyes. The eyes are the key. If you learn to control your scope of vision, you can lock in the parasympathetic.
Alignment is Everything in Spiritual Practice
Aligning our mind and body is also critical in the practice of spiritual exploration. Everyone has their own path, their own unique way of awakening. Everyone has their own unique set of alignments.
When mind and body align, we are more in touch with our spiritual essence. So, we encourage learning as many of these consciousness development tools as possible. Every tool we use helps to facilitate the aligning of all three aspects, mind, body, and spirit.
Consciousness Development Tools
Everyone awakens differently. We have unique gifts and we are on different timetables. Awakening is a process. We of accessing the spiritual gifts are sleeping in our DNA. When we open them, it sets our spiritual walk into motion. It opens our minds to new potentials.
The research of consciousness and learning to access these spiritual gifts was the central goal of many ancient cultures. The investigation of consciousness is something many ancient cultures thought was important, and we enjoy the benefits of generations of research. These early pioneers give us several tools for exploring consciousness.
We call the processes of these early explorers, spiritual technologies. These processes stand up to the test of science, they are repeatable and produce unique physiological changes. These tools enable us to reach higher states of awareness that differ from waking, sleeping, and dreaming.
We use a blended learning model incorporating those processes which are safe and reliable. We are not the first to use this eclectic approach. For example, Gurdjieff’s approach was to adopt techniques proven to be effective. The research of these early pioneers stands the test of time.
Timing and aligning are not opposites. They are elements of change in a chain reaction. To have proper timing, you must first be aligned. So, alignment is everything because it creates a framework for proper timing.
Spiritual technologies are what we call the tools for developing and exploring consciousness. They are processes that can alter, change or expand our awareness. Some of these methods open doorways to higher states of consciousness.
These processes come from eons of research by cultures around the world. We use the term spiritual exploration to describe these powerful methods.
We select the best of these ancient methods for our own blended learning process. These processes are time-tested by generations of use, and they stand up to the rigorous tests of science. Several of these methods produce measurable changes in our physiology. These physiological markers prove these partitions of awareness differ from normal waking, sleeping, and dreaming states.
Spiritual exploration is not about faith or belief in a religion. They are processes that anyone can use. They don’t require belief, all you have to do is follow a process. We like to think of it like baking a cake. When you want to bake a delicious cake, you follow a recipe. If you use the right ingredients and follow the directions, you get something delicious. The processes of spiritual exploration are formulas or ingredients for exploring consciousness.
There are many ways to list these methods, we divide these tools into four major categories:
- Analytical Tools
- Awareness Expansion Tools
- Modalities for Healing
The study of spiritual things seems like an odd place to find analytical tools, but these analytical processes are vital to our spiritual quest. This is because their use enhances our ability to use common sense and logic.
These tools help us think more clearly and make better decisions. This helps us avoid many of the common obstacles of deception in our culture. The primary tools in this group are Logical Reasoning, Comparative Analysis, and The Enneagram of Personality.
The study of logic is the first tool we use in our group practice, but these methods are very helpful for anyone seeking truth. We encourage our participants to create a reminder on their smartphone to review these tools every month. This keeps them fresh in our minds, and that’s when they become useful in spotting ploys and deception.
We use a set of three related tools. The first tool is Logical reasoning, which summarizes basic use of logic in language. It shows how people misuse logic to sell us ideas and beliefs. Next is spotting logical fallacies, this module provides practical examples of the most common logical fallacies. The last module, the logical axioms, ties everything together by contrasting how science and mythology differ in their approaches to presenting truth.
Comparative Analysis is a systematic approach to comparative religious study based on the scientific model. It is a method of comparing ideas and beliefs from different worldviews, and it is another tool we recommend for the new spiritual explorer.
This process introduces the challenge of comparing their beliefs to other worldviews. We incorporate the use of emotional checks with this process in order to maintain our emotional equilibrium. This helps us think more clearly by reducing interference from our emotions.
Above all, the use of logical reasoning and comparative analysis will sharpen your ability to discern fact from fiction. So, these aren’t just for research. You’ll find a use for these tools every day. Besides their use in religion, politics, they are also helpful with TV and Radio newscasts.
The Enneagram of Personality
The Enneagram of Personality is a tool of cognitive science that helps us understand the mechanisms of Ego, personality, and instinct. The best authors and researchers write in easy understand language so the layperson can understand it, while it is deep enough for any clinician. This makes it a powerful system available to almost everyone.
You will find modern psychology and the Enneagram share many of the same concepts and authors. Borrowing and then building on the work of others was and remains a common practice. For instance, Jungian psychology parallels the structure of the Enneagram. It has nine processes of consciousness.
The core of the Enneagram Personality Profile is a series of questionnaires. If you provide honest answers, you will get an accurate profile of our personality. The scientific method of testing verifies the accuracy of this tool. The system goes beyond identification into deeper thought processes and beliefs. It integrates spiritual and psychological understanding. It will lead you to an understanding of the source of your personal power.
When you say spiritual practice, many people think of meditation. Seated and moving forms of meditation are the centerpiece of spiritual exploration. The practice of meditation is now common knowledge. Both seated and moving meditation bring many health and wellness benefits.
Seated meditation is the heart of many spiritual practices. Meditation is a range of mental tools for exploring consciousness. It has everything from Mindfulness Meditation through Japa or Transcendental Meditation (TM). And also includes more advanced practices like the Siddhis of Patanjali.
Moving meditation is action together with a heightened level of awareness, this includes a range of activities involving the mind-body connection. Using these modalities helps improve mind and body connection, which has a positive effect on our health and wellness. This progression includes energy collection modalities like Qigong and Tai Chi. It also includes Forest Bathing. techniques for grounding, like Tree Grounding and Sun Gazing.
Awareness Expansion Tools
This is a category with a diverse mix of tools dealing with awareness and perception. This group of processes starts with the Shamanic Journey or Guided Meditation. It also includes lucid dreaming, third-eye awakening exercises, and techniques to improve memory.
Another important tool is the spiritual journal or book of shadows. This is your best coach. It also includes exercises like automatic writing. You could list these tools among some groups. However, we like to list separately because of their importance to awareness.
The Shamanic Journey is probably man’s first spiritual technology. This traditional method is at the core of many indigenous cultures. It serves as evidence to the historical importance of the inner quest.
There are many variations on this theme, but all use essentially the same formula. Rhythm is a key element that regulates heart rate and breathing. Then the mind projects an inner world providing the lucid journey.
A Shaman is a person who guides people through this journey in the spirit world. However, you can take this inward journey by yourself. This tool for changing awareness uses a range of seated and moving forms.
This is one of the ancient technologies that people have tried to rename or rebrand. They do this to make the Shamanic Journey more marketable. So, some people know it as guided meditation or creative visualization.
Modalities for Healing
The last group includes a diverse set of healing practices such as Vedic medicine, Pe Jet from Indonesia, or Reiki, and Shiatsu from Japan. Practical methods for Self-care techniques round out this a vital category.
The practice of any healing method is a natural outlet for our positive energy. Many people come to the healing arts as a secondary interest. They were not initially interested in learning or practicing the healing arts, but once they learn, they find it is an enjoyable way of giving back and helping others.
We can see how timing is everything. Timing is a major factor in how and when we find opportunities and meet people. However, it is being in proper alignment that makes these events possible. When we align our mind, body, and spirit we experience life on a different level. We recognize synchronicities; we hear the voice of our intuition.
We hope you found this article helpful, maybe even thought-provoking. You will find more interesting posts on our blog page. Use the search option on the blog page to find articles by key terms, topics, or category.
Does spiritual exploration interest you? We offer both face-to-face and virtual learning sessions using a blended learning process to get the best learning outcomes. This approach aligns with what Joseph Campbell calls the Hero’s Journey (1).
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(1) Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia