Alternating movement with stillness

Alternating Movement with Stillness ― Rest and Activity

Alternating movement with stillness is one of the main fundamentals of consciousness exploration. It’s a fundamental part of grounding and centering.

The most powerful tools are often the simplest.  This is one of the tactics you add to almost any routine to get the most out of your practice.  It doesn’t matter the subject.   If you are trying to learn a new skill or hone an existing ability, this tactic will help.  Stillness helps the mind solidify or normalize the skill.  This doesn’t just apply to moving the body.  It also deals with the activity of the mind.

We don’t think of analytical thought as a movement, but it certainly is to the mind.  If you have a job where you sit and work on a computer all day, you’ll be just as tired as the person who works at a physically demanding job.

“The body benefits from movement, and the mind benefits from stillness.”
— Sakyong Mipham.

Alternating Movement with Stillness

This tactic is a key element in many systems of consciousness exploration.  This type of practice is known as a “round.” This is because you practice moving meditation alternating with seated meditation. Then repeat it several times a day. This really deepens the level of familiarity with whatever you are working on.   This type of training ensures the student is both grounded and centered.  Also, this ensures the best learning outcome for more advanced techniques.

The movement doesn’t have to be vigorous exercise.  It can be as simple as walking.  And, the stillness or seated meditation can be in short increments of 10 minutes.  This type of exercise is a great stress reliever as well as a centering tool.  It can help you think more clearly.  And, so many business enterprises teach this type of exercise to their executive staff members.  Everyone can benefit from this type of calmness and clarity of thought.  Alternating movement with stillness should become a part of your own practice.

Alternating stillness and movement is a strategy we use in our blended learning process.  This enables us to deliver several spiritual technologies in the shortest time with the best learning outcomes.

The Philosophy behind the Blended Learning Process

Our “blended learning process” is a learning strategy that combines several effective and practical teaching tactics.   It includes theory, instruction, reinforcement, feedback, and teach-back components.  This is why it is referred to as a blended learning process.  It blends all learning styles and assesses learning along the way.  It makes sure the learner is actually learning what is intended.  There are several key elements of this forum that make it an ideal learning environment, including:

  • Alternating movement with stillness
  • Building meaningful partnerships and health community
  • Focus on adding tools to your spiritual toolbelt
  • Time to normalize and practice new techniques
  • Develop your own path and help others

This strategy enables us to combine the preparatory exercises for multiple spiritual technologies.  We keep the original integrity of the separate traditions intact. Feedback checks throughout the process ensure the learner is ready for the next step in the learning progression. Thus reinforcing learning, reducing many of the common issues with learning these tools.  Consequently, this process results in better learning outcomes.

Also, we all know the best way to ensure you know something is to teach it.  So, we’ve built the opportunity to share and help others in the process.  This makes us all students and facilitators throughout the process.  The more we learn the more we can pass along.  This process isn’t a new model.  It follows an ancient pattern Joseph Campbell called The Hero’s Journey.

The Hero’s Journey reflected in the blended learning process

“The hero’s journey always begins with the call. One way or another, a guide must come to say, ‘Look, you’re in Sleepy Land. Wake. Come on a trip. There is a whole aspect of your consciousness, your being, that’s not been touched. So you’re at home here? Well, there’s not enough of you there.’ And so it starts.” ―Joseph Campbell

What is most interesting, this is a pattern that is found at the heart of many spiritual philosophies and religions.  It is also one that we mirror in our blended learning process. Although the pattern takes shape using different characters across many cultures, the core elements of the story remain the same. This story resonates with us on a deep level because it describes the visionary journey of our own spiritual exploration.

The Hero’s Journey is a story with a pattern involving three main phases.  These phases revolve, intertwine, and overlap at times.  If we look closely we’ll find this pattern in our own lives. This pattern cycles repeat over and over, again and again. We employ this blended learning strategy of the Hero’s Journey in three phases, awakening, transforming, and inspiring.

Phase One – Awakening

In the first phase, (Awakening) people meet in small-groups (weekly or semi-weekly) (and now virtually) to build a foundation of basic terminology, knowledge, experience and meditative practices. We teach the benefits of using a journal to track our journey and experience, provide opportunities to learn several basic meditative practices and participate in other small group learning exercises. In this phase, we identify our personal strengths.  Then we learn how to leverage them in many ways.  This is the preparation phase enabling us to “ready” to learn deeper practices.

Phase Two – Transforming

The second phase (Transforming) is a weekend retreat. After we have a common foundation we invite everyone to assist in the co-facilitation of a weekend retreat. Meeting for a weekend is important for a number of reasons. First, we have found that learning several techniques that build in a sequential fashion is the best way to ensure learning. Logistically, it takes a weekend to adequately learn and practice this set of techniques that incorporate both seated and moving meditation. Learning the techniques in the morning, practice in the afternoon. This process ensures that the techniques are learned in a way that accommodates everyone’s learning style and abilities.

In the evenings we to have time to assimilate what we have learned, share and celebrate. The weekend is a time for the emersion in deeper practice, which is something we rarely do in our modern lifestyles. The weekend experience is often described as “an oasis” from our hectic lives. A time to share our personal “stories,” re-charge our spiritual and physical bodies, encourage and be encouraged, be energized and healed. The weekend goes by often too fast for most who want to stay and bask in the synergy and positive energy generated by so many involved in this noble aim.

Third Phase – Inspiring

The third phase (Inspiring) is the continued meeting of those who have been on the weekend. We continue building sharing, receiving help and encouragement to help us overcome any personal roadblocks. We reach out and partner with other like-minded people and groups. This helps us follow through, develop and establish our individual spiritual practices and further our spiritual exploration. This is the Hero’s Journey.

There are a number of techniques in this curriculum of consciousness development.

Consciousness Development Tools

Everyone has their own way of awakening.  And, each of us has spiritual gifts to aid in this quest.  These gifts are sleeping in our DNA.  So, waking these gifts is the key.  It sets our spiritual walk into motion.  It opens our minds to new potentials. 

Accessing these gifts was the central goal of many ancient cultures.  And so, we benefit from generations of research.  The results are a set of powerful tools anyone can use. We call these tools spiritual technologies.  These are sound methods for expanding awareness and exploring consciousness.

Above all these tools stand up to the test of science. They are repeatable experiential phenomena. And, higher states of awareness also have unique measurable physiological signatures. They differ from the basic states of consciousness (waking, sleeping, and dreaming).  These processes do not require belief in a religion. All you need to do is follow the process.  For the most part, these tools come from Eastern traditions.  This probably due to the fact their focus is on developing human potential.

Other schools of thought have a similar eclectic approach.  For example, Gurdjieff’s approach was to adopt what is already proven to be effective.  After all, human physiology hasn’t changed in thousands of years.  So, the work of the ancient pioneers stands the test of time.

Spiritual Technologies

Spiritual technologies are tools for exploring consciousness.  They result from generations of research by cultures around the world. These processes stand up to the test of science. They are repeatable and measurable. They do not require belief in religious doctrine.  So, everyone who can follow a process can use them. We call the practice of these processes spiritual exploration.

You can list these tools in several ways. Some fall into more than one group.   We like this simple method.

Rest and Activity

The idea of alternating movement with stillness is evident in the above list of spiritual technologies. There are two separate progressions of seated and moving meditation.  Rest alternating with activity is an excellent contrast. It gives you time to “normalize” and solidify the learning.  This same idea is also a part of the healing modalities.   Before the healing process begins the practitioner always takes time to prepare.  This preparation takes the form of both seated meditation followed by moving energy collection.  So, this is another practical example of alternating between movement and stillness.

Additionally, the Enneagram studies movement and the use of mudras.  So, it isn’t exclusively an intellectual process. Lastly, you can see the pattern of alternating movement with stillness in the use of the Shamanic journey.  The preparatory stage almost always has a moving ritual.  Perhaps the only technology this is not in use here is logical reasoning.

In Conclusion

If this article resonates, there are more on our blog. To find out more about our organization, see our page FAQ.

Interested in spiritual exploration?  Check out the blended learning process at the core of our teaching process. It reflects what Joseph Campbell called the Hero’s Journey.  Our learning options include both face-to-face and virtual learning sessions.  Please consider donating and supporting our mission. This helps others learn the knowledge for developing their own path.


Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s Book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia

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