One of the fundamental principles of spiritual exploration is to alternate action and rest, movement and silence. It’s a useful tactic for grounding and centering. It helps us normalize growth and accelerate our development.
The most powerful tools are often the simplest. This is one tactic you can add to almost any spiritual 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 the body. It also deals with the activity of the mind.
We don’t think of analytical thought as a movement, but thoughts are movement 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.
Alternate Action and Rest
This tactic is a key element in many systems of consciousness exploration. We know this type of practice 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, and it 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 and 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. When you alternate action and rest results you think more clearly and will come more quickly.
This 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.
Philosophy of 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, that’s why we refer to it as a blended learning process. It blends all learning styles. It makes sure the learner is getting the best learning outcomes. There are several key elements of this forum that make it an ideal learning environment, including:
- Alternate action and rest, movement and stillness
- Building meaningful partnerships and health community
- Focus on adding tools to your spiritual tool belt
- 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 to 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. This blended process is proven to provide the 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 and 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 distinct 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 use 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 take part 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 several reasons.
First, we have found that learning several techniques that build sequentially is the best way to ensure learning. Logistically, it takes a weekend to 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 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
We do not exist between our ears. The real you, the person you talk to inside your head, is not limited by the dimensions of time or space. Our consciousness is designed to access to higher states of consciousness. All we need are the keys to open our awareness, and these tools exist. We call these tools spiritual technologies.
Everyone has their own way of awakening their spiritual gifts sleeping in their DNA. Awakening is a process. When we open them, it sets our spiritual walk into motion. It opens our minds to new potentials.
Accessing these spiritual gifts was the central goal of many ancient cultures. We can trace the investigation of consciousness back to ancient cultures around the world. We enjoy the benefits of generations of their 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. Using these tools, we can reach higher states of awareness that differ from waking, sleeping, and dreaming.
The blended learning model described above uses 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. Human physiology hasn’t changed in thousands of years, so the work of the ancient pioneers stands the test of time.
Spiritual technologies are ancient methods for exploring the human spirit. They come from cultures all around the globe. They are time-tested by generations of use. These practical mental tools help us expand awareness. Some open the doors to higher states of consciousness.
Anyone can use them, all you need to do is follow the process. They are like a cake recipe. If you combine the right ingredients in the right way and you get something delicious. They do not the belief or faith in any religious doctrine.
We divide these tools into four major categories:
Everyone has their own path. You can start with any of these methods. The more you use, the better.
Action and Rest, Movement and Stillness
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.
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? If so, we offer both face-to-face and virtual learning sessions. We use a blended learning process to get the best learning outcomes. This blended approach aligns with what Joseph Campbell calls the Hero’s Journey.
Here’s a tip. If you register on our site, you will get special offers, discounts for online training, and free unadvertised downloads. We comply with all GDPR guidelines and never share or sell your contact data.
Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s Book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia