Some people believe that timing is everything. Others say alignment is everything. Both are powerful principles, but which is superior? Which comes first? We think proper alignment is the key to perfect timing. Come and see.
Let’s see at 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.” It’s 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. In some ways, the body is more straightforward to teach than the mind. Here’s the problem. If you ingrain ineffective methods, 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 don’t want many people learning how to be warriors.
To be sure, practicing kicking and punching makes you better at these physical movements. Boxers train to be proficient at the sport of boxing. People who practice karate train with the parameters in this sport. However, it is essential to remember that these are “sports” with specific engagement rules; even mixed martial arts prohibits striking the eyes, throat, and groin.
The Key to Perfect Timing is Proper Alignment
Once you train with these guidelines, you ingrain your mind and muscle memory habits. I learned the hard way that these are not effective outside the dojo. Instead, these commercial offerings are martial-art-like exercise movements. Authentic martial arts have no rules of engagement. It means training the mind to assess the fluid and ever-changing situation.
People think the key to perfect timing is training to move quickly because they only see the result. The element needed to move “on time” is alignment.
Authentic martial arts go beyond any single style or form. Some cultures studied how to use the mind and body efficiently and effectively for individual combat. They understood a warrior faces many opponents and situations, and 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. It requires an understanding of how the mind and body align. It enables one to enter the conflict as a dancer able to move fluidly and defeat your opponents.
“Speed is bull___. Alignment is everything.” ― Guru Tua
Guru Tua is fond of saying aligning the mind and body is more important than speed or strength in martial arts. Timing depends upon proper alignment, enabling one to move on time when in the dance of combat—perfect timing results from aligning the mind and body.
So, the mind is the fundamental tool of martial arts, not the body. The brain is the supercomputer enabling one to assess the people and ever-changing environment. One of these essential 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. It’s the neurological function handling 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. So the brain must protect the higher thinking centers from these enzymes, and it shuts off the brain’s higher thinking centers. That’s the problem. With the SN in control, you can move quickly, but it’s reactionary. You use the primitive mind centers controlled by the emotions of fear and anger.
To move with proper timing, you need the mind’s higher-level thinking and computing functions online. It’s why the secret to martial arts is learning to override our 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. It may seem counterintuitive. However, the parasympathetic nervous system enables proper alignment and timing.
We need 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. We can move on time; we need to engage the parasympathetic nervous system.
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. So the key to perfect timing is not in training to be faster but in learning to control the nervous system.
Proper Alignment is the Key in Spiritual Practice
Aligning our mind and body is also critical in the practice of spiritual exploration. There are fundamental alignments that facilitate proper movement. You may have some unique underlying skeletal or muscle issues, but the primary alignments for activity are the same.
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 align 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 necessary, 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 tests 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 method was to adopt techniques proven 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, proper alignment is everything because it creates a framework for appropriate timing. It includes your thinking and moral alignment.
These processes are a collection of proven methods for exploring consciousness. We call them spiritual technologies. They help us expand awareness and unlock the gifts to reach higher states of consciousness.
These tools differ significantly from religion. They do not require faith or belief in any religious doctrine. Anyone can use these processes to develop their full potential. All you need to do is follow the process, and it’s just like following the recipe for baking a cake. If you combine the right ingredients in the right way and you get something delicious.
We select the best of these ancient methods for our blended learning method. These processes are time-tested by generations of use, and they stand up to the rigorous tests of science. They are repeatable processes, and several produce measurable effects on our physiology. These changes include increased brainwave coherence, lower heart rate, and increased skin resistance. Changes like this prove these partitions of consciousness differ significantly from waking, dreaming, and sleeping.
We divide these tools into four major categories:
Everyone can use these methods to create their unique spiritual path, and you can start with any of these methods. The more of them you use, the faster your progress.
Timing is a significant factor in how and when we find opportunities and meet people. However, proper alignment is the element 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. Remind yourself that the key to perfect timing is in aligning correctly.
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(1) Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia