5 Reasons Why Your Body Is The Portal To Spiritual Growth

body spiritual growth

Answer this question truthfully…

Are you ignoring your body?

In our society, the vast majority of people live exclusively in their head (yes, even workout junkies). And a small percentage falls into the trap of what I call spiritual escapism, living in the clouds. Both are delusional.

The key – to unlocking our potential and living a fulfilling life – is THE BODY.

The body is not something to be ignored. It’s not something to be neglected. It’s not something to be demonized. And it’s definitely not something to be viewed as an impediment to spiritual growth. In fact, the exact opposite is the case.

The body is the portal to spiritual growth.

“Transformation is through the body, not away from it.” – Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now)

The most spiritual, transformational thing you can do is to be FULLY PRESENT. I’ll repeat that again. The most spiritual, transformational thing you can do is to be fully present.

Everyone is looking to escape the negative aspects of reality, including you and I. If you’re denying this, that’s part of your escapist self-deceit. And people try to escape in different ways; drug/alcohol abuse, television, work, social media, addiction to spiritual practices, externalizing power to authority figures instead of looking within…etc. Basically, most people will do anything to distract themselves from… well… themselves, and their raw emotions.

But no forms of escapism work… They just mask a problem and let it fester in the shadows. That’s when things get really ugly, and we see it reflected on the macro level in the world.

Here’s the hard truth: The only way out is through.

The best way to solve any problem, or realize that the problem doesn’t really exist, is to face it head on. Yes, this reality can be extremely challenging. But it only gets worse if you try to ignore or avoid it.

However, everything gets transmuted once you dive fully into reality, into the present moment. And that is done through the body.

With myself and many others, I’ve noticed that physical health is what tends to first open people up to who they really are. It’s the “first domino” that catalyzes spiritual growth, self-awareness, empowerment and all that “good” stuff.

After realizing this, I started looking into why this is the case. And here’s what I found…

5 Reasons Why Your Body Is The Portal To Spiritual Growth

body spiritual growth

1. Health

With a healthy body, everything else falls into place.

You can think more clearly and creatively. You also become a better conduit for ideas and intuition. Everything regarding cognitive function and perception becomes heightened when you’re healthy.

Another byproduct of health is being vibrant and full of energy. When someone is healthy, you can see that sparkle of life in their eyes. When someone is really unhealthy, they have that vacant look. This is a huge indicator, because you can literally see that some people are embodying their divinity.

Health is also the practice of self-love and self-care, which obviously has spiritual implications. It’s taking care of your temple and allowing the presence of the divine (or whatever you want to call it) to come through.

So what are the basics of health? It’s really simple when you boil it down. Eat real (natural) food and move your body. If you do that, you’re at least 80% there.

2. Getting Out of Your Head

Being in your body gets you out of your head. And that’s a big deal in today’s society.

Most people are trapped in their head and slaves to their mind/ego. The mind makes a beautiful servant but a terrible master. And the mind is a risk calculator, meaning if you’re trapped in it, you’re going to be calculating risks 24/7.

Our minds are hardwired to detect threats, because that’s what has kept us alive for millions of years. But we no longer have to deal with saber tooth tigers, so 99.9% of fears are purely psychological/abstract and not based in real danger at all.

But, in general, we let this risk calculator run the show. This is why the vast majority of people live in a state of perpetual fear.

Most people spend their whole lives thinking about the past or future and COMPLETELY MISSING THE PRESENT MOMENT. Actually acknowledging, feeling and experiencing your body changes this.

3. Presence

Being more in your body helps you to be present.

You get out of your head, and in the present moment. This point is so important that entire books are written on it (The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, Be Here Now by Ram Dass, You Are Here by Thich Nhat Hanh…etc.)

When performing a difficult exercise for example, it’s hard (and even dangerous) to be thinking about the past or future. This is why exercising can help you cultivate a practice of presence.

On the other side of the spectrum, many types of meditation involve body awareness and body scanning. This fosters a state of presence.

There’s also mindful eating. The practice of mindful eating means simply being completely present while eating.

First of all, you’re aware of what you put into your body. Most people mindlessly shove food down their gullet, then wonder why their health/performance is sub-par. And another aspect of mindful eating is being fully present and undistracted when eating. This means fully experiencing the taste, smell, texture of food and noticing how it feels when being digested. Practicing this not only allows you to enjoy food more, but hones the ability to feel what is beneficial or detrimental to your body.

And when you’r body is healthy, the clarity and clearheadedness that naturally arise make it far easier to be present (as well as the absence of pain/discomfort).

4. Being In Tune

I hinted at this while discussing mindful eating. Being healthy helps you get more in tune with your body.

And it’s not only with eating. It helps you get in tune with intuition, feelings and emotions. Again, good health allows for all kinds of clarity and the healthy flow of energy. Plus, there are the benefits of getting out of your head and being present.

All of this results in being very in tune with the subtleties of life. There’s nothing woo-woo about it. When you’re healthy, your awareness is heightened.

5. Holistic Expansion

True expansion, true authenticity and true health, is holistic.

You cannot ignore an aspect of self and think it won’t have side effects. We see the neglect of the body in many religions, which obviously doesn’t work out well (where guilt, shame and all kinds of perversions run rampant).

On the other hand, we see the neglect of the emotional and spiritual aspects of self in modern western society, and it doesn’t take a genius to see all major “systems” need to change.

We need to embrace all aspects of ourselves. And love it all.

The more grounded you are, the more connected you are to everything. Being fully embodied is a way of embracing wholeness.

I mean, there’s a reason why “spirit” (or whatever your term is for God/Source) is choosing to express itself physically, right? If not, we wouldn’t be here. Even if it were some big cosmic joke, we’re here now, in human form. So start with being present and fully conscious in this experience.

It also doesn’t stop at the body. The body is an aspect of self, not your entire self. It’s a portal to your true self, not the totality of your true self. Again, embrace all aspects of self.

Becoming Spirit Embodied

So how do we get more into our body?

It’s very simple; engaging in daily practices that benefit the body. Here are some ideas:

  • Getting out in nature
  • Hiking
  • Going to the beach (where you get all four elements at once – sun, air, earth, water)
  • Putting your bare feet on the Earth (aka grounding/earthing)
  • Any form of exercise
  • Yoga
  • Any form of martial arts
  • Eating healthy (and mindfully)
  • Taking a walk outside
  • Simply being present
  • Fully experiencing your senses
  • Meditating on how each part of your body feels
  • Breathing exercises
  • Cold water exposure (cold showers)
  • Swimming
  • Conscious sex
  • Dancing
  • Singing

Love your body. Cultivate health. Embrace all aspects of self.

Much love.

– Stevie P!

Why Learning is like Jet Fuel for Happiness

Teahupoo1

I found myself wading into the alluring blue-green Caribbean Sea, with my right hand on a surfboard and my eyes fixated on an immense wave approaching. I’ll admit, it was a bit intimidating: an ominous undulation, already taller than me, quickly rising out of the infinity of liquid power. But the fear within, which had risen along with the wave itself, was immediately transmuted into childlike excitement as I snapped into action, spinning the surfboard around and hopping on, belly first.

Exuding exuberance, I glanced over my right shoulder to see the wave swiftly advancing toward me. My warrior ethos kicked in and I paddled with powerful, staunch strokes, building just enough momentum right as the wave tasted my heels. The wall of water surged upon me, thrusting me into a realm of slowed time and total focus. The board was no longer a lifeless object, but a kindred spirit, conspiring to maximize my moment. It was a beautiful communion between beings, conceived through coalescence and driven by synergy.

With a blast of pizzazz, I popped up onto my feet, landing in the classic surfer stance (totally, dude). What a feeling! The inner child within me was jumping for joy as I cruised towards the shore with a beaming smile on my face.

That was the conclusion of my very first surfing lesson. It was a true climax of bliss, fueled by the magical phenomenon of… LEARNING.

wall-837313_960_720

Learning is an integral element of the human experience.

We came into this life to learn and grow. And without learning, no growth is possible.

All inhibitors of learning and growth (stagnation, monotony, boredom, fear, comfort zones…etc) drain the joy out of life and deaden the spirit. On the other hand, learning, growth, progress and perpetual new experiences infuse life with a euphoric vivacity. This feeling of elation is a tell-tale sign that you’re in alignment with your inner truth.

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” – Neale Donald Walsch

Life’s tendency is toward progression. Life is defined by growth. If you’re not growing, you’re dying.

Learning is a precursor to growth and an undeniable catalyst of happiness.

The act of learning doesn’t have to be strictly intellectual either. If it’s something physical, like surfing, your mind and body work together in the learning process. This weaves threads of cooperative harmony through all levels of being.

It is undeniable that learning is crucial to the human experience. Learn to love learning and your life has no choice but to change for the better.

Think about how good improvement feels. Think about how good personal evolution feels. That feeling is the child of learning and growth.

Be Willing, Eager and Open to Learning

Willingness to learn is as equally important as the learning process itself. If you’re open and eager enough, you will learn anything you wish to.

Three Manifestations of Willingness that Will Greatly Accelerate Your Life Learning Process

  1. Embrace curiosity – Einstein put it perfectly when he said, ““I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.”
  2. Listen – Listen to what other people have to say, instead of talking all of the time. Listen intently, listen with curiosity and listen with an open mind.
  3. Ask questions – Question everything and entertain any idea.

Be willing, eager and open to learning and the doors of understanding will eagerly open to you.

There are, of course, ways to refine and streamline the learning process as well.

An effective model for rapid learning is Tim Ferriss’ D.S.S.S. strategy from his book The Four Hour Chef. The acronym D.S.S.S. stands for Deconstruct, Selection, Sequencing, and Stakes.

Deconstruct
“What are the minimum learnable units, the LEGO blocks, I should be starting with?

Selection
“Which 20% of the blocks should I focus on for 80% or more of the outcome I want?

Sequencing
“In what order should I learn the blocks?”

Stakes
“How do I set up stakes to create real consequences and guarantee I follow the program?”

Read more about Tim Ferriss’ D.S.S.S. strategy here.

Another Useful Tip for Learning

The human attention span is not very long, so learning in short stints (30-60 minutes at a time, with short breaks in between) is a great way to leverage this. The percentage of information you’re able to retain drops in the middle of any learning session. This is why most people only remember the beginning and end of a long, study marathon. So instead of trudging through things for hours, engaging in short sessions with breaks allows you to function at maximum capacity and actually get more done. Plus, it just feels better (which is a subtle hint itself).

This is why many schools found it more effective to have 50-minute classes, because after that point, kids stop paying attention.

I personally thrive off of getting things done in 20-30 minute chunks, followed by breaks. This is a great strategy for learning, writing and really accomplishing anything.

Tim Ferriss (again) beautifully charts this phenomenon in The Four Hour Chef:

4HC

Why Surfing is the Perfect Medium for Learning

Surfing is both physical and mental – Surfing simultaneously engages the body and mind, and is healthy for both. You use both simultaneously, which creates harmony between the two. Plus, it’s a form of exercise (which, as everyone knows, has a ton of benefits itself).

Nature therapy – You’re outside and connected with nature while you’re learning. You get your feet in the sand (grounding/Earthing), the sun on your face (Vitamin D), the breeze in your hair and you’re in the water (which comes with benefits too). It’s a beautiful, healthy combination of learning and the four earthly elements.

Surfing engages the warrior ethos in a healthy manner – It’s a positive outlet for your warrior spirit. Surfing is both a physical battle and a cooperation between you and the ocean. For those like myself who have a deep connection with the warrior archetype, positive expressions of it are necessary for your well-being. For too long, the warrior ethos of humanity has been relegated to war and other forms of senseless violence. Learning to surf is also learning to bring out your warrior ethos in a healthy way.

As you can tell, I love learning. And learning how to surf was a tremendous experience for me.

Keep learning. Keep growing. Find happiness along the journey of continuous expansion.

Much love.

– Stevie P!

Subscribe to our Newsletter

 

The Artistry in Physique Building

What do we really have control of?

If you think about it, this can be summarized in just two words… OUR SELVES.

Our self (mind/body/spirit) is the only thing completely within the realm of our control. We can’t control other people. We can’t control the weather. We can’t control the Earth’s orbit. Most things are out of our control. But our minds and bodies are fully within our sphere of influence. And with recent findings regarding the science of epigenetics, we have more control than previously thought. Read about epigenetics HERE and HERE. It’s empowering stuff.

Many people worry about things they can’t control, while neglecting the only things they really can control. This is ass-backwards if you ask me.

You know the ol’ serenity prayer? “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.” That’s the ticket right there.

We have control over our minds and bodies, so why not optimize them? And, well, really they’re one in the same. Our body is an extension of our mind, and our mind is an extension of our body.

So why wouldn’t you work on the only thing within your control? Seems like a no-brainer to me.

farneseherculesglycon

It’s called a chiseled physique for a reason.

“While control may be impossible to maintain in all situations, there is one place that you will always be the master: the temple of your body.” -John Romaniello

Developing the physical body is crafting your own unique carapace around your consciousness.

It’s laying out the architecture, performing the construction work, and fine-tuning the interior design of the temple that houses the spirit.

Body is the temple

Improving your physicality creates a sanctuary of empowerment in a world filled with fear, anxiety, and uncertainty. This empowerment makes you well-equipped to handle whatever life throws at you. (or whatever you throw at life) <—seewhatididthere?

The phenomenon of bodybuilding is a direct result of this. It is taking full and complete responsibility for yourself. Every sliver of progress made is yours. Pushing the boundaries of physical potential makes bodybuilding fascinating. Building the body fulfills a deep, primal yearning in a society that has dulled our instincts. It’s complete mastery of the material self. It’s the ultimate form of empowerment in our tangible reality.

This is also the reason why physical improvement is the most popular form of self transformation these days. Countless people have changed their lives by changing their body. Enhancing your own unique physicality is improving the only thing you really have control over. It is ultimately taking your power back, and that’s why so many people are working on improving their bodies. It puts you in the driver’s seat of life.

The body is your vehicle for your road trip in this reality. So you should make sure it’s running optimally. And since you’re living in it (for now), you want it to be awesome right? An optimized vehicle is, of course, more conducive to an optimized trip. Just don’t turn it into an ego-trip 😉

Our bodies are the physical manifestation of our beings. So physique building is sculpting the physical aspect of yourself. We live in a 3-dimensional reality, so optimizing the 3-dimensional part of yourself should be a fundamental rite of passage. If we existed in a reality where we could “see” thoughts, we would sculpt our thoughts to “look” awesome. (The only way we can do that now is to express thoughts through the mediums of language or art.)

And speaking of art, our bodies are truly a work of art. A complex, beautiful system with endless subtleties. Each is unique. Each is personalized. It’s an artistic masterpiece that is 100% yours.

The beauty of imperfections:

Perfection doesn’t exist. The perfect body doesn’t exist. But this allows for two hidden benefits:
1. Continuous improvement. No matter what, you can always improve. There is always room to grow. Life is perpetual growth. And really, who likes to be stagnant?
2. Uniqueness. If everyone was “perfect” then we would all be the same. Imperfection results in infinite variety. It makes being an individual possible.

***Pokemon metaphor alert***

Improving yourself is like a Pokemon leveling up. As you level up, you increase your HP (Hit Points aka how much damage you can take). You learn new attacks. You accumulate new abilities and increase your overall strength. Maybe you were born an Onix, and you think you got the short end of the genetic stick. But really, there is no short end of the stick. Any Pokemon at level 80 is exponentially stronger than the “best” Pokemon at level 20. Remember that, and work on becoming the strongest version of yourself.

The Rock Onix

Congratulations, your Dwayne Johnson evolved into Onix!

Learn to let go of what you can’t change. And instead, focus energy on the things you can change. Maximize yourself, and you will be empowered. This will positively impact every aspect of life, and inspire others to empower themselves as well.

Think of your physical self as your video game character. And your higher self/spirit/soul is the one playing the video game. Level up while you’re here, and enjoy the experience!

249109_928399727789_814651621_n

And another great metaphor for good measure

Stay feelin’ good, feelin’ great my friends.

-Stevie P!

Improve Your Mental Game By Improving Your Physical Game

Here’s another prelude to Feelin’ Good, the Feelin’ Great eCourse on assertiveness (coming soon).

The physical relationship with assertiveness (as well as genuine confidence) is so important, yet often overlooked.Physical improvement can act as a hinge to leverage success in every area of life, especially when it comes to assertiveness.

Physical changes come first, because they are tangible. Unlike thought patterns, physical changes can be both seen and measured.

Physical improvement is empowering on so many levels. There are many different kinds of strength; all interconnected. And the physical level of strength is most readily improvable. This acts as our foundation to build upon.

Physical changes are a crucial factor in building assertiveness that simply can’t be ignored. You need to have a sound physicality for everything else to function optimally. There’s no way around it.

If you’re not confident in your own skin, it’s going to be hard to be confident in your own mind.

Funk Master Flex

Funk Master Flex

And you don’t have to build a bodybuilder’s physique or anything like that. That’s not the point. But what you need to do, however, is eliminate disharmony (or dis-ease) and consistently improve.

Side note: Perfection doesn’t exist. But imperfection carries with it the opportunity for continuous improvement and growth. So keep improving, my friends.

It’s amazing what tangible physical improvement can do in terms of how someone interacts with the world around them. Physical improvements develop success habits, which reverberate into every other aspect of life.

When you make any sort of physical progress, it synchronizes with the mental aspect as well. It creates a snowball effect. And, in my opinion, the best way to get the snowball rolling is with physical changes. (You would learn to push that snowball before attempting to develop telekinesis, right?)

Here’s what Tim Ferriss has to say: (From The 4 Hour Body)

“Your body is almost always within your control. This is rare in life, perhaps unique. Simply focusing on some measurable element of your physical nature can prevent you from becoming a ‘Dow Joneser’, someone whose self-worth is dependent on things largely outside of their control. Job not going well? Company having issues? Some idiot making life difficult? If you add ten laps to your swimming, or if you cut five seconds on your best mile time, it can still be a great week. Controlling your body puts you in life’s driver’s seat.”

Set a personal record for the amount of weight you lift and you’ll instantly feel powerful. Not just physically but mentally as well. You don’t have to try to feel powerful, it just happens.

Do some mobility exercise, stretching, or yoga and you’ll feel tension being released from your body. You don’t have to try to release the tension, it just happens.

Lose 20 pounds of fat and you don’t have to think your way to more confidence. You don’t have to try to be more confident, It just happens.

Gain 20 pounds of solid muscle and a feeble mindstate will naturally morph into a strong mindstate, reflecting the physical changes. You don’t have to try to be a stronger and more confident person; it just happens as a result.

I’ve experienced all of this first-hand in my own life since I started working out and being conscious of my eating habits. Once I began to see physical changes, my mind naturally changed as well. I became more confident, positive, and of course, more assertive. And this wasn’t just because I thought I was better looking. It was because I felt empowered. I was making progress with the only thing I have complete control of; myself. That’s the main reason behind improving one’s body. It’s empowering.

We’re going to go into 3 types of physical changes as they apply to assertiveness.

The first is Training/Fitness. Working out. Exercise. Physical exertion. Physical training.

The second is diet. What you eat, what you don’t eat, and eating habits.

And the third is physicality and confidence. This goes into how the physicality relates to assertiveness. It also includes short-term physical techniques to deal with any situation at hand.

So, what to do?

Here’s how to step up your physical game and improve your mental state to go along with it:

Optimize nutrition and fitness.

Simple as that. Even by making slight enhancements with those two factors, you’ll see tangible, physical improvement. And with tangible, physical improvement comes mental improvement.

I’m not going to go into the details of nutrition and fitness here (that’s another tangent), but one more point regarding those topics….

Know your goal:

Do you want to add muscle? Do you want to lose fat? Do you want clearer skin? Knowing your goal will allow you to tweak your nutrition and exercise to achieve these goals. And when you make progress towards these goals, it’s as much of a mental achievement as a physical one.

And the third aspect of the body’s effect on assertiveness is the relationship between physicality and confidence. When you see tangible results from enhancing your nutrition and fitness, you carry yourself differently. You’re posture will improve, you’ll be more relaxed, you’ll naturally breathe deeper, your body language will be friendlier…etc.

Your body is your vehicle on this road trip we call life; so why not drive something that maximizes your experience?

Keep an eye out for the Feelin’ Good, Feelin’ Great Assertiveness eCourse in the coming weeks. Launch date coming soon.

Stay feelin’ good, feelin’ great, my friends.

-Stevie P!