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Crosstraining for Body, Mind & Spirit; Integral Life Practice: Interview With Terry Patten

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And I think that's the ultimate meaning of practice is to be a presence of love. I mean, you know, one aspect of Integral Life Practice is spirituality. And what is your spirituality if you don't love?

So, there's a way that our body practice, our mind practice, all the rest of it comes to bear in service of us being able to be just more, more juice, more able to face down our own demons and to come up with a smile, to come up with that extra energy, to come up with enough juice to meet the moment with whatever class we can, you know, with compassion because everybody's got their own unique set of challenges. It's not always easy.

I joke with my wife. It's hard to be a person. Anybody who wakes up, brushes their teeth and walks out the front door, you know, they're just looking for trouble. Life is not easy. And, with an appreciation for that, without kind of closing our hearts and saying, oh, you're a loser if you don't become enlightened. I mean, forget it.

In some ways, higher consciousness is a luxury. We have a lot of things we have to deal with in our lives. It's not easy being a person. But, everybody can get more results for the little bit of free energy and attention that they've got. They can invest that in a way that has a cross training synergy.

I'll tell you what, if you meditate and you do a real physical exercise, your meditation will move forward twice as fast as if you just meditate.

Rob: Can you explain that? Could you explain? I didn't understand. If you meditate, you do it at the same time or do them one after the other?

Terry: No, no, you do them at different times. But, if you are in training in terms of body and mind and spirit and shadow all at once, there are cross training synergies. That's one of the premises of Integral Life Practice. You know, you're a complete person. Your body doesn't exist separate from your mind, separate from your spirit. And when the patterns that you're living are fixed, you know, your trying to break up one kind of pattern but the others all stay the same, the system doesn't move as fast. When you break up a lot of patterns at once by actually anchoring some intentionality in different areas of your life, it makes a huge difference.

And the way we try to make this doable for people is with what we call a one minute module. In other words, some people have very busy lives. They might not have more than 10 minutes some days to devote to practice. But, with simple techniques that you can do in just a minute or two minutes or three minutes you can anchor kind of intentionality and you can kind of shift your energy and shift your attention and shift your intention in a way that can really turn things around.

And that flexibility is so important because it lets me and lets anyone kind of face the fact that, you know, there are no excuses. Even if I don't have time, I have time for something. And I'll tell you what, if you sit down and you open your heart to spirit as you understand it, in whatever way that is, and you expand out of the kind of contraction of your own lonely, tormented journey through the difficulties of life, and you contact something that's already OK and that's an endless source of resource, and you do that for two minutes a day, your life is different.

And you do that and you do stuff that engages your body in a way that makes you healthier and you pay attention in a way to sharpening your mind and expanding your capacity to take perspective and release perspective so that you become more flexible, less stuck in your way of thinking and understanding reality.

I mean, you'll begin to really change and it doesn't mean, you know, you don't have to go into an ashram and do practices for eight hours a day. Integral Life Practice is for busy people.

Rob: So, you said you could do something for one or two minutes every day and it will change your life. What's an example of that?

Terry: Well, let's see. We have a one minute module in what we call the three faces of God. And when we use the word God, first of all, we're talking about the mystery of existence. We're talking about that which is the source of our intelligence, our life energy, it's that which is always present. It's that which... you see I'm interested in the spirituality that works for atheists, you know, for materialists, because that's where I came from. I was raised by very post-modern people. And I've encountered spirituality in different context.

So when I use the word God, it's kind of a punchy word, but as a force of being that we can contact that is essentially graceful, that is the fiftyone percent of the way that life is wired that's kind of just generous in some fundamental way. It's difficult in the face of the earthquake in Haiti, all kinds of catastrophe that people experience. It's hard. But, it's a little more graceful than it's hard.

And so, that fundamental quality of the mystery of existence is the source of all, really all joy, all intelligence, all insight, everything that breaks us out of the box. And that is not something that we can know. I mean, it is the mystery of existence.

There's a saying in Taoism that it's unspeakable that those who speak don't know, those who name the Tao, those who say what it is obviously don't know it and those who know it don't speak because it's beyond what can be spoken.

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One theme has run through my work for the past 40 plus years-- a desire to play a role in waking people up, raising their consciousness and empowering them. I was the organizer founder of the Winter Brain, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology and StoryCon Meetings and president of Futurehealth, Inc., with interests in (more...)

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