The Alchemy of Physical and Spiritual
The Union Path Podcast
The Alchemy of Physical and Spiritual
[0:00:20] John Coleman: I think one of the most interesting things about being human about about being a human being, about living in this human experience is this idea of being an individual yet also being dual, being single but also being double. And what I mean by that is clearly being a physical being. We're bodies, we're minds, we are physical. That is what we are. For many of us this is the way we conceive of ourselves as a physical being having an experience in physical reality. But clearly, in my opinion with even a modicum of awareness it becomes clear, it becomes obvious, it becomes unavoidable. There's more to this experience than merely the physical. There's clearly an interaction at play. There's clearly an animating force present. There's clearly an energy that flows through everyone and everything all the time. And so walking around in this human experience, realizing that we are this dual creation, we are this being operating on these two different levels can really be confounding, can really be confusing. Especially the first time we really encounter it, when it's really brought to our attention, when it's really held in front of us in a way that makes this truth undeniable. It can be a difficult thing to take in, a difficult thing to know. It can be an uncomfortable and inconvenient truth to finally see, to finally know that there's way more going on than merely the physical. And for a lot of us this acknowledgment doesn't make our minds very happy.
[0:02:23] John Coleman: Because for a lot of us for me anyway, I lived a lot of my life purely through the physical, purely through sort of a physical value system of what I valued, what I strived after, what I was proud of, what I cherished. Largely redounded to the physical whether it be some sort of status, some sort of attainment, some sort of satisfaction of some kind of vanity, some kind of identity, some kind of idea about what is truly valuable that was firmly rooted and expressed purely in the physical. And I think for anyone who starts to look beyond the physical realm of being be pretty easy to realize that these ideas can run pretty deep. That to move from a focus that is purely or mostly physical to one that is more balanced with this idea of energy or spirit or life force can be quite a project because these roots and these habits can run really deep. We can have so many things that we do purely for the physical reward of it. And this isn't to say that the physical aspect of life needs to somehow be demonized or even particularly needs to be diminished all that much. We are physical beings having a physical experience. But what's important we have this realization that for lack of better or more perfect terms, more universal terms we are both physical and energy. The idea is to strike a balance. Idea is to strive for balance. The idea is to find a way to live through both of these aspects of ourselves simultaneously. And not only that have both of these aspects of ourselves aligned, going the same way, wanting the same things, both passengers on the same journey to the same destination. Because it can be so easy to live in a conflict to live in a conflict between our physical and our spiritual sides, to live in a conflict between the physical and energy. And again, it's not that either side is greater or more important or more virtuous than the other. Neither side is whole in and of itself.
[0:04:59] John Coleman: There's a dependence, there's an interdependence between these two. They both need each other. They both work with and for each other. Energy needs the physical in order to be manifested and the physical needs the energy in order to be animated. It's a dance, it's a duet. It's a moving through life on both of these planes simultaneously. And even if we're not conscious of the interplay of these two planes, they're always working themselves out. Even for the most physical person, the most physically focused person, energy is still flowing through the. Energy is still manifesting through them. Energy is still animating the. And conversely, for the most quote unquote spiritual or energy focused around us, they're still a physical being. They're still a physical being having a physical experience in physical reality with all the trappings that come along with it. In fact, it's kind of funny, kind of a bit of a paradox that sometimes the more quote unquote spiritual you are, the more you gravitate towards the physical expression of that spirituality, the more you crave to not only cultivate a certain spiritual aesthetic, but the more you are driven and drawn to perform that to others, to be seen that way. And there's nothing wrong with any of this. Consciousness is ever expanding, is ever growing.
[0:06:38] John Coleman: We can always increase our consciousness from wherever we are. The critical thing for us the critical thing for us to do is to operate fully from our consciousness and endeavor fully to expand that consciousness further. So one of the ways we can find ourselves in conflict between our physical and our quote unquote spiritual sides is especially when we first embark down the spiritual path, it can be easy to overlook and ignore the physical aspect of our experience. Then in a lot of ways, the spiritual knowledge can be so engrossing, can be so interesting, can be so fascinating that it causes us to begin to ignore the physical side of ourselves, cause us to forget that we are this dual being and that each part of ourselves is worthy of equal acknowledgment and attention. No one side of us is greater than the other. No one side of us can exist without the other. This is a synergy. And we live the fullest, most complete, most enjoyable, most enriching lives when we fully cooperate with our whole selves, when we fully express through our full selves, when we fully inhabit our being through both sides. And so when we're doing this spiritual work, when we're learning and growing our consciousness regarding our spiritual nature, our spiritual identity, we're starting to understand how these spiritual ideas not only work and play out, but how they are working and playing out through us what this intersection is between physical and spirit, between material and energy. And so if we find ourselves overvaluing the spiritual spectrum of our experience, one thing I think we can easily do is neglect and overlook our physical side. Because simply put, our physical bodies are the vessel, are the medium that spiritual energy expresses itself through. Spiritual energy is the animating force. And we are the ones being animated with this knowledge, with this awareness that it seems like spiritual energy flows through us, the strongest, the purest, the most completely. When our physical selves are feeling good, when our physical selves are taken care of, when our physical selves aren't in want that if we are the receivers of spiritual energy, we do ourselves a really big favor. We make ourselves better receivers by having our physical bodies, our physical state, be as high quality as possible.
[0:09:56] John Coleman: That a lot of times we have our best spiritual days when our physical body feels the best. But there's a lot of spiritual teaching out there that encourages us away from the physical, that encourages us to diminish the physical, to look at it as somehow lesser, perhaps somehow dirty or profane or basic. They can look at these physical bodies as some sort of untamed and unkempt creature that all this spiritual knowledge is going to come in to redeem and tame. But in my opinion anyway, I don't think it actually works that way. I don't think the elevation of spirit is necessary or even particularly useful. Just like I don't believe elevation of the physical is particularly necessary or helpful. It's both. They're peers. No one is greater than the other. And so if you want to continue down the spiritual path, we want to increase our consciousness, increase our union with spirit, we do that by having as high quality of a physical experience as we possibly can. We do that through quite simply taking care of ourselves. We do that through enjoying ourselves physically. We do that through feeling good. And it's so funny to me, and maybe this is just me, I don't think it is. But how a lot of spiritual teachers and spiritual lessons, a lot of spiritual wisdom doesn't really address the beauty and the importance of feeling good physically.
[0:11:42] John Coleman: That's looked at as some sort of cheap thrill. That's looked at as something that really isn't that important. But in my opinion it's actually vital because why else would we be here? If we were here for only a spiritual experience? Well then why wouldn't we just remain spirit? We don't have physical experience just to torture and frustrate the spiritual aspect of ourselves. And the same can be said for our physical versus our spiritual side. Like we're not here to be purely physical all the time. We're not here to simply indulge and gorge on physical pleasures. But we're not here to never have these things either. A full life is lived fully through both our physical and spiritual sides. Incompleteness is incompleteness no matter which side of the spectrum it belongs to. And I think on some level we know this. I think on some level we know that no matter how much spiritual knowledge or consciousness we attain if our physical experience is grinding and grading and just doesn't feel good and just can feel maybe even kind of excruciating at times then that is a severe limiter to our overall experience. Same goes for if on a spiritual level, we don't particularly feel good.
[0:13:20] John Coleman: We're living this physical life and we really check in with ourselves. If we really explore down deeply how we really feel, we really get in touch with who and what we really are, and we sense a conflict, we sense a pit in our stomach, we sense some kind of unsettled turbulent energy, then that diminishes our experience as well. So like a lot of things, it's not one or the other. It's both. And it's not only both both at the same time. It's union. It's a level of simultaneousness, it's a level of cooperation through both our spiritual and our physical sides. Because if we're working to really nourish and grow the spiritual side of ourselves the our physical side needs to not be ignored, needs to not be abandoned. It needs to be nurtured and grown right along with it and vice versa. Whether we know it or not, whether we like it or not, being a human being is being both spirit and physical. And even though there's often short shrift paid to feeling good I believe that's our best indication of alignment. And the more deeply we feel good, the more aligned we are. We don't need some sort of externally arrived attainment to tell us that we're whole tell us that we're complete. We don't need anyone or anything to tell us when we feel good. We know it.
[0:15:05] John Coleman: Feeling good is self evident. It's obvious. That's the best part about it. Either we are or we aren't. We don't have to guess. And if we're guessing means we don't really feel as good as we'd like to. So it's my opinion, it's my belief, it's my assertion that feeling good is not only useful, that feeling good is not only good. Feeling good is vital. Feeling good is necessary. And in whichever aspect of ourselves this physical or the spiritual which we don't really feel good, then that's our work, that's our growth, that is worthy of working on, that is worthy of improving. Because I believe it's my assertion anyway this is all any of us want. That if we boil down all of our aspirations, all of our dreams, all of our wants, all of our desires if we really reduce this down to its most basic, to its most core, to its most clear and simple what we want out of this life is to feel good. Is to feel good as holy and completely and deeply as we can. And that depth part is pretty critical. I think one of the ways we can know that we actually feel good that we actually feel good from a sense of wholeness that we actually feel good for a sense of union of both of these parts of ourselves is that we feel good without any sort of external stimulation.
[0:16:46] John Coleman: We don't need circumstance to be any particular way. We don't need to be engaging in any particular activity. We feel good on the inside with nothing outside of us aiding and abetting those feelings that we feel good as a state of being, not as a result of what we're doing. That I think that's what we're after. They get to this place to experience the state of being that is feeling good, not a state of doing that feels good. And feeling good from doing is lovely and wonderful and it isn't to be diminished. But if that's the only time we ever feel good then obviously there's an unhealthy dependence there. There can be a bit of codependence there that what we're really after is feeling good through a sense of wholeness, through a sense of freedom, through a sense of oneness and completeness with all that we really are. And this is the balance of life. This is the human experience as this dual being. This is the alchemy of the physical and the spiritual. Because in my opinion, anyway, the real joy, the real reward, the real sublime rapture that's possible in life is through the mixing, through the combination of our physical and our spiritual sides, through engaging and enjoying life fully with and through both. Not neglecting either side, not elevating one and diminishing the other, taking care and nourishing our physical bodies, making it a priority. Putting as much emphasis on our physical well being as on our spiritual putting as much emphasis on feeling good physically as we do through endeavoring to feel good spiritually and vice versa. Taking the time to spend time with the spiritual side of ourselves, taking time to engage the spiritual side of ourselves, taking time to live both the spiritual and the physical aspects of life fully and completely enjoying both, feeling enlivened through both, being a dual being with both parts of us, united in joy, in feeling good, in comfort, in peace, in appreciation.
[0:19:44] John Coleman: And there's lots of different ways we can do this there's lots of different ways we can nurture and enjoy both sides of ourselves. But what really matters is that we give both sides their due attention, that we give both sides their due care, that we honor and respect both sides of ourselves as this dual being and go forth and live our lives as dual as both completeness through the union and the alignment and the cooperation of both sides. Cocreating our experience through both our physical and spiritual dimensions. Living fully, by living completely with and through our dualness. Because I think ultimately any of us that start and continue down the spiritual path ultimately that's what we're looking for. We're looking for wholeness. We're looking for completeness. We've sensed an emptiness, we've sensed a void. We've sensed a part of us that either feels empty or feels unengaged. That we're living this fractional experience, that we're going through life only partly who and what we really are. Expressing only a fraction of who and what we really are. Confining ourselves to this partial experience when there's another, deeper part of ourselves craving fullness, needing fullness, calling us, encouraging us to be full, to be complete, to step into and live our full life. And we can do this through uniting both parts of ourselves. We can do this through ending the conflict between both sides of ourselves. We can do this by having both parts of ourselves going the same way, to get to the same place, to do the same thing, to have the same experience.
[0:22:01] John Coleman: At least for me anyway. These are useful things to ponder the when I find myself out of balance, it's usually because I started to neglect one of these sides. If I find myself feeling kind of heavy or frantic then I've most likely grounded myself too much in my physical and I've neglected the spiritual side of me. If I find that spiritual awarenesses aren't coming like they used to or I don't really feel very inspired, I don't really feel a lot of energy coming through me, I don't really feel very creative, then often it's because something in my physical experience, my physical existence needs some attention. I'm not sleeping enough, I'm not eating right. I'm not really taking care of myself. I have too much stress. I have too much strain. There's something going on that isn't allowing me to be the creative vessel that I want to be. And when we find ourselves out of balance, just having the willingness, just having the intent to ask ourselves where are we out of balance right now? What part of me needs attention? Is there conflict within me? Is there something I'm not doing that I should? Is there something I'm doing that I shouldn't? All of this can be exposed often through just checking in, asking the question, being curious, wanting an answer.
[0:23:35] John Coleman: Because we are the stewards, we are the caretakers, we are the guardians of all aspects of our being, of all aspects of our experience. And when something needs attention, the onus is on us to give that attention, to ask those questions, to seek those answers. And this is how we find our way back to unity. We find our way back to wholeness. And so we may need to ask ourselves if there's something going on in the physical side of ourselves, is it because we're not taking care of ourselves? Or if we are, are we not taking opportunities to actually experience physical joy? Have we so sequestered our life down to all work? And can we removed any sense of enjoyment or play if we find the spiritual side of ourselves, of our being lacking a bit and needing some attention? Have we gotten too grounded in our physical experience? Have we gotten too carried away with the building up and the expression and the gratification of only the physical side of us and only we can know? That's why it's vital that we ourselves ask these questions, listen for the answers and then do something about it. We always have the ability to bring ourselves back into balance. Balance is our natural state and it's usually us who are the ones that are pulling ourselves out of balance. And it's always us who are the ones who can return ourselves to balance. Because ultimately this is what we want, this is what we crave to get back to wholeness, get back to completeness, get back to balance, where we're living through and with both sides of ourselves.
[0:25:32] John Coleman: And this is our path to a full life. This is a path to an enriching life. This is the path to our true and complete life. Because it's lived through our complete selves, wholly and fully, physical and spirit.
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