Let's Get Psychophysical - Newsletter #10
The Psyche and the Physical
Hello, it’s Kevin.
Here is your weekly list of 5 things I’ve found that promote wholeness, integration and “waking up” - rather than fragmentation, dis-integration and falling asleep.
This week’s newsletter is on the relationship between the psyche and the physical.
I want to show how even at the very far end of the psyche - no matter how purely mental or spiritual it seems - there is still an interplay with the physical in some way.
Let’s get psyche-physical.
Book I’m reading:
Catafalque: Carl Jung and the End of Humanity
by Peter Kingsley
I remain convinced that a lot of “psychological” problems are better treated at the level of physical structure (posture and coordination) - rather than all of this talking and symbolising for years on end.
But — this book is having such an effect on my psyche I am feeling physically sick. I don’t know why, yet, it must be stirring something in the depths.
Peter Kingsley has written some amazing books on the early greek philosophers known as the“Presocratics” but who were more like the Hebrew prophets than modern academic philosophers. He puts Carl Jung into this category.
This book is about Jung and his secret “book of prophecy” The Red Book, which was only published decades after he died. He was writing this at the same time as Psychological Types and it would probably shock most readers of that book.
If you have ever had a “vision” or “mystical experience” - a real one not just a weird coincidence or interesting dream - then you will know that it can have extreme physical effects on you. Some are immediate, some last for years.
And from the other direction, you can induce “mystical experiences” through extreme physical behaviours e.g. fasting. Not just fasting from food, but also fasting from social interaction (isolation), fasting from movement (still meditation), and fasting from speech (vow of silence.)
From a psychophysical point of view it is interesting that Jung had to isolate himself physically for long periods, locked up in his tower(!) on the shore of Lake Zürich, to be able to think and write about the psyche.
Why have four hours of focussed uninterrupted work when you can have four months?!
The relationship between the person and his environment is just as psychophysical as the relation between his mind and body.
Video I’m watching:
Here is Peter Kingsley talking about Jung’s Red Book and the ancient greek practice of “incubation.” Lying down in the dark, maybe a cave or dream temple, and not moving for a very, very long time.
Everything in our world is moving, always changing, nothing stays still — but if you do remain very still, for a very long time, then sometimes things seem to appear from “another world…”
Art I’m contemplating:
This drawing is from the Red Book, by C.J. Jung. The book is an interesting mix of images and text, and it all reminds me of William Blake in more than one way.
If you lie dormant for long enough, something might erupt from the depths…
Quote I’m applying:
Fasting from little, everyday things can be good for you.
My technique is based on inhibition, the inhibition of undesirable, unwanted responses to stimuli, and hence it is primarily a technique for the development of the control of human reaction.
F. Matthias Alexander
One of my most popular tweets (a bit of a platitude, I’m afraid) was inspired by practicing this technique. Most platitudes like this leave me thinking, yes this all very nice but HOW exactly?!
But in my defence, I do know a technique for implementing this little platitude.
You will begin by learning how to inhibit the physical reactions that are damaging your posture and health in general, but by the end you will realise that you can apply this to all areas of life.
If you want to learn this technique you can book a 1-to-1 lesson with me. Reply to this email or message me on Twitter.
Experiment for you:
Charlie Brown’s Ball.
The purpose of this experiment is to first SEE our reactions - so then we can CONTROL them.
As always, record yourself doing this experiment - what you feel is not always what you see.
Get someone to throw/kick a ball to you (or if alone you can bounce a ball off the wall.) Get them to throw it a few times, make it progressively harder to catch and fake a few throws, surprise you etc.
Watch the video. How many unnecessary movements did you make before you could tell where the ball was going? Were you tensing up to “get ready?”
Did these unnecessary movements affect your ability to catch the ball? Can you see where your immediate reactions might have limited your options?
Do the experiment again. This time consciously decide to pause before reacting. Don’t move to catch the ball until the last possible moment.
Watch the video. Describe the differences you see.
Have fun with Lucy,
Thanks for reading,
Would you like a 1-to-1 posture consultation and “body audit?” We meet on zoom and I teach you how to control your physical reactions.
The first step is STOP doing all the little everyday habits that are causing you postural problems. I will show you exactly what to stop doing, and what to do instead.
To Book a Posture Consultation & Body Audit you can
1. Reply to this email, or
2. Message me on Twitter.