On Wellness

In the last 50 years people have become increasingly disillusioned with orthodoxy. The large monotheistic religions, the hierarchical state, even traditional martial arts have seen a steady crumbling of faith and blind adherence. While I think that overall this is a very positive development it has left many spiritual people feeling a bit adrift. The first step forward should be developing a daily routine to ground ourselves and get in touch with a sense of the universe. I call this a Personal Unifying Practice and it provides the foundation for much of what I teach.

A PUP should be eclectic, diverse, and ever evolving. It needs to start with some quiet time or meditation and then include anything that increases awareness, center, compassion or Joy. Bits of Tai Chi, dance, yoga, Chi Gong, and martial exercises will all work. Later it can expand to include traditional exercise, self defense, playing music, drawing, or any other creative pursuit. I hope that the wellness community moves toward helping people design their own unique practice that draws from multiple traditions. If everyone spent 30-40 minutes a day in their own ever evolving art we would all be a lot more joyful.

Sometimes I wonder how many teachers in what’s become known as the wellness or human potential movement notice that the people who most need their skills are frequently those who are least able to access them. Temple of the Circus Monkey and Desert Monkey Dojo are my very small attempt to answer that concern. I am pleased that my classes are extremely inexpensive and that the bulk of my teaching is done in random spaces. I teach martial arts to people who would never enter a dojo and meditation to those who might be unwelcome in a temple. If your practice is dependent on a quiet beautiful space your practice is way too limited.

All practices should include a strong theme of ego deprivation and this had better start with the teacher. Alas this is not always the case. Tradition glorification, greed, and teachers drinking their own bath water don’t lead to wellness, they lead to new orthodoxy and more disillusioned practitioners.

Saor Alba, Vaya Con Dios, and Viva la Revolucion!