Twelve fundamentals that support learning, adaptation, and personal fulfillment
These are the principles that guide my work with clients
1) Human beings are self-organizing systems. We are each born with an innate ability to learn, and adapt to life. We each possess the instinctual ability to recognize, create, and maintain, health and well being.
2) Change is inherent in the differences and potentials that drive a universe that is not at rest. The ability to adapt is one of the primary rewards of learning.
3) A state of dynamic relaxation in which we feel alert and fully alive, supports our ability to learn, adapt, and thrive.
When we’re dynamically relaxed, we do just enough and nothing more or less, to perform in a graceful, efficient manner, At such times there is not any need for excess efforting or tension.
4) The body as well as the brain in our skull, is intelligent, and “mind” resides in the body as well as in the brain.
There are currently five main avenues of study we draw upon here:
A. Research by Dr. Michael Gershon and others show that we indeed have a second brain in our gut (the enteric nervous system). This concept has been known in most every Oriental art form for thousands of years.
B. Research conducted by Candace Pert presents a model of a “mobile brain” that moves throughout the entire body. Her work leads to the consideration of the brain as a dynamic and ever changing information network that is present throughout our entire system.
C. Research by Stephen Porges, puts forth the Polyvagal Theory. A theory that emphasizes the pivotal role of the heart in social interactions and emotional well-being. The theory states that the vagus nerve, a nerve likely found only in mammals, provides input to the heart to guide behavior as complex as forming relationships with other people as well as disengaging from others. His theory has stimulated research and treatments that emphasize the importance of physiological state and behavioral regulation in the expression of several psychiatric disorders including autism and provides a theoretical perspective to study and to treat stress and trauma.
D. The study and practice of “Shin shin toitsu” Aikido, as developed by Koichi Tohei.
E. The study and practice of “Noguchi Sei Tai” as developed by Haruchika Noguchi.
When we work within these models we can quickly understand that most of the system-wide activity of “our mind” takes place outside of our everyday conscious awareness.
We can indeed utilize and learn from this subconscious intelligence of the body, and this proposal forms the basis for the change work done in Seishindo.
5) High-quality learning is best facilitated by becoming aware of and consciously responding to, four brains, instead of just one.
A. The enteric nervous system
B. The heart
C. The limbic brain
D. The neo-cortex
When we are aware of and consciously respond to four brains, we greatly increase our ability to act with wisdom, creativity, emotional balance, and compassion.
6) All of the various electro-chemical and neuromuscular reactions that occur in our body are systematic in nature and when taken as a whole such reactions can be considered to make up a somatic language.
Our ability to communicate in and understand somatic language is wired into our system at birth and forms the foundation of our memories, verbal communication, learned responses, and our ability to live and sustain ourselves.
Our somatic language is at least as sophisticated, systematic, and complete as our native verbal language. Somatic language does not use or require verbal language in order for our body to completely understand what is being communicated. Somatic language is what allows us to make meaning out of our experience prior to learning our native tongue, and it remains our primary meaning making language throughout the course of our lives.
7) Our memories and our emotions are seamlessly intertwined. Our body and all of its cells and tissues retain traces of our previous experiences. Our memories and our emotions are made up of bio-chemical and neuromuscular activities that form the basis of our consciousness, are habitual in nature, and affect our perception of our current experience. Long term memories are activated by our entire system, as a byproduct of our experience.
8) Much of what we accomplish when learning and adapting takes place outside of our conscious awareness and is orchestrated by the subconscious intelligence of our body (the somatic self).
Exceptional learners in any one particular field rarely know specifically what they do when they perform with excellence, they “just do it” by accessing the information network of their entire system.
In regard to our overall health and well being, we have limited conscious awareness of how we go about secreting enzymes and hormones to digest food and support various life sustaining functions, or how we activate our immune system. A healthy person nonetheless effectively performs such tasks on a regular basis.
9) The system known as “I”, contains all the resources necessary to live a fulfilling life.
At the same time, the information that passes us by without being noticed or used, is always much greater than the information we are aware of and utilize.
Great hope, seasoned with a reasonable dash of humility would thus serve all of us well.
10) The personal difficulties we experience when attempting to maintain a healthy, emotionally balanced life, are largely due to
A. Habitual patterns of holding excess energy within our system.
B. Habitual patterns for organizing and utilizing only a selected portion of the incoming information available to us.
When we hold onto excess energy we inhibit ourselves from rebalancing, reorganizing, and adapting, to meet the challenges of ongoing events, thoughts, and feelings. Such holding patterns inhibit our ability to remain physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy. When our somatic-emotional system supports a varied range of information gathering, organization and utilization, life moves through us in a continual process of change and rebalancing.
11) Any behavior, experience, or response may serve as a resource or limitation depending on one’s belief system and perspective.
In alignment with this thinking we believe it serves a person well to consider that: “There are no mistakes, only outcomes. There are no failures, only feedback.”
Following this line of thinking we say-
In our experience it appears that most people believe it’s particular events and circumstances that determine the course of their lives. We believe people will be better served by considering how their reaction and response to particular events and circumstances determines the course of your life. One person’s moment of failure and defeat, can be another person’s moment of awakening and rededication.
12) A system that is adept at managing complexity and diversity is a system that is open to learning from new information and distilling solutions from multiple realities.
A diverse system has elements that are different in nature, kind, character, and quality. Diversity is ever present in the non-equilibrium environment that we live in, and indeed the ongoing viability of any system depends on a certain minimum requisite amount of diverse elements. A lack of diversity leads to a limited pool of information and alternatives, and solutions that will tend to be somehow incomplete, incorrect, and repetitive.
It’s the ability of a system to embrace, comprehend, utilize, and unify the multiplicity of interrelated elements in a given situation that leads to high quality solutions and adaptation. In such systems, the concepts of “right” or “wrong” are less important than the correlation and complementarity of divergent sources of information. Robust systems thrive on complexity, and use it as an impetus for fostering generative compromises that enhance the overall integrity of the system. In unbalanced systems complexity tends to create a state of confusion and chaos.
In the practice of Seishindo we believe it serves you well to:
Fine tune your ability to be aware of:
A. The bio-chemical and neuromuscular activities that usually take place outside of your conscious awareness, but that nevertheless form the basis of your consciousness.
B. Your information gathering, processing, and utilization strategies, and how you can expand upon what you’re currently capable of.
C. How you sometimes tend to habitually hold onto and thus inhibit the total flow of energy within your system.
Practice various “whole self” exercises that promote a free flow of energy within your system, and a more balanced somatic-emotional experience.
Learn how to better utilize both your somatic organization and intelligence as coordinated by your enteric nervous system (the brain in our gut), and your cognitive organization and intelligence as coordinated by the brain in your skull.
Seishindo works from the supposition that much of what you understand cognitively is derived from your verbal interpretation of your somatic language. In Seishindo we look first at the body and its somatic communication, in order to understand the psyche. We begin by getting a felt sense of the communication of the body.
Next, we look to enlist the help of the innate subconsciously generated somatic intelligence, to bring about meaningful change. This change is wrought by our innate and preverbal sense of what needs to be different somatically in order to bring about a greater sense of psychological health and well-being. Once the somatic experience has begun to change we can then engender a heartfelt conversation, to integrate the dual intelligences of the cognitive and somatic, into a generative experience of the self in relationship with itself.