We've got our favourite Movement Monk, Benny Fergusson, back on the show with Mason today. The gents continue the conversation around embodied movement and the many elements involved when exploring life and personal growth through the physical form. As always, Benny is humble in his delivery and intelligent in his approach, inviting us to delve beyond the gross layers of physicality into the emotional and mental subtleties that lurk beneath our habits, patterns and intentions.
Mason and Benny journey through various terrain, discussing both the tangible and intangible aspects of movement as experienced through the lens of the body, mind and spirit. The gents explore:
- Movement practices as a continuation of both Yin and Yang. Benny shares how he is embodying this concept in his current practice and what is showing up for him as he explores.
- Changing your relationship to discomfort through stretching "To me stretching first and foremost is a metaphorical idea, a symbol of going to where there is discomfort and finding resolve in that". - Benny.
- The Western approach to chronic pain and how to address it through a consistent and curious movement practice.
- Pain as an effect, not a cause of dis-ease in the body, mind or spirit.
- The Western perspective that a diagnoses is the pathway to a cure, how to release our attachment to this ideology and begin to view pain and discomfort as malleable information.
- Feeling safe in your experience of the body as a foundational tool for embodiment and healing.
- Benny's hardware vs software analogy, and the importance of addressing both the physical and mental/emotional programs that inhibit us from feeling ease within our experience of the human form.
- Honouring the seasonality of practice without judgement.
- An introduction into Benny's 5 levels of activity; physical, work, contentment, spiritual, and silence.
- Benny's new Movement Monk platforms and the courses he offers.
Who Is Benny Fergusson?
After living with chronic scoliosis & pain for years, and getting no lasting relief from mainstream fitness and therapies.. Benny embarked on a journey to heal his body and get to know himself better. Through years of research and the practice of movement & meditation arts, Benny found a way to restore his physical freedom, leading to profound personal growth. Benny now shares his findings with his students at MovementMonk.xyz.
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Check Out The Transcript Here:
Hey Benny, thanks for coming on again, man.
Thanks for having me Mase. It's good to be back.
Yeah, can't do in person this time. We've got a Queensland border shut down.
Fun times. Look, just leading on from last conversation, I wanted to have you back on because I'd like to consistently have you back on and see you as a constant source for helping me come back into my own movement practise in my own body, in more and more comfortable ways. And that's an ongoing conversation. I like the structure of your new Movement Monk website, and the way you're offering people navigating through the vast amount of intentions, and ways of becoming more comfortable in their body and expressed in their body. But at the same time, I like the level of malleability there is, which means we have to keep on having these conversations. You're a podcast favourite.
Where are you at in your practise at the moment? What's floating your boat? Just out of curiosity for what's coming on in the present.
There's been an interesting thing that's been coming up lately. It's just about this experience of a continuum between Yin and Yang. And that can sound really conceptual, but for a long time, where it's shifting for me at the moment is I have certain practises that I would put probably in a Yang box, even though I don't fully separate Yin and Yang of course. Not that I have a choice, you just can't. There's definitely a lean towards Yang, strengthening type, more strenuous intense physical practises, deeper stretching practises, all that sort of thing. And then more restorative Yin type practises.
So for a long time I put them in two different boxes. And just in my practise recently, what's been unfolding that I've just been enjoying to its full, is it can be a continuum. Going in two different movements and different practises, where they might start challenging. And where part of my mind in the past would go, okay I do that thing until it's challenging and once it becomes easier, I look for the harder thing.
Instead I found that there's just so much juice to continue to stay with the harder thing, and as it becomes easier, to continue to go deeper into it.
Into the easy-ness almost?
Sort of. It presents a different opportunity for growth, I've found. So it's not necessarily easy, it just changes. Say for example, I'm a big advocate on stretches being relevant to movement, and not just being able to be a wet noodle and flop into them, but not have actual practicality to the way you move through life. In some stretches that I've started in, I wouldn't be able to be in the position for more than 30 seconds. At that point, it would really fall into that Yang space. But then as I allowed myself to go into it, then my ability tolerance, ability to relax into that situation started to expand. So I've had to go into different positions for three minutes and beyond. This is like the same movement, but then going down this pathway, this continuum where the Yang starts to converge into Yin. It's just been really interesting, just observing the effects on the body as that's happening. It goes from more neurological to muscular, to fascial.
When a lot of people talk about, Yin yoga, affecting the tendons and the ligaments and all that sort of thing, and often there's debate around is that even a good idea? Is it even possible? All that sort of thing. I've just been observing my own body through this process and it's been quite interesting just having a physiological kinesthetic experience of these adaptations occurring. And not to mention, the ultimate thing for me is that the changes of the mind that have been occurring. Just how I've been relating to my body and experiencing my body, in simple movements.
But yeah, that's one thing that's been a really interesting line of inquiry that I've been pulling at the thread of in stretching practises and movement practises.
If you don't mind me asking just another little follow up from that, because this is really interesting. I've definitely experienced in my practise, and working with you, when I was doing consistent Yin yoga so on and so forth. I did feel it does impact you mentally and emotionally, but sometimes I find it difficult to look at that beyond just a remedy style. I realised this morning, I don't actually like remedies. I don't like remedy medicine. I respect it and need it, but I personally don't have an affinity towards it. Being a health person I feel you have to. People go, hey I've got this going on, what can I have for that?
And same in movement, I generally don't love remedying myself when it comes to my movement practise. That's why I like tonic herbs, because it's long term. You just mentioned there that you've been noticing some mental changes through that stretching. So it's one thing to stretch for an issue or problem, it's another thing to stretch and follow that thread without ... Not that it's bad to remedy yourself, I do it. But without that, and just exploring and then seeing a benefit emerge for you and your symptoms mentally. Which is a nice surprise. Can you just walk me through what it is that you're noticing, and how something like stretching, which doesn't seem that relevant to life, how you find it actually extremely relevant to everyday life and affecting you in that way.
Yes. That's a big topic, and there's lots of different things that I could comment on that. To keep it simple to start, to me stretching first and foremost is a metaphorical idea, symbol of going to where there is discomfort and finding resolve in that. Not through it changing, but through you changing your relationship to it, to allow your experience of that challenge to change. For me, it keeps me on my toes in a really wonderful way I find. It's so easy to get comfortable, it's so easy to get complacent, so easy to just go, it's enough, and rest in life. And while I love to be restful, I like to just always have things challenging me. Kind of like an animal, they thrive on that challenge. It's a funny thing when you observe an animal. There's this relaxed alertness about them, even through they've got so many stressors that are potentially placed upon them. Another bigger predator could come and eat you in any second, and all that sort of thing.
As I observe myself being a human, and just humanity in general, there's an opportunity I feel for greater resilience, where the circumstances of our external environment don't impact us so much. And this is something I feel is incredibly relevant at this time as we're going through what we're going through with humanity, is just there is so many changing circumstances in our external environment that we have zero control over. I look at stretching as an opportunity to go into that. I hope this sounds okay, there's a guy that's decided to mow the lawn.
That's okay. That happened on a podcast last week, with a guy in Hawaii, and he's like, "Oh my god, my lawnmower guy just came. Is that all right?" I'm like, whatever.
For me if I look at the thing that drives me into it, I'm fortunate now I've moved through a lot of the chronic physical challenges that I had, even the chronic mental emotional things. They're not there so much in my every day reality. So these things, going into stretches, they in a way it's a conscious choice for me to go into a challenge and not necessarily know how to work it through, but to let my subconscious processes surface in that moment where things are tough, and then allow this wonderful unfolding process where I don't know what's going to unfold. I'm not trying to really control the outcome, yet it's a really wonderful thing just as you connect with it, experience it rather than think about it, the challenge that is, in the stretch, and then allow it to resolve itself. Maybe not in the moment, maybe over time.
It's a very different way that has emerged for me mentally, of looking at my body and looking at life, of problems aren't problems. They're opportunity for deeper solution. So I intentionally put myself into situations, not out of a masochistic intent, but just to test my resolve. I've just found that as I do go through transitionary times, it's more graceful. It feels more graceful within me. That's been a big journey for me. I think I have an ongoing thing that I need to be aware of, I've noticed, around, I'm tenacious but I can also be really stubborn, And sometimes I find it difficult to course correct and adjust. If I set my heading and then someone goes, let's go over here, for a long time that would really discombobulate me.
So through these practises over many years, it's allowed me to be much more adaptive. That's one thing, just getting to know my own inner nature and finding ways to have more grace in those things. Maybe that's an abstract but also practical perspective of why I've been diving into stretching, why I like it, and it's not just about being flexible. That's a wonderful bi-product.
It does lead us somewhere else. That explanation, definitely explaining why there's an aspect of your teachings that isn't just about, all right now here's my handstand course, and now here's just how to get super flexible course and do the splits, or how to be functionally strong. You've got such a huge focus on tension release, people working with pain and chronic pains and chronic disconnections from their body. I always knew you were working on that, but I understand it's a hard area to speak to when our society especially sees anything chronic like that you leave alone, and that's just the realm of a practitioner, of an institutional practitioner. Which I think is obviously great that we have these, but the idea of returning to having certain subtle practises that aren't promising the world, just being like, here's some steps that you can maybe take a stab at to try and work on that stabbing pain, or that stabbing disconnect that you have from your body. And the way you approach it is without, we don't know where this is going to go, we don't know whether things will be healed or not, but you might as well explore it.
That's what I'd really like to ask you about. The journey when people are living in chronic pain, or perhaps maybe not chronic pain, they feel pretty good but they're uncomfortable when they start to try to move and upgrade their body or nourish their body. And how those are, if they're the same, if they're dramatically different, and just what your approach is to that wide world of discomfort and pain.
Well there's a couple of different types of situations that come across me, people that are in chronic situation. Chronic pain can be physical, can be mental/emotional. Also there's an interesting thing that happens when I work with people, where people are comfortably uncomfortable with their experience. They often just get to that point of maybe discovering the present moment to a deeper degree, where they're seeing things more as they are, where then they start to then realise, actually I've been in discomfort for a long time and I've been accepting that as the status quo. I've become comfortable with it, I haven't really been willing to actually look at it in the face and ask it, why are you here?
I've been doing this for such a long time that it's continued to evolve and I do my best to not assume that I know anything, or that I teach anything. Because that's part of the challenge that I notice that a lot of us go through. You have a problem, whether it be pain, whether it be anxiety, depression, I'm going to say all these big words, but I don't actually think they're that big. They're just things that are happening that are out of alignment, and we recognise that at some level. I sometimes say the voice of the heart speaks and says, hey something's not right.
There's different volumes of these things. Sometimes it can be very acute, where you can have chronic back pain and it gives you that stabbing pain all the time. Anyway, I'm just prefacing these things because if anyone's listening, the main thing is you're body is always talking to you. The first thing that I like to establish is, the rebalancing of this nature of cause and effect. Often we treat effects as causality, and that's something that might be a bit of a mind bender for some people. Looking at pain as a cause of an experience, or a certain emotional experience as the cause, it's not. Pain is an effect. It seems so simple, it's just a signal from your body that's rippling from something else.
When I work with people, I allow scenarios, situations, or I do my best to support those scenarios to happen, where we give ourselves permission to actually be in the experience without analysing the experience and judging the experience, and trying to fix or change the experience. Because if you just keep addressing the effect, it doesn't really do anything. It's like trying to stop the ripples of a stone that's already been thrown in a pond. And you're trying to contain them. The stone has already been thrown. It's already landed.
This is part of why we need to go into things innocently, we need to go into things not trying to fix it. Because if you do, you create more stress on the system on top of stress that may already be there. This has taught me to only have those conversations with people that are ready to have those conversations, and often it happens because you've tried this, you've tried that, you've tried so many different things and nothing's worked. Because nothing will ever work, because you're the one who turns the cogs subconsciously, at an unconscious level, and what we need to do is become aware of those unconscious factors, so then we actually have power and authority over the way that the cogs in the body and the mind work, without being controlling. But we participate with the subconscious realm.
It takes us on a wonderful journey of discovering what it is to have a body and who we are as individuals and human beings, and how our environment affects us, how it has affected us over thousands of years. Because then we go into the ripple effects of family bloodlines and genetics and all sorts of different things. It's amazing when you start pulling at the thread of those effects, you keep being willing to go deeper in, things present and they continue to challenge me that are beyond belief. I don't particularly have a belief system around reincarnation and all of that sort of thing, or past lives. Yet in my work, going into the body, things have surfaced more than I can count, that I can't question, from so many different people, saying this experience as I'm going into it is not related to this life that I've been into.
And maybe I'm going down a bit of a different topic, but the thing that I'm challenging is that there is so much more to our bodies than what we realise, and if we limit our experience by these effects, these symptoms that happen, discomfort, pain, emotional turmoil, inner conflict, all the things, they all affect the physical body, We severely limit our experience of what it is to live. I'm really interested in getting deeper into that, without needing to try and have a neat little answer.
On that, if the body is always talking and, from what I'm hearing, connection to the body is obviously a number one step in order to ensure that we are actually able to stay consistently connected to the cause, rather than as you were saying, thinking that the effect is the cause and trying to stop those ripples in the lake. Really that resonates, and as I become distracted with lots of petty things in life, it's just such a default. That frantic, try and stop this from rippling out, because I don't want it to get any worse, rather than just observing it.
Can you explain to us the way you'd be taking someone through, say lots of pain, lots of discomfort, from a symptom point of view, lots of mental disorders. How you get them connected, or how do you facilitate them connecting themselves to the body, from a [inaudible 00:21:36] perspective of what you do, which is long term personal unique practise, without a label, without the need for external practitioners?
One thing that I've found very useful is the use of principles. So if we can have almost a toolbox of principles, then we've got quite a lot of power, I find. An example, for someone that is in let's say a high level of pain, it's important to first discern whether that's due to you just stubbed your toe, an immediate acute incident. In which case, just do what you can, it's already happened like that. Or if you've injured yourself and that sort of thing. Or if it's an ongoing thing. The thing is though, if it is an ongoing thing, what tends to happen is the longer we're exposed to it, actually the more we adjust to the experience. It's sort of like the cold water effect. If someone just dips their foot in and out of the cold water, it's that oh shit moment. The experience is intense.
If you go into the cold water and you're experiencing it for prolonged periods, actually you start to then get used to it. Where you start to, at least in my experiences, not be able to even feel where your body ends and where the water starts and vice versa. Part of the challenge that can happen with pain, is often it becomes so integrated with our being that it becomes part of us, that we don't know where it starts and we don't know where it ends, it just exists, it's there. The going into it, that's the challenge that a lot of people have.
That's when the intensity peaks, and that's why it hangs around often at this, it might come up and down like a bit of a rollercoaster ride, but we haven't gone into it and really looked at it, really experienced it at a sustained level, often because the experience of it scares the shit out of us at some level. There's fears that come up, there's memories of maybe incidences of when we did it, or maybe those memories have been distorted. There's a lot of stuff in there. Using a principle like, what can we do to experience safety in that experience, and of course safety is very perceptive, but using it as an anchor point, as a principle, then allows us to look at multiple different methodologies and techniques that might be suitable. Without trying to say, this is your problem, I'm going to diagnose it and treat the diagnosis as the cure, which is a real mistake. A diagnosis is not a pathway to a cure necessarily, and often we treat it as such in the West. Oh, you've got this and that, and that's your problem.
That's just information, that's all it is. That's information to be inquired further into, but the willingness to go into that, that's where the real work starts. And there's no one way to do it, and that's where I find that we have to go into it with a real open space to be willing to first look at it to see things more consciously. Whether that's a simple thing like, I've got a pain in my body and I just spend five minutes a day just looking at it and breathing, and then I go about my life. And that's all you do. You microdose that experience, that adds up. Do that for a week. And the thing is, that's not one exercise, that's not one magic methodology, that's not any of these things. It's you connecting with the experience and allowing an integration process to happen. No one can take any credit for that, and that's why it's really difficult and why I don't see a lot of practitioners talking about it, because it really crushes the shit out of your ego as someone who would like to help other people. I've had to really overcome that.
I love helping people, but really I can't help anyone. I do my best to create a space where they can help themselves, and I'm just there being someone that has had a multitude of personal experience, a multitude of shared experience with other people, so I freak out less in those things. Not many things freak me out, so if someone's freaking out I can go, oh okay cool. We can look at this in maybe this way or that way, consider that. And say, okay cool. We give ourselves a bit more permission, we go a little bit deeper down the pathway. Miracles unfold all the time in my observation with the work that I do, and also mundane, wonderful, simple things that don't mean anything unfold too and that's all great.
Using principles is a really useful thing. The establishment of safety in our experience in the body is a really principle to start, because no other practises ... You can try and put a breath work practise, a relaxation practise. You can try and push it over the top, but we resist it often. This is my observations. So whatever we need to do to become safe.
I'm sorry, I was just going to say, you mentioned in order for integration to occur, obviously we have an integration of mind and body especially. And is that what you were talking about, essentially we're looking at that in order to feel safe, we're looking to be able to facilitate consistent integration, because obviously it's not something you just plug it into the wall and go, okay cool I'm integrated for the rest of my life.
Totally. The beautiful thing is, once we start and go into this type of process willingly, it then starts you on a process of self discovery. A process of discovering what it is to inhabit a physical body, because in its essence, is a huge limitation. The more I go into my own experience, the more I start to realise that this is just a bit meat suit for a bigger aspect of ourselves. I can't pinpoint that, I can maybe call it consciousness, I can maybe call it a spirit or something like that. But I do have so many experiences and have observed for other people as well that there is a bigger aspect of ourselves that is being contained in this vessel.
Even if you just look at a simple thing like our dreams. Often I would have a lot of dreams around flying, and I'm flying and it's wonderful and this feeling of this infinite capacity of freedom. And then I wake up and here I am, I can't fly. Here's this dissonance, yet that limitation has been such a wonderful vehicle to then rediscover freedom in the limitation. Any challenge that happens in the body, it's a vehicle of freedom waiting to be discovered.
I feel you on that, and it's nice to get that insight in terms of, when you're going in with slight discomfort but with disconnect because we're in our head all the time, or maybe a discomfort we weren't really aware of, or something chronic. You're looking at ... I might bring in another analogy and have you explain it afterwards, of the concept of software verse hardware, but I'll finish with my question if that's all right. Not even a question, I'm just ensuring that I've got this. The principle being will go into those challenges, try and facilitate a space where integration is possible, and where that becomes something that can potentially be done, or continue to be done, is when we are experiencing a level of safety within the experience of our body and within the slight physical challenges that we're putting on ourselves. That physical challenge could be sitting there and feeling the tightness in our neck, or it could be a slight stretch or movement exploring that area, in order to feel it, in order to allow that integration and that connection to occur so that safety can be present and we can observe and continue to go along and see what unfolds. Is that essentially-
Totally. And maybe I'll just add in one other piece that's maybe useful for this. As we go into those experiences, the first thing that tends to happen consistently is you go through a process of awareness. And then the challenge that arises is sometimes then the experience feels like it's getting worse, but often all it is, is we're becoming more aware of the experience. That can be a sticking point for some people, whereas lets say we have that intention to go into the body, to experience greater levels of safety, to experience safety that's already there as well, we become aware of shit that maybe we don't want to look at and then we backtrack 10 steps and then on and on we can yo-yo. If we have a little patience, we keep letting that awareness unfold, then there's often this delay effect, this slingshot effect of perception that catches up. Because in order for us to see resolution for challenges that are happening, the perception of what it is needs to expand. It's kind of like paraphrasing Albert Einstein. You can't solve a problem at the same level of consciousness that it was created.
This is where that two step that I've noticed, for a long time I was like, oh observation, awareness, powerful. Powerful, powerful principles of practise. Yet I realised over time with working with lots of people, we need time to let the perception integrate with what we're actually seeing. Because if you see something, you have an experience and you're like, that's bad, that's this, that's the other thing, well who is it that is forming that perception? And that's the thing that we need to work with. That aspect of our consciousness.
That would fall, and it would be great if you could elaborate a little bit when you do talk about software and hardware and those things, and I hope that's still relevant.
Yeah it is.
The software element being that mind looking at pain and going, that's really bad, or even going, you know what? It's good because it's not so much pain considering I'm inside all the time and whatever it is. It doesn't matter what the judgement is. Would that fall under that there's a software disconnect between the mind and the body, and so in terms of allowing that integration, that software reprogramming to come back to nature rather than a more ego construct? Is that about right?
Yeah, totally. I use this software/hardware concept as a framework because a lot of people understand computers. If there's something going on with your computer, you've got to look at is there stuff going on with the operating system, the programmes and all that sort of stuff that make it work, the code? All of those sorts of things. The things that you don't see, you just expect it to work. And when it doesn't you're like, oh shit, what's going on. And then you've got the hardware, it might be your physical screen or your headphone jack or something like that. It's important that we honour both, because sometimes there's often different camps of going, it's all in the mind. So then we just look at that software situation, yet some things are-
Yeah, all that stuff. And there's nothing wrong with that, that's important. But it's not separate to the physical body. What I find is we need to have an honouring of both concurrently. And this is not to put any negative effects on things like psychology or anything like that, but you can talk and talk and talk about different things, but if you have not physically allowed yourself to experience it at an energetic level, or an emotional level or a physical level, then we don't have a direct experience of what it is. We just have an interpretation of what it is. This is where looking at perceptions is important contextually to the physical body. As a simple practical example, it might be let's say someone experiences that what they code as anxiety in there body, or maybe they have an experience of physical pain. One thing that we can do is we can then put ourselves in the experience. We can then start to observe it, notice our perceptions of it. These are all software things. But we're observing it in the situation.
Often a lot of the time when I work with people, the challenges that I give people is, take the practise into your life. I was working with a lady the other day, where there was for a pathway in her life she's been challenged by often not feeling in control of her destiny in her life, and that's created a lot of inner turmoil. So she'd interact with people, she'd find just coincidentally she'd meet a lot of very big personalities and that sort of thing. And within herself she'd start to shrink down and feel small, and that would then start to set off a cascade of emotions. It's almost like you're not in alignment with who you are right now, or something like that. It's just to simplify it.
So in this example, first she had to become aware of it over time and then the question formed of, what is this? I'd like to look into this a bit further. So we talk about it, we look at it. But then really ... So I stood in front of her in this case, and it doesn't matter whether you're physically present. We can do all these things actually online as well, it's quite interesting. But I'm standing there and I said, okay now just allow yourself within yourself to start to have the experience of being bigger. It seems like an abstract concept, but her software had shrunk down because of certain belief systems, all sorts of different things. And so then her energy field, which is resonant of the physical body, had also shrunk down. How do I know this? Just because I've built perception of these things over time right. So she didn't have a concept of this at the time.
We talked about it and I said, "Now just for way of experimentation, just imagine that you were bigger than your body. Let yourself be bigger. Expand into your space now." And as we're talking I'm like, oh whoa this is a different person here that started to emerge. I could feel it, she could feel it. Then what started to happen was this convergence between software and hardware, where her physical body started to give her different experiences as a result of that shift in the software inside. But we're continuing to go through this process. Becoming of things she's started to see the perceptions that were allowing this circumstance to be, through some of the practises that we've been doing, and then it starts to ripple out and affect the physical body.
It can go both ways. It can go physical to more mental/emotional, or hardware to software, or software to hardware. Maybe that's some advanced concepts that can be really simple if you just understand what you're looking for, and if you have a broader perspective around all the things that can affect the body. It's not just as simple as one emotion is a problem, or a traumatic experience is the problem, or a pain in xyz muscle joint/nerve is the problem. It's never that neat.
It's not in a nice neat little package. And also, from my perspective, say one of the biggest challenges, for lack of a better word, is that one, the nature of the remedy mindset sits there societally and therefore in myself, and also I feel like it was reflected in most of the way we approach releasing things from the body and upgrading the body and so on and so forth. Often we're looking for peak experiences and cathartic experiences, and that's where the most value is placed. I've definitely been there, it's still quite a journey for me to acknowledge the intrinsic value in a consistent daily practise that is extremely personalised and mine, and the responsibility lies fully on me not a big experience that's potentially been facilitated, or a different type of experience, or a big dance to release emotion. A big this, go and do these things to make these shifts, whether they be a hardware shift ... And I'm not saying just going and seeing an osteo. That's good.
I know you're kind of the same opinion in general. It's nice to have these abilities ... And I'll let you speak for yourself in a second, I'll just share my point there with hardware. I need and use and lack the intervention on the hardware, or even on the software. But for me the problem has come when I haven't been padding out that, probably with the majority of my approach with my own unique consistent small dose practise, that isn't necessarily ... It might become cathartic, but it is one of consistency. I don't know where you fall on that. Is it a different ratio for different people and what's appropriate at different times of life? Whether it's external intervention. I feel like there's a general deficiency of internal daily intervention going on within the way we approach our physical body and movement practise.
There is an emergence of what I would sometimes refer to as the chasing rainbows effect, where the healing world is very full of this. I have zero interest or intention to poke a finger at something and say, "You're wrong, healing world, for doing this." I see it as just something to be aware of, and something to ... You can start with something that has the best intentions, I'm going to do this thing to heal my ancestral wounds, to heal my body, to heal my emotional trauma, to whatever it is. Straight away if you just look at a basic principle of what we focus on grows, then you're making the healing a bigger thing that actually the essence of you. And if that becomes a habit, that you get some sort of kick out of, it can then become an addiction. An addiction is a result of habitual behaviour, and what we're looking to do is to live more intentionally rather than habitually.
If you can look at anything that you're doing and go, okay, and really your body is a wonderful bullshit metre. Because you can tell yourself, "Oh yeah this is great for me" and you can create all the reasons and justifications. If we notice that, I'm doing this because of that, watch carefully. Because reason often is a result of habit. That reasoning mind is just an aspect of our consciousness built on past experience, which I think I've mentioned in our previous things. If you say, "I'm going to do this to get that" just watch. It's not to say it's bad, but just really be careful at that point.
If you go into those things, awareness is your super power there, to start to then, and listen to the body. It might be you've got to make a decision to do a certain practise or whatever it is, and there's some sort of resistance in your body. Listen to that. It doesn't mean that it's bad, there's something unconsciously that it's guiding you toward. I just find that's really useful in this idea of daily practise, of just a daily practise first of listening and responding to what we listen to. So as that happens over time, we get more into subtlety of experience and we seek less these peak experiences, because you start to realise, holy shit. There's so much beautiful subtlety of life force moving through us all the time, that I don't need to seek those extreme highs all the time. There's that resting in the experience.
Moral of that little thought, is that nothing wrong with any different modality, nothing wrong with chasing rainbows, and I've been down this path myself so I can spot it quickly in myself and I can see it more in others. Check yourself, All the time. Listen to your body, doesn't have to be a big thing, and just be aware if you're acting out of habit or actual intention. Where does that intention come from? Is it from a space beyond reason? I'm doing this thing, I don't know why, but I'm getting pulled toward it.
I'm going to give you a tricky one now.
In terms of practise and every practise ... You've worked with me a long time, you know I'll have my periods when I'm really rolling, and then my periods when I became a little bit more distracted, or I'll be a little bit of a brat around it. And over the years I've realised I enjoy different shades. Whether I'm even enjoying them, I don't feel like I'm justifying the actions. I'm like, my actions are my actions and I'm going serve the wave of ... Because I want to stay engaged, and therefore it might be different types of time in nature. It might not be a sitted practise, it might not be stretching, it might be something else. Anything to keep me engaged. But none the less, my inner brat comes up or all of a sudden I'll realise I just shafted my practise for a while because I've made myself too busy. All the blah blah blah things. And I know it's something that just consistently comes up and you consistently allowed me to draw back by not making it a morality thing or right or wrong.
Even when people are trying to be inclusive about people who do have a practise verse don't have a practise, and how long it is. There's none of that, but none the less, just for other people who are real brats about it like me sometimes. Yes, you've got this really beautiful slow ... Come back and they can start by listening. Can you just give us a couple of other little principles or little tools or techniques to slip us back into that place where we are engaged? Whether they're a couple of thoughts that come to mind. Maybe if this intention that's got a bit more sex appeal about it, to draw you back in, or some different shades. I don't know if this question makes sense, but there's lot of different people out there and sometimes something new will come up and it'll go, wow and it really ignites me, that drawing back to my practise. And so I'm just wondering if you've got a number of little things that come to mind you can share. Fire side round.
Well, I would say just one thing. If we can all just let our hair down for a moment. If we do have practise, if we have had practise and we feel pressure to have practise because someone said it was good. Put that down. It's a habitual framework that's based upon hearsay and opinion, and everyone's got their own path. Often, the best that we can do is honour the seasonality of practise. Just the same way that you wouldn't ... We've become accustomed to this reality where you can get the fruits and vegetables you want every day of the bloody year.
That's a really good point.
I don't know if it's addiction, or just become used to constancy, if that's even a word.
Yeah, we all want to pretend to be this aristocratic royal tier of humanity that gets what we want at all times.
Yeah. It's a massive illusion. We're importing stuff from all over the world. One of my wonderful friends and students in Austria, Marcus, I love talking to him and I love travelling to Austria, that's one of the places where I often teach when travel is allowed. Here they have very clear seasons. They live near the Alps so they go through periods where the sun is shining, so the fruit and vegetables grow, so you eat those fruits and vegetables. They have periods where the snow is falling, and you're not going to get many fruits and vegetables growing in the snow, so you'd cellared some things for the winter so you're prepared. So you've built up an abundance in that period, then you feast on that abundance that you've built up over that time period.
This can be looked at also with physical practise as well. If we can go through different phases and listen to the seasons, listen to the different planetary effects that are happening in our body, environment effects, and we can respond and adjust to them. And everyone's got a different macro and micro cycle, if you do listen to it.
What I would say, is this very simple, maybe sexy answer to this, is the more we can get out into nature, the more you start to then notice that you naturally resonate with these seasons, these cycles of nature that happen. It's often when we insulate ourselves from the natural order of things, that we put ourselves in the Coles and the Woolworths environments, the homogenised idea, and we mistake that as reality. That's when we start to get stuck, I find. Because the mind starts to reflect that environment, which is very rigid, it's very contrived.
I was in my friend's car and they've got a temperature adjustment to .5 of a degree, which is crazy. What level of control do we have over our comfort and the things that we like in our life. If we look at these little things, these mod cons that we built up in our modern society, and how that can really disconnect us from ourselves, which then ultimately disconnects us from a really deep practise that touches your heart, that honours the fact that you're a constantly changing organism all the time. Your needs are always evolving. We've just got to look at those needs and go, okay what do I need and what can help me facilitate those needs. And that's where some practise is helpful, because you then work stuff out.
That's one strength that I've found really useful for me and that I impart to others, is I've just worked a lot of stuff out. You have a lot of options and you get better at narrowing down those options based upon a given moment, rather than trying to push or force someone to be someone that's not right for them at that point in time.
Connect to nature, find your inspiration through that, because you are it. And you're always changing, just like nature is. Let your practise be reflective of that. I find that's a helpful framework.
Yeah, beautiful. It's a crystal clear reminder, as soon as you said respect the seasonality of the practise and the way it gets approached. We'll start landing in now, but one thing I might just dangle for next time you're on, to spark up the conversation, is the phases of the day. You haven't explained to me yet. I'm curious and maybe I can hold off until we do the next podcast. You observe and construct yourself and you say roughly, but five phases through the day. Was that about right?
Oh yeah, activity levels. This is how I choose to live my life really, of looking at being conscious of when I'm in different activity levels. This is something that's been imparted to me through my teacher, and the lineage of wisdom that has been shared to me, and I've continued to adapt it to what's right for me.
Those five activity levels are physical, work, contentment, spiritual, and silence. So this particularly for me was really helpful, because I've been self employed for a long time, I took my work everywhere with me. I love what I do, it's in my heart all the time, yet it has been a practise for me to really consciously go, okay now I'm going into a work time slot. And that work time slot is something that I choose and I define every year, and on my birthday I look at what are the things I'd like to explore and experience in my work. Then as I go into it, I've built this wonderful container of what work means to me, rather than just this thing that I do for money.
Physical. For a long time I just did my physical because I though that that's what I had to do to look good, and all that sort of thing. But as I've started to make that a more conscious process, well then physical practise, what I would like to explore with my physical body, has started to change. It's made me look at my body in so many different ways, and that influences my practise. It's not just about being the most flexible person around, or being the strongest or the healthiest or anything like that. It's drawn me into a deeper line of inquiry, of relating with my physical body. And what things I can do to support that relationship.
Contentment, I completely neglected this for a long time. Of carving space for things that allow my contentment, whether that be an interaction with friends or family, or just spending time in nature. Filling up with all that wonderful inspiration that's around. They are the three things that most people will relate to. The spiritual aspect, the silence aspects go a little bit deeper. We can definitely talk about them more in a future podcast if that's relevant. I like to, at least for my work, keep the things intersecting through the physical body as much as possible. I'm not a spiritual master or don't claim to be, yet I'm quite interested in the spiritual aspects, the spiritual aspects of the mundane. Drinking water, that could be a spiritual practise if you chose it to be.
These things are really useful for me, where I can just check in at a given point in time and go, ah. If I'm trying to do something for my life of happiness, and I'm in contentment, but I'm thinking about work, am I really allowing myself to be content, to fill up in that space. This is often what a lot of people do when they go through their life, and they get depleted physically because they're never really fully doing what they're doing. They're trying to do something while they're doing something else, and that expends a bucket load of energy, which is really just a waste. It's a waste, and our physical body only has so much.
Can I first say, all those things as examples, are something that a spiritual master would say. I'm super interested to go into it next time, especially ... Really well put, I relate to it, I'm massively relating to it. I probably have enough there to muse upon and chew on already. So I've love it for a discovery session for myself next time, especially where I'm at this point where we're looking at the team here, well my own life and the team here at SuperFeast, and we're really trying to bring that natural element, natural ebb and flow, and these phases to the work day to really facilitate people ensuring that they're working towards to their own contentment and goals. They're doing an appropriate style of work, at appropriate times of the day. Looking at what actually happens when you're digesting, and what the type of work or meeting you've booked in when you're in your digestive time. So on and so forth.
We're in this weird nine to five kind of world, which we don't do nine to five, we already shave off quite a few hours for our full timers as a step. But what you're talking about we'd really be able to integrate that into the way our leaders are helping facilitate the health in everyone who's in their team, the way that we recommend that people construct their days. Just as recommendations to try and facilitate ... Whatever gets facilitated when you do have those areas of your life allocated as ... I'm with you, work is, when you love it, it can dominate with yourself. Space for contentment, I looked recently and everything in terms of work and physical can become merged together, where I see as what I do for my health. Because I made health my life. All of a sudden it's my work and it's my job to stay healthy, and so I become literally bitter towards my health practises, because it's something I see as I need to do to keep up the business identity, or whatever it is.
I'd love to go into that with you next time. I'd really enjoy that. I'd also like to give you some congrats on the new platform, MovementMonk.xyz. Really cool, really customer oriented. Well done, man. I'll let you explain it, but where it was several courses and you'd sign up for the course and have lifetime access. Whether it's tension relief and flexibility, freedom from pain, whatever it was. Now you've got this big web of the various courses and the offerings, including led videos where you're leading people through a practise, and allowing them to carve out and create their own journey with more relevance and freedom. Does that ... Yeah if you just elaborate on it.
Yeah that's been the bigger intent, of just looking at what can I do to allow someone to discover the inherent freedom that they do have within their body and within themselves. That's not a one-size-fits-all approach. I found to have ongoing explorations, conversations, collaboration, communication, really important. Our whole platform, our whole service offering is oriented around that. Whether someone's just starting the journey of going, "Oh yeah I like this idea of mind/body connection and getting to know myself through my body" and all that sort of things. What would that look like? We've got options for that to take people through that in a simple way, in our physical freedom challenge.
If people haven't been fully connect to their body for a long time and they need that bit more personal support and to and fro in a community environment. So then we can start to not make it where you feel alone in these experiences, because often when we're in pain challenge and all that, at least my own experience, you feel like you're the only one and no one else understands. No one else gets the pain that I'm, because here I am in it. But then when you're around other people who are not just dwelling on their pain, but actually sharing about their experience and sharing about how they're actually overcoming it, how they're actually moving past it. It's really inspiring to instil the belief that it's possible.
Our academy that we've just launched, that's to really start to see where we can take it. Where we start to open up physical practises that go deeper than your mainstream fitness work outs and they challenge your idea of what exercise can be. And also we look at the mind aspects and start to look at how our consciousness actually affects our physical body. It's always evolving. I feel so happy that I've put together all of my experiences and we've put together a foundation that now I can grow, with people around the world. That's what I'm really interested in, in this next stage, just continuing to have awesome conversations with people, to not be the guy that knows everything but to continue to learn and grow together, and bring people together where we have an open space of learning around the physical body and all the stuff that can connect with it.
I'm really happy that you can see the benefit there, Mason.
Yeah, well it's practical as well. If someone's like, "I've heard breathing practises are really good." All right, there's breathing practises. You know it's not going to come ... There's lots of people doing cool things, I hope everyone knows that I just admire Benny's work. But in the sense of, "Here's something, you explore." They're really proven practises and you're fine to do it in your way. But you can take it pretty far. You can get into some pretty deep and advanced breathing practises if you're going through Benny's style.
Likewise if you are just in the place where you're like, "Well I would like to be more flexible, but I want to do it in the way that's... At the demise of other aspects of myself." But I do want to be flexible, I do want to have this iron strength. But your flexibility styles, I really enjoy it. It's always effective. I guess I don't want to be a gumby so I'm not dedicating the time to really go nuts with it. I don't do much and I stay really ... Tahnee's like, "It's annoying how flexible you remain" in certain ways, despite how little I do.
The strength work, the exploration. Just simple distinctions. The plank exploration, the push up explorations that are on offer, it leads to a real worldly strength which I see coming through in a way that when I get to [inaudible 01:04:55] in particular ways, there's an embodied strength there that's super practical. For anyone that's on that wavelength as well, it's a good place to go and get some tips and ideas. I'm about to talk to you about offering it to the SuperFeast team, so make sure you get onto a little corporate offering there, because I think that'd be a big one.
Thanks so much for coming on. I do encourage everyone to go and sign up to the academy, and the best place, MovementMonk.xyz?
Yeah, come check it out. If you've got any questions just drop us a line and we're here to help.
I should say, xy zed. I'm not Sesame Street.
It depends. People in the US are listening.
Great. MovementMonk.xyz. All right bro, big love to you, have a great day. Get out into nature, enjoy the beach there.
I will. There you go.
Oh yeah, great. And I love the fact that everyone in the audio medium is like[crosstalk 01:06:02].
I am now showing a picturesque view of the beach, and it looks wonderful.
It does look wonderful. Wherever you are in the world, go enjoy the beach.
Or just a tree, an indoor house plant, a pet, another human. Nature's all around us. Thanks so much Mase.
[crosstalk 01:06:26] See you man.
See you man.