Intermezzo: 1 What’s it all about?

Intermezzo: 1 What’s it all about?

Intelligence and intellect: a heightening of universal awareness

The embodiment of spirit – there are two important words in that phrase one of which is embodiment and other word is spirit. In many cultures, those two words are kept apart; body is one thing and spirit is another thing and you get the impression that spirit is somehow out there – certainly further away than Madrid!  And that body is in here and in order to find one you have to lose the other. If you look at many interpretations of body and spirit, this is true, isn’t it?

I came to the realisation through doing cranial work that that separation is the number one curse of humanity, that is what causes so many of our problems: separation of body and spirit.  I came to that realisation through my experience of what we call craniosacral therapy and the realisations that came to both me and my clients sometimes from working with the body.

Since that time, I have been become more and more open about the fact that I am not teaching how to do anything at some advanced level, but rather how to become more and more aware of spirit by listening more and more carefully to the revelations of the body.

So I have prepared this little piece that I am going to read, which kind of interests me because it’s the first time since I have been teaching that I have tried to put these thoughts together into a shape. This is not to say that I won’t alter this statement many times, but this is where it is now, and this is the first time I have read it in public:

Spirituality, like the Dao, is a difficult subject to address. In both cases, anything you can say about it is really not worth saying as what is said will be words about something not the experience itself, and because it is words about something, not the experience, it is a concept. A concept is about a truth and it is not and never can be the experience of the truth. Stillness; empty chair; teaching not the teacher; enlightenment; etc., are all grand concepts. And however long I go and on describing them, talking about them, reading about them, they all remain concepts until we experience them. The implications of that are the whole purpose of my work.

How then do we obtain the experience as opposed to the concept? Not evidently by thinking harder, nor I suggest by exercising, prostrations, or repetitions of a mantra. These things may lead to a more disciplined and clearer mind and body but they are not the truth as an experience. And yet the truth is there, it always has been there and always will be. How could that not be so? Perhaps the spirit; dao; emptiness; Intelligence might be another word, are actually all the very core of who we really are. They are already the core of our being. What is required is not going out and getting them, trying to achieve them, but surrendering what is in the way that keeps us out of touch with them. What keeps us out of touch is simply this, separation from the Source which we know as personal intellect or ego. That fiercely defended construct called ‘me’! That is what keeps us out of touch with spirit, that package which we put together and we call me.

It is time we moved on from Descartes. Not to reject his enormous contribution to western thought but move on to a more integrated intelligence than is allowed by the separated intellect. Perhaps there is a kind of spiral operating. First there was blind intelligence, then there was limited but blinkered intellect, now there may be and there could be an awakened and conscious intelligence.

Let me just stay with that a minute because that is a complicated thought. When we were animals there was first of all a form of intelligence operating. Animals; insects; babies have intelligence: they are intelligence. Then there comes a certain point in evolution where we developed a separation – an intellect – where we were able to look at the workings of Intelligence. That is intellect, isn’t it? That’s me, that is my intellect observing Intelligence. Seems to me that the next stage is a kind of combination of both. We don’t lose our intellect but we recover what was there when we were just operating as Intelligence. So instead of evolution being a mindless happening, it becomes a mindful happening. We are no longer the victims of what happens, we are the creators of what happens.

I’ll come to that thought again in another shape, and we can see if that is any clearer. Some Buddhist thinkers talk about the Maitreya: the Buddha yet to come, as being a raising of collective awareness rather than being a single, enlightened being. Does that make sense as a concept? So instead of the Buddha being replaced by another Buddha who next time might be female instead of male etc., etc., We are not talking about a person being the world leader, we are talking about the collective raising itself to a higher level of consciousness. Wouldn’t that be marvellous?

This has certain resonances when the Christians talk about the last coming of Christ, which would be like the end of everything. So in either case, whether we are talking about my concept of a heightening of universal awareness, or whether you are talking about the second coming of Christ, if consciousness raises sufficiently then actually there is no need for any more manifestations of form. How am I doing?

Another parallel between the two great religions of Buddhism and Christianity is embodiment. Jesus was/is the incarnation into human form of God through the breath of the spirit. The Buddha taught that the highest form of being, that is to say enlightenment, is contained in this one fathom long body. They are both talking about embodiment, and yet, the dogmatic structures that have been formed around the teachings of both these teachers seems to me to keep on repeating concepts, and making rules, and telling us how things should be rather than listening to the revelation of those eternal truths as they express themselves in the body; yhe body that is always there in so many different forms. We do have to rationalise the form that Intelligence takes, we can of course rationalise it but that will serve to limit it by definition. The other way to go would be to just watch, experience in awe the expression of the synergy of all forms responding to the Intelligence without any limitations from intellect.

I can see that this needs re-writing because it seems too dense at the moment, and I didn’t see how dense it was until I started reading it out loud. It doesn’t matter. Maybe over the next one or two years I can make it a little looser, but the fact is that what I am saying if we regard the body, if we regard the form, if we regard all forms as being an expression of spirit, instead of searching with our intellects for the source of this Intelligence, we have right with us the whole time the form of Intelligence expressing itself in who we are, how we are, and what we are. The spiritual life does not have to be something that is separate from the body, it reveals itself if we listen more clearly, and hopefully include the body.

What I find so satisfactory in this way of working is there is nothing to be gained or acquired; nobody can control or monopolise something. You can’t monopolise all the gold in the world, or all the platinum, or all the oil. There is actually nothing to go out and get. The truth is only there when we let go and surrender our separateness. In order to achieve or acquire something, or to be the most intelligent or the richest person on the planet, or to have the best arse on the planet there has to be a separateness. I am suggesting that the road to the spirit is the surrender of the separateness, of the ‘I’, and then it is already there.

So if the Maitreya, or the next coming that is talked about in Christianity is a collective not a personal, it is kind of strange that at the moment all the advances that we may have made in technology particularly the advances that we have made in the field of communications, that is computers etc., they manage at the same time to make the Maitreya more possible. However, at the same time they manage to make it more possible, the paradox is that they manage to make it less likely. It’s a big paradox, isn’t in? The computer has given us a greater connection while at the same time giving us a greater separation. Is that true?

What I am leading up to in this long, drawn-out preamble is that there are actually many people teaching these subjects. There are some very good and honest spiritual teachers. There are some beautiful and honest books. More words are being written at the moment on spiritual subjects than at any time in history but where is the teacher or book that is equating spirituality with the revelations of the physical body as opposed to making conceptualisations about it?

You see since Cartesian times, since the intellect took over, we have tried to rationalise everything that goes on in the universe. We are searching for meaning in the universe; we are searching for the beginnings of the universe; we are debating about what God means? We are no longer experiencing, we are conceptualising. Does that make any sense or not? I am hoping somebody will say, “No, it doesn’t” and then give me another answer. It seems to me that we have completely withdrawn into our intellects, which is the same thing as saying we have withdrawn into our separation from each other, from God, from the Source, from the Dao or whatever you want to call it.

Very few people set out to listen to the body, and yet funnily enough the body has been with us since the first form; we have had a body much longer than we have had an intellect. We have always had a body, that is the form of God. The intellect developed gradually. Perhaps listening to the body could be the way forward? Perhaps surrendering knowing could lead to learning? Perhaps we ought to try that? Perhaps if we surrendered knowing it might lead to learning? How can you learn something if you are full of what you know?

We are suffering from computer intelligence. I don’t want to throw away computers. I don’t want to throw away the intellect. I don’t want to throw away the ego; actually we cannot. What would be good I think is as well as accumulating stuff, data, information, it would be good if we examined a little more openly what is already there, what we already have and what we bring with us, which is the body. The body has actually been with us since before time, because time was only invented when the intellect came along.

Perhaps this, then, is a way forward…..? I am hoping that this little piece will stimulate some discussion, as it is quite radical to our sense of Being.

Mike Boxhall, Feb 2010

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10 thoughts on “Intermezzo: 1 What’s it all about?

  1. These matters, from a somewhat different angle, have been exercising me quite a bit just recently.

    Mostly I can space out my patients’ appointments but on Friday afternoons and Saturday mornings I often see three, four or even five people back to back. This can leave me feeling very ‘out of it’ or ‘spacey’.

    Last Friday I got to thinking about this ‘spaciness’ and asking, just what is this? How dangerous would it be were I to drive the twenty miles home from here in the rush hour traffic. The surprising answer was that what I was feeling/sensing was actually free floating Stillness, and that, in fact, yes, I would be very safe driving home in that state.

    Stillness has sensations!

    Now that I have seen/sensed them, it is easy to be aware of these same sensations in meditation, not as distractions but simply as Awareness being aware, in Stillness, of things exactly as they are.


  2. As I listen the body gets louder. It speaks groans shines laughs cries and i am in it. or moving through it shining thorugh it. presence moving shining laughing crying
    presence listens. heart beats, something moves shifts changes awakens excitement
    back to stillness, presence listens, heart beats, life happens, and we dance.

  3. These two responses, from very different places, speak to the statement that awareness is all. This is what is. What is is the truth. Presence.

    Love and thanks,


  4. Dear Sunil,
    You are absolutely right; which is why, throughout the teachings, we talk about revelation from the core of being rather than the acquisition from elsewhere.

    The truth is here and available. It needs to become the embodied experience or it remains a concept. This is why we practice.


  5. This is from Amanda Biggs, it has just come in on the day that I have posted a new Intermezzo, As it is! I love it as it contains both Awareness and Surrender. Two subjects that I tend to be Attached to!

    Dear Mike

    I too have found myself sitting with ‘what is, is the truth’ lately. How we want what we want and not what we don’t! We either seem to be attached to form, or to emptiness, as though one or the other contained more truth – either chasing the identities you mentioned in your piece on attachment, or chasing an ideal of emptiness, or ‘spirituality’, which turns out to be just another identity. The other week I was on the bus and the thought came ‘What if this was enough?’ – this, the London dirt and noisy bus and all the messiness of this world of form, inherently dualistic and polarised. All of this is the truth, the truth is not some purer or tidied up or more politically correct or spiritually superior version of this, this is it. And it is also the emptiness, spirit, this messiness, just as it is.

    Then a few days ago walking around came another thought, ‘What if this is all there is!’ No path, no progress, no ‘enlightenment’ (just a collective delusion), no future actually, and all there is, is……… well, this. Then how do I want to live, how can I live, if the only ‘point’ of life was simply life, as it is, just here and now – but not a spiritualised, glorified This, Here And Now, with its at times subtle agenda of ‘living in the here and now in order to get somewhere (!)’, just small insignificant this, here and now. This walking, this grass, this person, this form, this email, just this.

    I am aware of about 20,000 judgments a minute that pass through my mind! We often respond to ‘out there’ depending on whether it reinforces our identities, ah you confirm me then I approve of you, oh you deny me then I feel threatened and disapprove….. but the truth is, this is the truth. I think we sometimes want things to make sense and of course life makes no sense, sense is just a limitation we try to put on life, and life carries on not heeding our limitations. In the truth, the world is not going to conform to my idea of what I think it should be, people are not going to act how I think they should, life is (thankfully) bigger than me and won’t contract itself to reflect the mind’s limitations. But the heart knows simply that this is enough because it is what it is, there is nothing to compare, only uniqueness which, it seems, is also unity.


  6. Dear Mike, dear Amanda,

    I like a line from Eckart Tolle’s Stillness CD: “the aim is to want whatever arises, because that is all there ever is.” Who needs a past or a future if they can embody that!
    In light love and sparkling qi Michael

  7. Intermezzo 1 really resonates with me at a deep level. My work and profession is as a dancer and dance choreographer, and as I journey through my field of work and through my life, I am forced to journey further into my body and it’s possibilities in space and form. But I think the more powerful and scary aspect of my work is to be forced to journey into my body’s possibilities and potential in space and formlessness. At some point when one dances, really dances; not for an audience, not to accomplish some goal or do three more turns than the last time, but when one really is the dance, embodiment just sort of happens.

    I’d like to thank you, Mike for helping me to conceptualize this experience I have, so now I can let the concept go and be the dance.


  8. Thank you, Michael. A number have dancers have been/are interested in this work and I am very pleased. It seems to me that dancing is like teaching in the sense that when we come from the right place in ourselves, the work does the work and we can just watch the revelation in some awe, sometimes, as it reveals itself. The “Teaching not the Teacher,” expresses this.

    I wonder, do you ever say to yourself “I didn’t know I could do that” or “where did that come from?” I do, sometimes.


  9. I get the feelings you mention sometimes when I’m dancing, and something is given the space to move through me. In a way, it’s like stepping out of my own way and letting myself dance. I think that it is the nature of life to continually practice to be able to exist in this space as long as often as possible, whether it be with one’s profession, relationships, or spiritual life. In a way, I have come to think of this as the true nature of faith. Faith means trust. Not in a story or concept, but trust in one’s self to be able to be… a conduit for something deeper, or something in the background that is actually one’s true self.

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