Philosophy and Psychology and Relationships14 Oct 2018 01:44 pm

In the previous post, Well-Being Defined, I mentioned my plan to write a third book in my Art of Living series. Today I’d like to give an overview of the first two books, Exploring Intimacy and Cellular Joy as well as a basic outline of the third book, Your Results May Vary.

In Exploring Intimacy we treated intimacy as a  basic human drive. Intimacy was defined as our basic desire to become closer to and increasingly familiar with. The list of things we can become more intimate, closer and more familiar with, is almost endless. 

We can become more intimate with ourselves, friends, lovers, nature, ideas, sports, history, art, music, furniture or a specific hobby such as stamp collecting. We can become more familiar and intimate with mythology, magic, food or any beverage such as tea, or wine. The entire universes of ideas, activities, things and feelings are all ripe with intimate possibilities.

Exploring Intimacy carves out a space in the world of the Art of Living comparing and contrasting itself with ideals and beliefs in the various realms such as religion, spirituality, philosophy, psychology and mysticism. Intimacy is compared and contrasted with views on transcendence, enlightenment, and other traditions and disciplines concerned with happiness, meaning and the quality of life.

Since in Exploring Intimacy, Intimacy is treated as a natural drive, we explore the obstacles to intimacy which limit and suppress this basic drive. We discuss the role fear, inhibition and trauma play and how one can even use our human limitations as a means of unfolding intimacy. 

The goal of this exploration is to help people identify how they can increase the quality, intensity and frequency of intimacy in their lives in a realistic and fulfilling manner. Intimacy is shown to be a full and rewarding organic experience and not just an abstract ideal.

The second book, Cellular Joy, is a journey into the rewards of integrated experience. Cellular Joy is divided into three sections, Survive and Thrive, I and Me, and Bodyfullness.

In the first section we consider how the Fight for Survival and the tendency for life on earth to thrive and become lush and plentiful are both true.  The significance, importance  and value of these perspectives is explored through a number of sub lenses such as domination and co-existence.

While our culture has a tendency to emphasize the fight for survival and scarcity and its related fears, we can appreciate its truth while also appreciating how plenitude is both an observable reality and important lens to keep in mind. The ability to to see things from a multitude of perspectives, and to apply them in decision making, is a hallmark of wisdom. Being able to see things from different viewpoints is literally “keeping things in perspective” and is very valuable in cultivating joy and satisfaction in life.

In the second section we explore the synergistic and essential relationship between the self-conscious mind (“I”), and the sentient body (“Me”). We observe how the sentient body lives in the moment with amazing speed and agility and the role the reflective ego plays in savoring, enriching and guiding the body which lives in the world. 

In essence the sentient body lives in the actual while the self-conscious mind lives in the possible. The body senses, perceives and experiences while the ego organizes and instills experience with history, meaning and perspective.

The third section focuses on the rewards of integrating the experiences of the sentient body and self-conscious mind. The entwining of thought, emotion and sensation into one integrated whole is given the name of Bodyfullness. 

Bodyfullness is distinguished from Mindfulness in that mindfulness can often be an act of consciousness, an act of awareness, in which visceral and sensorial experience is often marginalized or transcended. Cellular Joy being steeped in the integration of I and Me, of the sentient and visceral habit body with the self-conscious ego, is a full bodied experience. 

In the section on Bodyfullness we explore how Cellular Joy can become a daily experience and become one’s default mode. While happiness can be an abstract idea, attitude or state of mind, joy is identified as an experience felt deep in one’s core and radiates through the body. 

Your Results May Vary builds upon Bodyfullness by expanding on the experience of well-being. We feel well-being when our heart rate, body sugar, and many other biochemical systems stay within an acceptable range. A sense of well-being does not create Cellular Joy, but more often than not needs to be in place for us to access it.

In Your Results May Vary I plan on discussing how “feelings” are central to our quality of life. We feel not only physically/sensoriallly but also psychologically and emotionally. Feeling well, the experience of well-being, is common to all four realms (the sensorial, the psychological the emotional and the visceral/physical). 

While Your Results May Vary the goal is for us to become as engaged and enthralled with the world as when we were infants. An infant’s energy, joy and engagement are awe inspiring. One of the reasons a toddler is so engaged is that without worded language they are locked in the actual (the present). While this allows them to be engaged it prevents them from most memory, ego appreciation and reflective savoring.

Yet, the danger of the possible is that it can be used to deflect, avoid and transcend as well as appreciate and savor. We often can get lost in thought or become enamored with chasing abstract ideas and exercises of mind. While this has its own form of joy, it more often than not takes away from our body, our heart and our actual experience.

In Your Results May Vary our journey will involve exploring the possibility of intertwining  the toddlers engagement in the actual with the ego’s ability to reflect, savor and appreciate. The goal of this exploration will be to see to what degree we can turn the flashlight of our attention back towards our engaged intimate and joyful experience, so that can best maximize our integrated experience and live a life rife with Cellular Joy.

Exploring Intimacy is currently available on this website in the Words section.

Jim Guido

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