02006-05-10 | Brain, Uncategorized | 6 comments

I was just thinking… I wrote that practicing guitar, the repetitive physical movement of my hands, is in fact teaching my brain over time. I am beginning to feel that this is in fact how we learn so much…

This past weekend I thought about learning through physical experience, and specifically about the misperception – most prominent in Europe and the US? – that the brain IS our life, that the body is just a fragile appendage, to be shed, to be improved (bionic man), to be left behind (fifties sci-fi movies with a brain in a jar of nutrient fluid)… We live in temperature controlled environments, sit at desks and in front of computers or TVs for enormous stretches of time, are dreaming of downloading our mind into a computer (it better be a RAID drive)… in fact it seems to me that this lack of connection to our bodies is what lies at the root of our collective disregard for nature, of alienation, obesity and a host of other problems.

The thing is, we cannot think our way out of this problem – we can only find that connection to the earth, to our bodies, to each other and all living creatures by doing…

I scribbled many pages on this theme into my notebook while I was away this past weekend… I will add more as I decipher those sentences..


  1. eno

    Okay the RAID comment had me laughing =)

  2. Anonymous

    Wisdom from the Zen Classic Xin Ming

    Song of the Mind

    chan Master

    Sheng Yen

  3. Cesco

    This is a really interesting fact you just described. When we take a closer look at the behaviour the society, it becomes obvious how most of the people believe in “a deep understanding of their bodies.” An example that could disprove this: someone who really established a natural connection to its body would, no, have to recognize the signs of intense exhaustion (aka Burnout Syndrome) and would try to act with more care… but more often than not this isn’t happening at all.

    Why I took right this example; about 3 days ago I watched a remarkable but disturbing documentation about the psychological therapy of this kind of mental illness. At some stage in the show a psychiatrist explained, how the main focus of their treatments has changed over the last 15-20 years. In the 70’s to the 80’s he said, the main part of their therapies tried to handle social problems of people. From the 90’s until today the prevailing part is the therapy of “working illnesses” especially, like I mentioned, the burnout syndrome.

    Hey Ottmar, do you know this site?
    This may interest you…

  4. James Wahlgren

    I am using the mindfulness bell web page to bring myself back to body while at the computer…it is effective

  5. Carol

    That’s interesting. And if we don’t use all of our senses not just thought but feeling, seeing, hearing, all of them and let input into our heads..we won’t have much output to offer.

  6. danielle

    Exactly this kind of practice is required to fly an airplane/helicopter.

    When I was teaching, I often had students that either spent hours mastering the book work (thinking this would compensate for the flight lesson they didn’t schedule) or would disappear for several weeks and then be surprised at how much their flying skills had degraded during their time away.

    For the professional pilot, there is a point at which one has practiced for so many thousands of hours that the skills are automatic. S/he doesn’t need to think about aerodynamics or procedure to recognize and correct a stall, low & slow approach to landing, or any other loss of control.

    The key is many hours of -consistent- practice. I never understood this myself until I actually did years of work.


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