Updated: Aug 23, 2021
Mind, Body, Spirit. The complete package. Or, if you're more clinically inclined, Cognitive, Physical, Emotional. Whatever your vernacular, we're talking about you. And me. And anyone reading this, and the rest of the population who isn't.
We're each a flesh packet with some essential metaphysics. The fancy Greek word for the connection of the body, mind, and spirit was Hylomophism. The lesson was that a lack in one part would weaken the other parts, but the opposite is also true. Build one part to support the others. From my book Are You Useful: In his book Contemporary Athletics and Ancient Greek Ideals, Daniel A. Dombrowski waxes professorly about the Greek word hylomorphism, which seems to have a definition along the lines of the higher-self and the lower-self completing each other. Some would say it could mean the physical and metaphysical in an eternal collective, an ideal symbiosis that requires us to let the mind, body, and spirit have a bit more communication between each other than just weekend visits and holiday parties.
If mind/body/spirit reeks a little of self-help, new age-y, naked-dancing-in-the-patchouli circle (like that’s a bad thing), then maybe cognitive/physical/emotional would have a more antiseptic, clinical shine to it that connects you to terra firma a bit better. Same thing, different language.
One way we can all relate to how our humanness is a co-op rather than a Cartesian thought game would be to ponder the phrase “stressed-out.” Is that a mind, body, or spirit phenomenon? I’m sure you nailed it. D) All of the above. You can watch the hylomorphic self in action, although usually spiraling into disunity, through being stressed-out, as the whole unravels into its various parts. Stressed-out is an example of how everything is affected, and interacts accordingly, albeit not in a copacetic, appealing way. Now how do we find the inverse of that? I’m going to make the case that our movement and strength journey is a major player in our complete “all-at-once” humanness game, what we often refer to as the Holistic Athlete, although movement ambassador Gregory Dorado uses the term Authentic Body, which I will probably steal and use synonymously throughout this book.
Joy through embodiment. Strength as tribal. Becoming rather than just existing. Did I lose some of you? I hope not.
During the many years it took me to put that book together, I was teaching workshops around the country. There was quite a bit of video footage from many of the workshops. Not all of it was pretty, but the points being made all had a theme, so I collected the footage and edited it all together into a 3-part series about understanding our movement and training programming as a reflection of hylomorphism. That series, called The Holistic Athlete, sort of sat in video storage for quite a few years, but now it's been dusted off and made available on this website. Here's a preview...
If you'd like to delve into this conversation a bit further, the series is available in our store, or, of course, to website members as part of their membership, just like the book, Are You Useful.