February 10, 2010

Spiritual Mind, Buff Body?

Ken Wilber, famous Integral philosopher, makes like a Playgirl:

Like lifting weights to get our bodies in shape, we need to train our mind and heart to grow their ability to love, forgive, offer empathy. We need regimens to grow Buddha-Jesus hearts. ~ Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche

Most spiritual traditions forget the body and focus on the mind and heart. Not Ken Wilber, Integral Philosopher. Not Sakyong Mipham, the buff, weightlifting, marathon-running, golf-obsessed Shambhala Buddhist teacher. Not the Samurai of old, who practiced kyudo (archery), martial arts and horsemanship…along with meditation and the less strenuous contemplative arts of haiku, calligraphy, tea and flower-arranging. And not the Shaolin monks of legend.


  • why is it that most of our society gets that it’s important to work out and train the body…but forgets to train the mind through daily meditation or other practical, simple mental exercises?
  • And why is it that the religious and spiritual communities, all too often, do little by way of taking care of their bodies, lost as they are in navel-gazing?


It seems we all agree that training the body through exercise, diet, and relaxation is a good idea, but why don’t we think about training our mind?

You must be logged in to post a comment. Create an account.

nandop May 13, 2011 6:23am

I like Wilber's ideas, and I think they're good for helping us understand a lot.

Plus, I think Yoga + Ayurveda makes an amazing integral system for the whole spiritual journey.

ARCreated Oct 17, 2010 12:26am

I was not the least put off by the picture 🙂 I think his body is a testament to what the mind can achieve…
I myself am not that interested in THAT level of physical intensity, but I do have a more tantric philosophical taint to my practice that believes our bodies are part and parcel of the process and are to be enjoyed and well cared for as this joy called life is all about the experience…but if this life handed you physical limitations then you can enjoy the belly button as well…It's all a matter of degrees.
PS For the record I believe EVERYONE is a god…we can't help it…we are part of source therefore we are source AKA god 🙂 it's my version of reality that works for me 😉

Aron Stein Sep 4, 2010 10:46pm

He with the best man boobs wins.
Kens Moobs>Mine

Read Elephant’s Best Articles of the Week here.
Readers voted with your hearts, comments, views, and shares:
Click here to see which Writers & Issues Won.

Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of Elephant Journal & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat.” Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword’s Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by “Greatist”, Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: “the mindful life” beyond the choir & to all those who didn’t know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, touches on modern relationships from a Buddhist point of view. His dream of 9 years, the Elephant “Ecosystem” will find a way to pay 1,000s of writers a month, helping reverse the tide of low-quality, unpaid writing & reading for free online.